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Fire-Foxes 4 Vs Fenix TK75 Battle of the BIG Lights

Joined
Mar 27, 2011
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Hey Guys :D

Lately I've been more into flashlights than lasers. As with handheld lasers, so too with flashlights I find myself looking for the perfect light, and the more lights I get the pickier I become.

At present I consider the Fenix TK75, and the Firefox 4 to be my brightest lights.

(The BlackShadow Terminator XMLU3 is about the same as the TK75 in output, maybe a tad brighter, but it simply does not have the same kind of throw.)

So which is better?

Up first, BEAMSHOTS! :wave:

1 TK75 Turbo

1TK75Turbo_zps61c07a56.jpg


2 FF4 24W

2FF424W_zpsf04ffd93.jpg


3 FF4 40W

3FF440W_zps476f3105.jpg


4 FF4 60W

4FF460W_zps7ba6f327.jpg


A different location;

Control

5Control_zps54ac1e49.jpg


6 TK75 Medium

6TK75Medium_zps23b08207.jpg


7 TK75 High

7TK75High_zpsd79fbbeb.jpg


8 TK75 Turbo

8TK75Turbo_zps660b4a86.jpg


9 FF4 24W

9FF424W_zpsd03f8350.jpg


10 FF4 40W (1)

10FF440W1Maybe_zps9bd83a91.jpg


11 FF4 40W (2)

11FF440W2Maybe_zpsc66f2d2f.jpg


12 FF4 40W (3)

12FF440W3Maybe_zps6c3629fb.jpg


13 FF4 60W (1)

13FF460W1Maybe_zps8499946d.jpg


14 FF4 60W (2)

14FF460W2Maybe_zpsbb8b6942.jpg


15 FF4 Just Shining Up

15FF4JustShiningUp_zps0f888c70.jpg


*I took these pictures a little while back, so I don't remember the exact order that they were taken in. For the second location set, pictures 10 through 14, I'm not 100% sure which are at the 40W mode and which are at the turbo 60W mode.

While up close, and at a middle distance, the TK75 holds it's own, at a distance, the FireFox 4 takes a big leap forward, and keeps it. In terms of reach, even on the 24W mode, the FF4 goes further, though with a narrower beam.

While I have other throwers, of all the lights, only the TK75 is in the same league. Other throwers reach equally as far as the TK, or further (see my flashlight beamshots collection thread) but they only light up a very target. Both the TK75 and the FireFox light up not just the target, but the whole area :D

Due to the fact that the arc on the HID based FF4, is a much smaller light emitting area, the FF4 has a much shallower, and relatively small reflector for it's size and throw.

This also works to produce lots of flood up close. Though you wouldn't want to try reading a receipt in a dark restaurant with this light :shhh::tinfoil:

Tint;

The tint of the TK75, is Cool White, classic XMLu2 which I'm sure most here are familiar with.

The tint of the Firefox 4 is gorgeous, much warmer, and makes colors pop by comparison. To me it is the second most pleasing tint I have experienced on a flashlight.

There is a tinge of red along the edges of the hotspot, but this becomes impossible to notice when lighting up objects far away, and not really an issue even up close. (There is some speculation that as the bulb is used more, this may change or dissapear, as well as minor changes in overall tint.)

At 40W, the setting this HID is meant to run at, it's simply gorgeous.

Build Quality;

The TK75 takes the lead, but the FireFoxes 4 does deserve credit as befits a premium light.

The overall quality, the feel of the light, and the machining on the TK75 is better. The TK75 lens is AR coated, the lens on the FF4 is not. The threads on the TK75 were also lubricated from the factory, and the anodize finish seems to be more resilient.

That said, the machining and anodization on the Firefox 4 is also excellent. The threads nice and smooth. I do think FireFoxes company should invest in using some silicone grease on these lights before they are shipped though. After the application of a bit of silicone grease, the threads are silky smooth.

Battery Carriers;

The battery carrier on the TK75 feels more solid, and is better designed, and is capable of accepting even the largest 70mm protected 18650 batteries, while the shorter batteries are still quite snug.

The battery carrier on the FF4 is not nearly as well designed. It cannot accept longer protected batteries.

On the Firefox 4 the battery carrier also contains the "tailcap" switch, and acts as the protection circuit. The carrier treats all four batteries as a pack.

On my firefox, there is a slight problem with the switch. I am ordering another carrier as a result.

User Interface

The FireFox 4 is actually one of the very few HID lights out there, with different modes.

To prime the light you click the tailcap, which is simply a cover that sits over the switch on the carrier. There are two small green LEDs which will light up, and you will see in the dark through the GTID switch that the light is primed for use.

To actually turn it on, you press the side button.

The light always turns on in the 40W mode. It takes about 10-20 seconds to completely warm up. There is a noticeable change in brightness, and tint as this happens.

After the light is on you can press the side button again, and go into the 24W mode. Even at 24W this is easily one of the brighter small lights out there.

