Fenix HP25 Review..

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infidel
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Fenix HP25 Review..

Post by infidel » July 2nd, 2013, 1:01 pm

I don't know if this is the right forum but since we are always looking for better herping lights, I thought I'd post. Mods, feel free to move it if this is the wrong spot.

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MY HISTORY WITH HEADLAMPS

I've been an avid outdoors guy for years, fishing, hunting, herping (snake hunting) and wildlife photography. For some reason, many of my pursuits take me outdoors at night, especially the herping. For years I resisted headlamps because for lack of a better term, they looked like birth control to me. Then one day while fishing with a friend about 8 years ago, we arrived before sun up. As we put our boat on the water in the dark, he slapped on a headlamp and started doing his thing while I fumbled with my handheld light trying to pull out back lashes, tie on lures, etc. He finally said, "here, try this". I reluctantly put on his headlamp and I've been a believer since then. Soon after, I went out and bought a cheap headlamp at my local WalMart and used it for many things but I longed for something better, more powerful. So I at the reccomendation of a friend, I got on Amazon and bought a Petzl Tikka headlamp; much better. While I loved the Petzl Tikka and it worked great for small chores around the house, reading in bed, great for early morning and evening fishing and as a focus assist light for photography, it still didn't have the power I was looking for. I tried it looking for snakes at night in the wilds of West Texas and it just didn't have enough juice. So after lots of research and reccomendations by others in the herping (snake hunting) community, I bit the bullet and picked up a Princeton Tec Apex; now we're talking. This light did it all. For years as a snake hunter, I carried around a florescent wand powered by a big, heavy 6V battery and always wished for something lighter but provide the light I needed, the Princeton Tec Apex provided that and worked great for all aspects. It even completely replaced the florescent wand for snake hunting. It would take a heck of a light to trump the Apex, read on...
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Well, as I said earlier, in my "real job" in Law Enforcement, I rely on artificial light on a regular basis. The one limitation with head lamps however was that in a life or death situation, involving gunfire at night, wearing a headlamp provides your adversary with a grand, glowing target,...not good. So hand held light are a must; and I've used LOTS of them. I would imagine that I own probably 14 hand held lights / torches. Of those lights, the ones I find that I use most are my Fenix lights such as the Fenix 2 x AA L2D (now replaced by the E25) and the Fenix CR123 powered TK30 (now replaced by the TK60), a real blaster of a flashlight! I can usually get by every shift with just these two lights; L2D for regular tasks and TK30 for search and rescue and tracking. These two lights have provided me years of reliable service. So my experience with Fenix lights made me curious about their headlamps. So along comes the Fenix HP25 Headlamp. It had both a flood light and a spot light that I liked so much with my Princeton Tec Apex. My Princeton Tec unfortunately, has had some issues as of late (bad switches and a broken pivot bracket) and I was in the market for a new headlamp and my very good experiences with Fenix made the Fenix HP25 a "no brainer". Well, it turned out Fenix was kind enough to allow me to run one through it's paces.
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INITIAL IMPRESSIONS
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The Fenix comes nicely packaged with four AA's included. Upon opening the package and assembling everything, I was pleased that the HP 25's pivot point(s) are on either side of the head lamp as opposed to the Princeton Tec Apex (which eventually broke) which is centered. The Fenix's pivot points seem much sturdier and the pivot point on the right side included the insertion point of the power cable. Assembly of the straps were easy as where the provided cable guides. I was happy to see that the straps were sufficiently big enough to accommodate my big head, a minor complaint I had with the Petzl; it was always a bit tight. The HP25 is comfortable but snug where it needs to be.

BATTERY COMPARTMENT

The Fenix HP25 is powered by four (4) AA's and is opened and closed by a threaded tension screw. The battery compartment is protected by reverse polarity protection to protect the light from people like me putting batteries in backwards. I really like the feel of the threaded screw over the 1/4 turn closure of the Princeton Tec Apex . While I never had issues with the Apex leaking, the screw type closure of the HP25 definitely seems to close the compartment more snugly and gives one more confidence that it isn't going to leak. Also of note is that the female portion on the battery carriage is brass as opposed to plastic on the apex pictured below.
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The battery carrier on the Fenix HP25 is well done and the batteries are not difficult to get in or out. I have to give the Princeton Tec Apex a small attaboy in this department because the carrier has holes in the opposite side of all four battery compartments allowing the batteries to be pushed out from behind instead of picking them out with fingernails (of which I have none). The Fenix only has holes in two, but this may give the carrier more strength in the long run, we'll see. All of the spring contacts on the HP25 are gold plated which was a nice touch. The carrier itself is hard plastic and the top cap is a rubberized polymer for sealing purposes. Placing them in the waterproof carrier and screwing it closed was easy with zero alignment issues. I like the over sized knob as opposed to the small coin-slot knob on the Apex. The Apex was sometimes difficult to turn closed without a coin or using the provided clip tool when my hands were sweaty. The large knob on the HP25 fixes that issue, well done Fenix.

