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Monday, May 23, 2011

Review: Fenix flashlight side by side - LD20 & PD30

Today we're taking a look at two higher quality lights from Fenix Tactical. Each has it's own unique specifications and uses in the field. Both are what I like to call 'budget lights'. They're both very well constructed - but you're not going to save for months to buy one.

Lights from Fenix - LD20 and PD30

First we'll look at the longer of the two. The LD20 comes with a nylon sheath that is well put together - I can't see any reason you'd have to replace it under normal working circumstances. Unless you beat the heck out of it or are working under rough conditions, this should serve you well. It's got a belt loop on the back as well as a Velcro strip running along the entire length - useful as a MOLLE attachment aid.

Out of the sheath, the light is skinny. That was my initial thought - I'm used to lights that fill out my hand a little. Any hesitation I had about the light was quickly pushed aside once I put 2 double A batteries inside. The tailcap - with a clicky switch on the end, screws off to allow you to put in the required power source. The tailcap also has two attachment points for a lanyard.

The lights specifications, as listed on the Fenix site include:

Features of Fenix LD20: • Cree XP-G LED (R5) with lifespan of 50,000 hours

• Two modes with 6 types of output:
     Turbo Mode: 180 lumens (2h16m) ->Strobe
     General Mode: 5 lumens (100h) - > 30 lumens (15h) -> 81 lumens (5h57m) - > SOS

• Digitally regulated output - maintains constant brightness
• Uses two 1.5V AA (Alkaline, Ni-MH, Lithium) batteries (not included), inexpensive and widely available

Dimensions
       • Length: 150mm / 5.91in
       • Diameter: 21.5mm / 0.85in
       • Weight: 60grams / 2.1oz (excluding batteries)

• Made of durable T6 aircraft-grade aluminum
• Premium Type III hard-anodized anti-abrasive finish
• Waterproof to IPX-8 Standard
• Toughened ultra-clear glass lens with anti-reflective coating
• Push-button tail cap switch
• Capable of standing up securely on a flat surface to serve as a candle
• Included accessories: holster, lanyard, body clip, two spare o-rings and a rubber switch boot

The light came with some of these accessories, but since it was purchased at a local gun show - out of a box of lights, it's no surprise that everything wasn't included - we didn't even get a box!

The body clip is sturdy and could easily be adapted into a 'pocket light' scenario - EDC or otherwise. A couple spots on the light are kept really skinny, almost hugging the batteries inside, most likely to be used as an attachment point for use as a weapon light.

It has a number of easy-to-see modes. You can select a mode by lightly depressing the tailcap switch momentarily. From strobe to high - all modes work flawlessly.

This light may be 'too' skinny for some, but it's also a bonus feature of it as well - it's small and easy to carry without dedicating a pocket completely to it's storage. It hangs about a half inch out of either side of my hand when grasped in the middle - a larger EDC light than most but definitely viable; maybe has room to be used as an impact device as well.

 
Side by side, the only major difference is size.

The PD30 is much shorter than it's cousin, fitting in my hand completely. It's just as skinny though, and with more lumens to boot.

Features of Fenix PD30:
• Cree XP-G LED (R5) with lifespan of 50,000 hours

• 2 modes with 6 types of output:
     Turbo Mode: 257 lumens (2h37m) ->Strobe
     General Mode: 10 lumens (126h) - > 67 lumens (17h) -> 124 lumens (7h45m) - > SOS

• Digitally regulated output - maintains constant brightness
• Uses two 3V CR123A batteries (Lithium) (not included)

Dimensions
       • Length: 118mm / 4.65in
       • Diameter: 21.5mm / 0.85in
       • Weight: 53grams / 1.9oz (excluding batteries)

• Made of durable aircraft-grade aluminum
• Premium Type III hard-anodized anti-abrasive finish
• Waterproof to IPX-8 Standard
• Toughened ultra-clear glass lens with anti-reflective coating
• Push-button tail cap switch
• Capable of standing up securely on a flat surface to serve as a candle
• Included accessories: holster, lanyard, body clip, two spare o-rings and a rubber switch boot

I have no way of effectively measuring the amount of light coming out of either of these lights, except a side by side 'eyeball' test. As seen below, the bottom light, the PD30 - has a different, more bright and white light.


The cost to keep this little light running is more than your mega-pack of AA's, but worth the hassle in the end. The PD30's output is much more vivid, and in a smaller package. Even in broad daylight, if you get a full-face high output beam from this little guy, you can't see who's doing it. Not only is it distracting, I haven't met someone who can just stare at the source without looking away - great as a momentary 'stun' device.

As with the LD - there are a bunch of different things you can use with this light including diffusers and filters for certain tasks. We didn't get any of these items as this light too came from a local show as a discounted item.

At work, I could easily see this being kept in the vehicle, my toolbelt or on my person. It takes up even less room and provides lots of light. It's actually a little heavier than the other, and sits well in the hand.

LD20 & PD30
Depending on your POU - either light is well worth the purchase. Both can easily be used as an EDC lightsource, or as a go-to light when needed. The smaller of the two is more likely to be used as a weapon light, just given it's size in comparison. In saying this - I'd also be more likely to carry it with me every day, in it's sheath or in my pocket.

The only person who might want to stay away from these lights is one who is more used to bigger lights. Maglites and products like them have a certain ergonomic standard to them. If you're used to using big lights, you might fumble around with these little ones - but it's something to consider, given the amount of light these ones can put out.

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