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Wuben F5 Lantern Review

Wuben F5 Lantern Review

The Wuben F5 is an interesting little lantern with a bunch of features! Multiple CCTs, USB-C charging, and powerbank features… read on!


Official Specs and Features

Here’s a link to the Wuben F5 lantern product page.

Versions

There are at least two colors available. I think that’s the only difference, though.

Price

While these list for $44.99, the going price right now is 30% off, at $31.49.  Buy yours at wubenlight.com.


Short Review

While I had a bit of an issue with my first one, the second Wuben F5 lantern has performed flawlessly. I love it, too – the CCT selection is useful and the light (I mean the output itself) is great. USB-C charging and powerbank features are just nice bonuses!

Long Review

The Big Table

Wuben F5 Lantern
Emitter: Unstated (3000K)
Price in USD at publication time: $31.49
Cell: Internal
High Runtime Graph
LVP? Yes
Switch Type: E-Switch
Quiescent Current (mA): ?
On-Board Charging? Yes
Charge Port Type: USB-C
Charge Graph
Power off Charge Port All modes
Claimed Lumens (lm) 430
Measured Lumens (at 30s) 409 (95.1% of claim)^
Candela per Lumen 0.6
Claimed Throw (m) 25
Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s) 41lux @ 2.363m = 229cd
Throw (Calculated) (m) 30.3 (121.2% of claim)^
Claimed CCT 3000
Measured CCT Range (K) 3200 Kelvin
Item provided for review by: Wuben
All my Wuben reviews!

Wuben F5 Lantern
Emitter: Unstated (5700K)
Price in USD at publication time: $31.49
Cell: Internal
High Runtime Graph
LVP? Yes
Switch Type: E-Switch
Quiescent Current (mA): ?
On-Board Charging? Yes
Charge Port Type: USB-C
Charge Graph
Power off Charge Port All modes
Claimed Lumens (lm) 500
Measured Lumens (at 30s) 469 (93.8% of claim)^
Candela per Lumen 0.5
Claimed Throw (m) 25
Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s) 55lux @ 2.136m = 251cd
Throw (Calculated) (m) 31.7 (126.8% of claim)^
Claimed CCT 5700
Measured CCT Range (K) 5700 Kelvin
Item provided for review by: Wuben
All my Wuben reviews!
Wuben F5 lantern
Emitter: Unstated (4500K)
Price in USD at publication time: $31.49
Cell: Internal
High Runtime Graph
LVP? Yes
Switch Type: E-Switch
Quiescent Current (mA): ?
On-Board Charging? Yes
Charge Port Type: USB-C
Charge Graph
Power off Charge Port All modes
Claimed Lumens (lm) 480
Measured Lumens (at 30s) 492 (102.5% of claim)^
Candela per Lumen 0.6
Claimed Throw (m) 25
Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s) 52lux @ 2.309m = 277cd
Throw (Calculated) (m) 33.3 (133.2% of claim)^
Claimed CCT 4500
Measured CCT Range (K) 4000-4200 Kelvin
Item provided for review by: Wuben
All my Wuben reviews!

^ Measurement disclaimer:  I am an amateur flashlight reviewer.  I don’t have $10,000 or even $1,000 worth of testing equipment.  I test output and such in PVC tubes!!  Please consider claims within 10% of what I measure to be perfectly reasonable (accurate, even).

What’s Included

Wuben F5 Lantern what's included

  • Wuben F5 lantern
  • Charging cable (USB to USB-C)
  • S-Biner
  • Manual

Package and Manual

Wuben F5 Lantern sticker

Wuben F5 Lantern manual

Build Quality and Disassembly

The body here is plastic. There’s a bit of metal on the back of course, where the hanging ring is. The tripod connector is also metal.

Wuben F5 Lantern side

Overall, the build quality is nice.  The charging port cover could be considered a bit basic but does seem functional.

Wuben F5 lantern internal Wuben F5 lantern internal Wuben F5 lantern internal Wuben F5 lantern internal

Size and Comps

This isn’t a full rectangle device – the sides taper a bit toward the back.  The dimensions are listed as follows:

84mm x 78mm x 28.5mm and 203g.

If the flashlight will headstand, I’ll show it here (usually the third photo).  If the flashlight will tailstand, I’ll show that here, too (usually the fourth photo).

Wuben F5 Lantern in hand

Here’s the test light with the venerable Convoy S2+.  Mine’s a custom “baked” edition Nichia 219b triple.  A very nice 18650 light.

And here’s the light beside my custom engraved TorchLAB BOSS 35, an 18350 light.  I reviewed the aluminum version of that light in both 35 and 70 formats.

Retention and Carry

It makes sense that there would be a few ways to carry or hold the Wuben F5 lantern. And there are. First is the lanyard, which attaches through this lanyard hole on one corner.

Wuben F5 Lantern lanyard hole

I think the lanyard is a style that’s been used by Wuben before, but it’s definitely a style some newer Olights use.  I like it.

Wuben F5 Lantern lanyard installed

Next is the tripod connector. This is a metal inset into the plastic body.  I believe this is a standard 1/4″ part.

Wuben F5 Lantern tripod hole

Finally, there’s this loop on the back, which also incorporates a magnet. The magnet is plenty strong, too, and that surface (even with the loop down) is flat.

Wuben F5 Lantern loop on back Wuben F5 Lantern loop on back

There’s also a metal S-Biner but really, this doesn’t attach to the light itself (and seems a bit superfluous to me.)

Wuben F5 Lantern s-biner

 

Power and Runtime

The Wuben F5 lantern is powered by two internal (built-in) 18650 cells. They look to be in series, and they are soldered in place.

Output is within range of the claim.  After a few minutes, there’s a stepdown which holds steady for hours.  The lantern does finally shut off with low voltage protection.

