Fenix C7 Flashlight Review
The Fenix C7 is a high-performance flashlight offering high output and great throw. It includes a 21700 cell, and has USB-C charging, too!
Official Specs and Features
Here’s a link to the Fenix C7 flashlight product page.
There is only one version of the Fenix C7 flashlight.
The Fenix C7 flashlight sells for $79.95 and you can buy it at fenix-store.com.
I like a lot of things about this light, but one notable thing is just how flashlighty it is. It has a great flashlight shape, with a body size great for holding, and a flared head. That head has a big reflector, so the throw is great, too. The charging works nicely, and overall the whole package is well appointed. The Fenix C7 flashlight is a solid light and package.
The Big Table
|Fenix C7 Flashlight|
|Price in USD at publication time:||$79.95|
|Turbo Runtime Graph||High Runtime Graph|
|Quiescent Current (mA):||?|
|Charge Port Type:||USB-C|
|Power off Charge Port||with cell: ECO only
without cell or tailcap: no modes
|Claimed Lumens (lm)||3000|
|Measured Lumens (at 30s)||2829 (94.3% of claim)^|
|Candela per Lumen||21.2|
|Claimed Throw (m)||470|
|Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s)||1961lux @ 5.555m = 60513cd|
|Throw (Calculated) (m)||492.0 (104.7% of claim)^|
|Item provided for review by:||Fenix|
|All my Fenix 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).
- Fenix C7 flashlight
- Charging cable (USB to USB-C)
- Fenix 5000mAh 21700
- Spare o-rings (2)
- Manual and paperwork
Package and Manual
Build Quality and Disassembly
Again, I love how much like a flashlight the C7 looks. That might be silly, but it’s just one thing I like, and take note of when I see it. This is a very flashlighty flashlight.
The build quality is very good, too. The light seems robust, and in hand, there are no real questions about quality. There’s no rattle or anything of the sort.
Only the tailcap comes off, and inside that is a big beefy spring. The tailcap threads are anodized, well lubed, square cut, and quite long.
Inside the head is just a button for contact – no spring. No issues there; this isn’t billed as a tactical flashlight, and Fenix does include the cell that’s required, so it all works out fine.
Size and Comps
- Length: 5.87″
- Head Diameter: 1.57″
- Body Diameter: 1.06″
- Weight: 6.07 Oz (Excluding battery)
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).
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
First, let’s talk about the pocket clip. This clip ships attached to the C7. It’s a fairly standard friction fit pocket clip. In fact, I’d call this a “Lumintop pocket clip” and you can probably see why.
The clip attaches only to the tail end of the C7, so only bezel-down carry is possible using the pocket clip.
The pocket clip works fine and is fine, and everything’s fine. But it’s a bit lower in quality than the rest of the light. It’s sufficient, while the rest of the light is great.
Next up is the lanyard. There’s just one place to attach the lanyard, and that’s through these two holes in the tailcap.
Since there are two holes, it’s possible to attach the lanyard so that the C7 will still tailstand, too.
Within the tailcap is a magnet, too.
This magnet is quite strong and is capable of holding the flashlight in any orientation.
There is no nylon pouch or sheath.
Power and Runtime
Included with the $80 purchase price of the Fenix C7 flashlight is a 5000mAh 21700 cell with a Fenix wrapper.
This lithium-ion cell is a standard button top.
The cell goes into the C7 in the normal way – positive end (button) toward the head.
Note that a flat top 21700 (that is, one with standard 21700 dimensions) seems to fit but doesn’t work in the C7. That’s probably because the head connection seems to require a button top.
Here are a few runtime tests.
When the cell voltage gets low, the indicating e-switch begins notification, as follows:
Green: 100-85% power
Green flashing: 85-50% power
Red: 50-25% power
Red flashing: 25-1% power
The Fenix C7 flashlight also has built-in charging, by way of a USB-C charging port.
This port is on the head just on the opposite side to the e-switch. To be honest, they’re a little bit difficult to differentiate by feel. The charging port cover has more of a nub than the e-switch does.
An appropriate charging cable is included: USB to USB-C.
Here are a few charge cycles. one with USB to USB-C, and a couple with C to C. C to C works, and works well.
The indicating switch will also indicate the charging status, too. While charging, the indicator is red. When charging is complete, the indicator turns green. In the C to C test above, the switch would have turned green around 200 minutes.
Modes and Currents
|Mode||Mode Claimed Output (lm)||Claimed Runtime||Measured Lumens||Tailcap Amps|
Pulse Width Modulation
No mode uses PWM.
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). 10ms. 5ms. 2ms. 1ms. 0.5ms. 0.2ms. 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
The Fenix C7 flashlight is controlled by a single e-switch. This switch is at the top of the body, not just quite “on the head” but that’s the ergonomics of it.
The switch is curved to fit the body and is very low to the body.
The action is very low. I mean very low – I don’t think the edges of the rubber cover even move.
Also, I covered the indicator features of the switch – below you can see the switch lighting in green. The red looks just the same, and in the same place. Ie, the whole switch cover doesn’t light in either color, just that one spot does.
Here’s a UI table!
|Off||Click||Battery check (indicates as covered in the Power and Runtime section)|
|Off||Hold 0.5s||Enter general mode (with mode memory)|
|Off||Hold 1.2s||Enter flash mode|
|On||Click||General mode: mode advance (Eco > L > M > H > T)
Flash mode: mode advance (strobe > SOS)
|Lockout||Click||Eco flash twice|
LED and Beam
Fenix uses a Luminus SST-70 emitter on the C7. That emitter is coupled with a smooth and deep reflector.
The result is a very throwy beam profile (and I love it.)
LED Color Report (CRI and CCT)
Both CRI and CCT are probably about what you’d guess for a high-performance flashlight like the C7, which uses a Luminus SST-70. That emitter is known for high output, and not known for great CRI or a warm CCT. The CCT ranges from around 5800 (on the lower modes) to around 6500K on the highest. That’s fairly acceptable. We’ll give the CRI the benefit of the doubt and say that it “hovers around 70.”
These beamshots are always with the following settings: f8, ISO100, 0.3s shutter, and manual 5000K exposure.
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.
I compare everything to the KillzoneFlashlights.com 219b BLF-348 because it’s inexpensive and has the best tint!
What I like
- Great performance
- High output
- Very good throw
- Wonderful beam profile
- USB-C to USB-C works great
- Indicating switch is useful
- Reasonable cost
- Straightforward user interface (even if it might not be how I’d design it)
What I don’t like
- Low CRI
- Hold for off
- CCT creeps up into the very cool at high output
- Pocket clip quality seems to be lower than the rest of the C7 quality level
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