Fenix TA30 LED flashlight review and shootout

This is a discussion on Fenix TA30 LED flashlight review and shootout within the Related Gear & Equipment forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Introduction I was fortunate enough to be chosen by Fenix to review their new light – the TA30. This light was built with the needs ...

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Thread: Fenix TA30 LED flashlight review and shootout

  1. #1
    Distinguished Member Array Chooie's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Fenix TA30 LED flashlight review and shootout

    Introduction

    I was fortunate enough to be chosen by Fenix to review their new light – the TA30. This light was built with the needs of law enforcement and military customers in mind. I am neither of these, but I am a member of our local volunteer EMS department, and have many similar needs to be met by a light. So far, this role has been filled by many lights that have passed through my collection, including models from Surefire, Inova, Fenix, Streamlight, and Olight. In the interest of full disclosure, I received this light at no cost to me, courtesy of Fenix and Fenix Outfitters.



    First Impressions


    When I first opened the package from the post office, my initial reaction was the same as when I received my first Fenix light (a P3D-CE) – a big grin and then amazement. With the P3D, my amazement was with the build quality, innovation, and output for its size. With the TA30, however, I can sum up my initial feelings for this light in one word… awe. This is a substantial light. This is no pocket/purse EDC like so many other new lights, nor does it deserve to be tossed into a junk drawer or tool box (although I’m sure there are folks out there that will do both of these things). Inside the package, the TA30 was nestled snugly into its molded plastic tray, along with a zip top bag with spare o-rings, switch boot, and a lanyard. There is also space for three CR123 cells, although none are included. Removing the tail cap reveals cleanly machined and anodized threads that came lightly oiled. Like other Fenix lights I have owned, the thread pitch is very fine, which concerns me given the abuse the target demographic is likely to give its equipment. I loaded the TA30 with a fresh set of USA made Battery Station cells and began waiting for it to get dark.

















    Last edited by JD; May 13th, 2009 at 08:59 PM.

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    Distinguished Member Array Chooie's Avatar
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    Outdoor Beamshots

    These shots were taken with the lights mounted on a tripod, aimed at the front door of our house. The camera was mounted on a second tripod, slightly aft and starboard of the camera tripod (this is why the flood looks oblique in the shots). Included for comparison are:

    * Surefire L1 Luxeon TIR
    * Surefire E2L with KL1 head, TIR, and high CRI Seoul P4
    * Surefire E2L with KX2 head (3/60)
    * Surefire E2DL with KX2C head (120)
    * Surefire G2 with P60
    * Fenix E20
    * Mag85

    OK, kicking off the comparison, here are the low levels of the Surefire L1, E2L, and Fenix TA30.

    Surefire L1 low


    Surefire E2L low


    Fenix TA30 low


    Now, the medium TA30 vs. the high output settings on the L1 and E2L, as well as the high CRI E2L and Surefire G2.

    Surefire L1 high


    Surefire E2L high


    Surefire E2L high CRI


    Surefire G2


    Fenix TA30 medium

  4. #3
    Distinguished Member Array Chooie's Avatar
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    Now, the higher output lights – Fenix E20, Surefire E2DL (single level KX2C) and the TA30 on high… as well as a Mag85, just for fun!

    Fenix E20 – spot


    Fenix E20 – flood


    Surefire E2DL high


    Fenix TA30 high


    Mag85 spot


    Mag85 flood


    Please note that I do not have a DSLR camera at my disposal, so all shots were taken with a little point and shoot Sony DSC-W50. As a result, the dimmer settings and lights do not show up properly. Rest assured that those almost entirely black shots are NOT representative of the actual visible scene.

    Beginning with the low output levels, it is clear that the TA30 is brighter on low than either of the Surefires – not a surprise, considering that it is rated at 9 lumens, compared to the L1 and E2L’s 1.1 and 3 lumen ratings, respectively. What is surprising is the way this light throws, with an even tighter hotspot than the new Surefire e-series TIR in my E2L and E2DL. Even at the lowest output level, I could readily see details on the front of the cabin from 30 yards out. This greater output, however, makes it a bit overwhelming when navigating a dark house.

    Moving up to the tactical levels, things become more interesting, given the wide range of outputs that I am using for this comparison. The Surefire L1 is rated at a mere 22 lumens, I can only guess that the modded E2L outputs about 40-45 lumens, and the G2, E2L KX2, and TA30 are all rated at 60 lumens. Even so, I feel they are all roughly the same in terms of usability. Leading the pack in terms of throw are the E2L KX2 on high and the TA30 on medium. The E2L’s optic gives it a larger hotspot but dimmer spillbeam, but the TA30 has the exact opposite – a small, bright spot, and wide spill, much like the P60 module. The L1's spot is very well defined and is only slightly dimmer than that of the other lights - but offers ZERO spill. The Seoul P4 behind the TIR optic changes its properties slightly, mimicking the P60's spot and adding an ever so slight amount of spill.

    On the high side of the output scale, the TA30 really shines. It is brighter by far than the E20, and also outdoes my other favorite “really bright” single die LED light, the E2DL. I have yet to test the light’s longevity and usability in practical use (that will come later this week), but as far as the output levels are concerned, I feel they are pretty much spot on for the light’s intended market.

    I'll continue the review after I have an opportunity to put the light through its paces on my next duty night, and I will loan it to a local Sheriff's deputy to use for a week or two on night shift to get his opinion of the light.

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    VIP Member Array Yoda's Avatar
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    How do you get to be a reviewer?
    Yoda, I am, yes.

  6. #5
    Distinguished Member Array Chooie's Avatar
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    Sheer luck! Fenix posted on CPF a while back about looking for folks to review new lights. I suspect they will do several more over the course of the year.

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    New Member Array glassrAin's Avatar
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    very great. I like the led flashlight very much. How much is it?
    the last rose of the summer

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    Distinguished Member Array Diddle's Avatar
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    Thanks for posing this. Good info.

    Craig

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    Thanks!

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    Nice light! I struggled with spending 150-bucks on the SureFire "BackUp" but now that I have it, I wouldn't give it up. It's soOoo well made and the 2-stage brightness switch is great! I also have a Streamlight Stinger XT rechargeable and the 2-cell Streamlight "Scorpion". I like the "BackUp" the best.
    Regards,
    “Monsters are real and so are ghosts. They live inside of us, and sometimes they win.”
    ~ Stephen King

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