From the 24W mode only, not from the 40W mode, pressing the side button for 2-3 seconds will change the mode to the Turbo 60W.

The amount of light at 60W is simply astounding. If you're a flashaholic, and a grown man, it may still bring on a uncontrollable urge to giggle :p

At 60W the light will run for exactly 3 minutes before stepping down to lower mode. The light will also step down if your batteries are not keeping up with the drain, running low, or due to heat.

To step down from the 60W mode manually, simply press the side button again.

To turn off the light, press the tailcap switch.

A major concern that I had, and many others, was that you can only go into the 60W mode once per cycle. After you either step down to a lower mode yourself, or the light steps down, in order to go back into turbo mode again, you have to turn off the light via the tailcap switch, and turn it back on again.

Despite appearing the apparent hassle of this, there is a very good reason for it.

HEAT. At 60W the light warms up very fast. This light is truly meant to be used in the 40W mode, and 24W for longer run times. Not 60W.

After running the light for a while, you will want to give it time to cool down.

This light has a duty cycle. You will need to allow it time to cool down after extended use. I suggest removing the batteries during this time, as after use, the heat takes a little while to completely radiate outward, and the light actually feels hotter a few minutes after you turn it off, than it does while holding it.

The longest I've run mine was about half an hour, starting with 40W for about half a minute, going to 24W, for a few seconds, and continuing straight into turbo. On another occasion it did step down from 40W to 24W, also due to heat.

Despite all these shortcomings due to the nature of the light, it's still absolutely worth it, and I can't see anyone that enjoys flashlights, not enjoy this light.

***GOOD MATCHED BATTERIES THAT CAN SUPPORT A HIGH DISCHARGE SHOULD BE USED WITH THE FIREFOX 4 LIGHT***

Sanyo UR18650F, or Panasonic 2900, 3100, or 3400mAh batteries will work well, but the best option would be to use either IMR batteries, or hybrid batteries like the Panasonic NCR18650PD.

As a final note, the tailcap button on the Firefox 4 is flush with the back of the light, so accidental activation is very unlikely, and being that a mechanical switch is used, there is no parasitic drain to worry about (afaik). All of this means that it should be fine to keep batteries in this light for extended periods of time.

The TK75 has been well reviewed, but I'll add a bit about it.

It is much more user friendly. With LEDs there is no warm up time, and you can change modes to your heart's desire as much as you want. There are two buttons on the side of the light, near the head, positioned in such a way that accidental activation is not likely.

The TK75 is less picky about batteries, although I would still stick to high quality batteries if your goal is to run it on turbo. It will step down both due to heat, or low batteries, but heat is really not much of an issue with this light unless it's completely stationary with no airflow, and in a warm environment to begin with.

Ergonomics;

The Firefox 4 is a remarkably small light considering it's output. Unfortunately it is not very comfortable to hold. The battery tube is too stubby. As a result if you have medium or larger hands, or even small hands, you will most likely end up gripping both the tube, and the head of the light.

The fact that you need to use both the tail switch and the side switch means that one handed operation is difficult.

I am hoping for some minor design changes in this regard for next production batches, but I won't hold my breath.

The Fenix TK75 is a pleasure to handle. It is very well balanced and easy to use one handed. It is still my favorite BIG light. A lot of thought and care clearly went into designing it.

And the Winner IS!

I don't know. You decide. I like them both :na:

Edit: Some pictures of the two lights side by side;

10TK75FF4_zpsb64b070a.jpg


2TK75FF4_zps5e9c7b70.jpg


7TK75FF4_zps7f13e3ac.jpg


TK75 Reflector;
4TK75_zps3e8850ca.jpg


FF4 Reflector;
6FF4_zpscb98a523.jpg
 
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ped

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Great, detailed review thanks :beer: .


I need to get me a HID, I don't have the same love for flashlights as I do for lasers, but I do like them ones.
 
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could you make a mouse-over of them for comparison? would be easier to tell which is the winner. id look into doing it for you but off to bed! comparison with an aspheric in terms of throw or is it not ever close?
 

Blord

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Great detailed review. The FF4 is much better thrower than the TK75 which looks like a flooder to me. I always want a HID flight and this FF4 looks like a beast.
 
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Good review Infinitus. Personally I like the TK75. It could just be the beam is wider and seems to illuminate more from the pictures. May be different IRL. Also the uniformity of the color. These are just my impressions from the pictures. It may be different in use and a choice like this is very subjective :)

~ LB
 
Joined
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Glad you guys like the review and comparison :)

I need to get me a HID, I don't have the same love for flashlights as I do for lasers, but I do like them ones.

I highly recommend the FF4... in terms of price to performance it's impossible to beat for the moment imo. I was also very hesitant to get an HID, but this light has changed how I feel about them.

could you make a mouse-over of them for comparison? would be easier to tell which is the winner. id look into doing it for you but off to bed! comparison with an aspheric in terms of throw or is it not ever close?

Not really sure how to do that, but I'll google later.

Suffice it to say that on 40W and 60W, the FF4 thoroughly obliterates the TK75. The Aspheric is anemic by comparison.

