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Thread: Torch review - Fenix TK15

  1. #1

    Torch review - Fenix TK15

    I use a head torch as it is very handy when gralloching and so on but was looking for something a bit more powerful in a hand torch both as a reserve and for while walking out after an evening of lurking and also exploring in the dark when i spot something that I should really ignore until daylight.

    Anyhow, I wanted a decent LED with reasonable run time and that would be powerful enough to fulfil my requirements. I'd been watching the Fenix range for about a year as they get a good name while not being off the scale in terms of price (I believe you can pay 600 for some torches) but I was always a bit wary of spending more than a few quid on a torch.

    Yesterday I took delivery of a Fenix TK15. This is a new model and as the development of LED torches is moving so fast I thought it best to go for the latest model to get maximum bang for my buck. It is the first time I've spent more than a few quid on a torch with the TK15 coming in about 68. It did cross my mind that I might be mad but I do an awful lot of sneaking about in forests in the dark so that either proves that I'm mad or demonstrates a need for a good torch.

    First impressions are pretty good - the torch seems well constructed and robust and the levels of light output are useful and well thought out. It has a very low output mode that would be enough to allow you to follow a track or to walk in relative safety and in this mode there is enough light to light up a small room. At maximum the output is very impressive for such a small torch and as well as a good throw there is lots of "spill" so you can both see an object in the distance and also light up your local area to allow walking or the like. Tested against one of the larger maglights the TK15 was much, much brighter and the beam pattern was more useful. There are two levels between the minimum and maximum. On maximum the run time is about 1.5 to 2 hours while on minimum it should be around 142 hours.

    The torch runs on 2 X CR123 or 1 X 18650 rechargable - I am running it on the 18650 rechargable as the CR123 can be expensive. The torch sits very nicely in the hand when in use. Here is a photo with the industry standard clipper for scale:

    The light is turned on and off using a clicky switch in the tail. This switch makes quite a loud click but then if you are turning a light on your presence is hardly going to be a secret from the deer anyhow:

    The 4 levels of light output are selected using a silver button just behind the head of the torch which toggles from one level to the next. When turned off the torch "remembers" the last light level used and so turns back on at that level. I try to leave it in the lowest mode so it doesn't come on and totally ruin night vision though it must be said that even the lowest mode is too high to be considered as "moonlight" illumination so there is a pretty high risk it will ruin night vision on low. The mode button sits nicely under your thumb when using the torch:

    As can be seen the light also sports a pocket clip which is very strong and robust and it ships with a belt holster and a wrist strap. I suspect that the belt holster will see a lot of use and it will find a place on my belt beside my knife when I'm out on the ground.

    As you need a hand to hold the TK15 it will not replace my head torch, or car headlights, for gralloching and similar but for finding the dead deer or even helping find my way out of the woods in the dark I suspect it is going to work well and the light output is most impressive. Fenix claim an output of 337 ANSI lumens and I've no idea what that means but suspect it is good for a 100 yard throw (Fenix claim 215m on the basis that you will supply your own pinch of salt) while the spill lights up the local area nicely. The beam pattern appears very useful giving both good throw and good local lighting.

    Good beam pattern
    Lots of light
    Small and handy
    Good run time
    Good belt holster
    Robust, well made and should be reliable in long term

    A lot of cash for a small light (68)
    Uses a tail switch for on/off which is a bit of a fumble

  2. #2
    I have the Fenix TK10 . Amazing torch and very well made.
    Last edited by Jagare; 18-11-2010 at 20:41.

  3. #3
    after messing with maglites and such for years these led torches are just far contest really.i have several fenix of different sizes plus a couple other makes.they can give long throws of bright light beyond 200 yards

  4. #4
    As a follow up to my comments above I took the torch stalking today and it worked just fine. As suspected the lowest light level was ideal for following tracks when walking out in the dark. On the highest level I would guestimate that there was useful illumination out to about 120 yards and it would pick out deer eyes at 300, maybe 400, yards. The beam seems very good in that not only does it have decent throw but there is a goodly level of spill to allow you to see the areas nearby. The belt holster thing proved a bit of a fiddle to get the torch back into in the field but I imagine with a bit of practise that will cease to be a problem.

    Unfortunately the ability to pick out deer eyes at hundreds of yards revealed to me that my new high seat spot is not so ideal. After sitting looking out on probably 20 - 30 acres of ground and seeing nothing I put the torch over it once it got too dark to shoot and - nothing. So, does anyone know of a torch that can tell you in advance if the high seat position is going to work?

  5. #5
    Another convert to the LED club. Glad you like your TK15. I have had a TK10 for several years now and it is faultless, run it on a rechargable battery and no problems what so ever.

    The Tiablo equivalent is a better torch, tighter and more penetrating beam but much more expensive.

    My TK has suffered all sorts of abuse and although battered is still as good as the day i purchased it.

    Highly recommended bit of essential kit.


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