Charging

With the built-in batteries comes built-in charging. In this case, USB-C is used.

An appropriate cable is included – USB to USB-C.  And here’s my word of caution. Remember I said I have had two of these, and one had an issue?  I’m pretty sure there was some issue with me attempting C to C charging. If you asked me to guess, I’d say something inside couldn’t negotiate the higher (possible) voltage from a C source (in this case, the source could provide up to 20V), and something inside the Wuben F5 lantern fried. I don’t know what, and it didn’t turn into a dangerous situation. But it stunk in “that way” (maybe lithium-ion electrolyte?) and will no longer charge.

The replacement, on which I have only ever used USB-A to USB-C charging, has worked flawlessly! So don’t necessarily be scared off buying this inexpensive feature-packed lantern, just don’t use a C to C source with it.

Here’s a charging graph. Charging is at a brisk >2.1A, and doesn’t take too long at all, at under 3 hours.

During charging, the four blue indicating emitters on the side indicate as follows:

0-25% power: one blue flashing
25-50% power: one blue steady, one flashing
50-75% power: two blue steady, one flashing
75-100% power: three blue steady, one flashing
100% power: four blue steady

Powerbank

The USB-A port can be used as a powerbank, too.  But only the A port – the C port is only for charging!

Here’s a powerbank usage graph. In the first couple of minutes I sort of “stress test” it, to see how high the output current can go before shutting off.  Then I just set it at a lower current and let it go until the powerbank shuts off.

During discharging, the four blue indicating emitters on the side indicate as follows:

0-3% power: one blue flashing
3-25% power: one blue steady
25-50% power: two blue steady
50-75% power: three blue steady
>75% power: four blue steady

Modes and Currents

3000K:

Mode Mode Claimed Output (lm) Claimed Runtime Measured Lumens
High 430/230 5m/10h 409
Medium 120 20h 105
Low 7 190h 7

5700K:

Mode Mode Claimed Output (lm) Claimed Runtime Measured Lumens
High 430/230 5m/10h 492
Medium 120 20h 124
Low 7 190h 7

4500K:

Mode Mode Claimed Output (lm) Claimed Runtime Measured Lumens
High 430/230 5m/10h 463
Medium 120 20h 119
Low 7 190h 7

Pulse Width Modulation

Fortunately, none of the modes have PWM.

3000K:

5700K:

4500K:

For reference, here’s a baseline shot, with all the room lights off and almost nothing hitting the sensor.  Also, here’s the light with the worst PWM I could find.  I’m adding multiple timescales, so it’ll be easier to compare to the test light.  Unfortunately, the PWM on this light is so bad that it doesn’t even work with my normal scale, with is 50 microseconds (50us).  10ms5ms2ms1ms0.5ms0.2ms.  In a display faster than 0.2ms or so, the on/off cycle is more than one screen, so it’d just (very incorrectly) look like a flat line.  I wrote more about this Ultrafire WF-602C flashlight and explained a little about PWM too.

User Interface and Operation

Wuben went with three e-switches on the F5.  The center button is for on/off and CCT switching while the other two move the modes up and down (only).

Wuben F5 Lantern e-switches

Wuben F5 Lantern e-switches

Here’s a UI table!

State Action Result
Off Click Power button On (Mode memory)
On Click Power button Off
On Double click power button CCT advance (5700K > 4500K > 3000K order)
Any Click Power button 3x “Breathing light” from blue battery indicator LEDs
On Click Plus button Output advance (LMH)
On Click Minus button Output decrease (HML)
On Hold plus button Output increases ramping style
On Hold minus button Output decreases ramping style

LED and Beam

Wuben doesn’t state what emitters are used in the F5 lantern.  Whatever they are, there are a bunch! I count 60, and that’s 30 each of two CCTs.  There are 30 3000K emitters and 30 5700K emitters.  It’s possible to mix these two too, to achieve around 4500K output.

Wuben F5 Lantern emitter array Wuben F5 Lantern emitter array Wuben F5 Lantern emitter array

On the lowest mode, it’s possible to easily discern each emitter.  But on the higher modes, the output is brighter enough that it all sort of blends together and is diffused nicely.

Wuben F5 Lantern emitter array Wuben F5 Lantern emitter array Wuben F5 Lantern emitter array

Wuben F5 Lantern emitter array

It’s not possible to mix the CCT any way but to 4500K, though.

LED Color Report (CRI and CCT)

Maybe a bit of a surprise here from this lantern is that not just are the CCT options fun, but the CRI is actually quite great too!  I don’t think Wuben bills this as a high-CRI, but it certainly is.  Across all outputs the CRI remains around 96-97, which is simply fantastic.  Even the r9 is great.

3000K:

5700K:

4500K:

Beamshots

These beamshots are always with the following settings:  f8, ISO100, 0.3s shutter, and manual 5000K exposure.

3000K:

5700K:

 

4500K:

Tint vs BLF-348 (KillzoneFlashlights.com 219b version) (affiliate link)

I keep the test flashlight on the left, and the BLF-348 reference flashlight on the right.

3000K:

5700K:

4500K:

I compare everything to the KillzoneFlashlights.com 219b BLF-348 because it’s inexpensive and has the best tint!

Conclusion

What I like

  • CCT options are useful
  • Plenty of carry options
  • User interface is easy enough to understand and use
  • Useful as a powerbank

What I don’t like

  • Not possible to tint mix between 3000K and 5700K except for exactly 4500K (ramping between would be great!)
  • C to C charging doesn’t seem to work (and seems to have killed my first copy of this light)
  • Internally I think there’s room for more than a 2S cell setup, which could extend runtimes

Notes

  • This content originally appeared at zeroair.org.  Please visit there for the best experience!
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