Great detailed review. The FF4 is much better thrower than the TK75 which looks like a flooder to me. I always want a HID flight and this FF4 looks like a beast.

The TK75 has a wider beam, but with lots of throw. It's nowhere near as floody as other multi emmiter lights though, like the SRK. It only appears to be floody in this comparison due the extremely tight center beam of the FF4.

The FF4 does also produce A LOT of flood... it's just that it's drowned out by the hotspot & center beam.

Good review Infinitus. Personally I like the TK75. It could just be the beam is wider and seems to illuminate more from the pictures. May be different IRL. Also the uniformity of the color. These are just my impressions from the pictures. It may be different in use and a choice like this is very subjective :)

~ LB

The TK75 is still the light I would grab in an emergency. No question about that. It provides a very good balance between flood and throw.

It appears to illuminate more vs the FF4, but that's kind of an illusion. In fact the FF4 floods more up close imo.
 
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Good to know thank you. I thought it might an in camera thing and not the same in person. :beer:

Here's some overkill just for fun :)


~ LB
 
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Good to know thank you. I thought it might an in camera thing and not the same in person. :beer:

I find the problem with taking beamshots is the camera automatically increases and decreases the exposure, so when the exposure is lowered you don't see the up close flood/side spill as well with the FF4, but rather the ridiculous center beam.

You'll notice I didn't include the TK75 Low shot. The reason being is the camera increased exposure so much that it looked on par with the high/medium modes :(

I know this can be adjusted... but I'm no photographer, I stick to point & shoot only.

About the video, might as well just go for one of these instead: Product Listing Kong

The problem is, beyond a certain level, how much more flood light do you really need? I'd rather have a good mix of flood & throw like the TK75. For up close stuff, I have the Zebralight S6330, BS Terminator, Apex 5T6, and SRKs.

I'm actually getting as second TK75 (got a great deal), hopefully today :shhh::D Can't wait to light up tonight :eg:

What I'm really looking forward to in the LED department, is an update of the TK or RC lines. The RC40 was a letdown.
 
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:crackup: Holy $%&#! That thing crazy.

The automatic exposure is my problem with taking Laser beamshots too. Will have to figure that one out :thinking:

I'm actually getting more interested in the Lights now. Really impressive. Up til now I've just been dealing with Streamlights because we have them at work.

~ LB
 

jayrob

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Hey how did you get an FF4?

I thought they were not available yet??

Please do tell... :)

Edit: Oh... Looks like I almost missed the boat. I see now that they are available...
 
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Joined
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Hey how did you get an FF4?

I thought they were not available yet??

Please do tell... :)

Edit: Oh... Looks like I almost missed the boat. I see now that they are available...

PM Sent.

They've been out for a little over a month now :D
 
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Nice review I already made my payment for the second batch which will be in soon I can't wait.

When I talked to you earlier about the comparison between the FF4 and your best LED I see what you mean now. The LED's are almost there!

Now for a question that wasn't answered (price/performance ratio) is there a winner in this category?

Also do you mind taking a snap shot of the lights sitting next to each other for size reference :beer:
 
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Well, for price to performance, I mean in throw, and raw power, nothing beats the FF4 at the moment.

The downside is being HID it is more fragile, has warmup time, has fewer modes, gets super hot, and doesn't run for as long.

In an emergency, I'd rather have the TK75 hands down... but for wow factor, the FF4 is my favorite.

I think within a generation or two, LED lights will take over completely. Even now LEDs can take the lead in raw power, just not throw since the luminous surface area is much larger vs the hot spot from the HID Arc, so it's easier to make a super thrower from an HID than it is with an led light. From my 2000 lumens plus lights I find myself using the zebralight s6330 the most.

Here are a couple shots I took a while back...

42125d1371148038-what-lights-do-you-have-ff41.jpg

42126d1371148038-what-lights-do-you-have-ff42.jpg


It's bigger than the SRK, but really not too big. Just also not very well balanced. I think from a design perspective they could have made a longer battery tube, and used the extra space for other things. An extension tube and handle for extension tube would be fantastic add on options to this light.
 
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Awesome!

I've always loved HID lighting, gotta get a torch one, one day.

I do tend to prefer flooders or mixed beam torches (but not flood-to-throw transitionals) but even so HIDs are impressive. I just don't see the practicality of such a tight beam, especially since at these brightness levels anything outside of the beam may as well be blocked out (tunnel vision).

I love the form factor on the fire foxes, but man they are pricey.
 
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Throwy flooders like the tk75 are definitely the best option. Up close, there is such a thing as too much flood.

The FF4 doesn't look well balanced in this regard, but in reality it does have quite a bit of side spill, so the tunnel effect doesn't really come into play.

Edit: Got my second TK75 today :D One for home, one for the car :eg:

I won't be getting another FF unless they make big changes to the current version, and I would sell my current one first.

Has to tell you something that I got two of the same pricey lights :tinfoil:
 
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