The question of comfort often comes up with the 4 AA battery compartments. I may be a little more tolerant than others but I've never seen it as an issue while out in the sticks with either the Apex or the HP25. Heck, my 10 year old daughter wore it the other night with no complaints. I guess if you where laying in bed reading books with this light, it might be an issue riding on the back of your head but then again, wearing this light to read while laying in bed is kinda like killing a fly with a sledge hammer. It can be done but it's kinda over kill. If laying in bed and reading books is your thing, I'd recommend a AAA head lamp like the Petzl Tikka , Princeton Tec Fuel or even the Fenix HL10 . If you're the outdoor type, get the Fenix HP25 .
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POWER SWITCHES


The power switches on the Fenix HP25 are separate; one for the spot light and one for the flood light.
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One of my current problems with my Princeton Tec Apex are the switches. When new, they didn't provide much feedback and were a little tough to operate but they worked well for about 4 years. During those four years however, they progressively became tougher and tougher to activate. Currently. none of my kids nor my wife can activate them. Fortunately the switches on the Fenix HP25 seem a little better made. You activate either switch my holding them for approximately one (1) second to turn them on or off and quick taps when they are on to scroll through their various power modes. A three second depression of the spot side will activate the "SOS" mode. These switches provide good clicky feedback and hopefully, years of reliable service like the rest of my Fenix lights. The power switches on the Fenix HP25 are on the top of the light as opposed to the bottom on the Princeton Tec Apex . the Fenix also has a protruding plastic lip on top to protect the switches in the fully closed position.
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IN USE

Well this is where it all matters for most folks. Just how well does it work, how bright is it and how usable it it for various applications? Well, I've had it now for 2 weeks and I can report it works GREAT on all counts and brighter than any head lamp I've used or own. Thus far I've used it for night-time photography, herping and fish netting at night (sleeping fish are much easier to catch). My daughter likes to go out occasionally at night and collect fish from our local rivers for our huge aquarium and the HP25 worked great for this.

The flood light is the best I've used on ANY headlamp. It's unbelievably smooth throughout the beam and the run times are hard to believe:
Flood Turbo: 180 lumens / 4h 40min
Flood High: 90 lumens / 10h 30min
Flood Mid: 45 lumens / 24h
Flood Low: 4 lumens / 206h

In Spot Mode the Burn Times are advertised as:
Spot High: 180 lumens / 4h 30min
Spot Mid: 90 lumens / 10h 30min
Spot Low: 45 lumens / 24h
SOS: 90 lumens

Of course using the spot and flood together will significantly shorten these times.

I'm happy to report that I used the spot and flood separately and together occasionally for almost four hours three nights ago before I had to replace the batteries. To say I was impressed with the Fenix HP25 is an understatement. The run-time beats my Princeton Tec Apex by a long shot. I would feel confident going out for a night of herping (snake hunting) with two good sets of batteries (8 AA's), one set in the headlamp and one extra in the pocket. I use the flood light option for walking and looking 90% of the time and switch on the spot temporarily to look into crevices/caves and up onto rock faces of rock ledges or road cuts. So in short, like I discovered with my Princeton Tec Apex, to make a good herping light, you need a flood AND spot light. The Fenix HP25 has both, they're both BRIGHT and they're both smooth with very little artifacts. I may have found my perfect herping light with the HP25.

While doing macro photography at night, a low level flood light is desirable for focus assist to leave your hands fee and my Princeton Tec Apex headlamp worked good for this. One variable is the power that is needed for focusing. This mainly depends on the distance from the subject to the camera sensor. Fortunately, the HP25 has four different power settings and has worked great for night-time photography. To all the photographers out there, if you haven't invested in a good headlamp yet, do it now! You'll wonder how you ever got by without one at night or in low light situations. The advantage of LED's of incandescents is that LED's provide a much "whiter" light than the yellow hue of the old incandescents. LED quality varies however, some cheaper ones giving off a blue tinge and some giving off a yellow tinge. The aim is pure white in most cases and the HP25 with it's Two Cree XP-E R4 LED's creates a very nice almost pure white with barely any perceptible yellow for photography purposes.

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BEAM SHOTS AND TESTS

Stay tuned. I'm going out in the southeast US for some night-time herping, photography and hiking. I think that will make better beam shots than against a white wall :) ...they're coming.

CONCLUSION

If haven't figured it out yet, I think Fenix has a winner with the HP25. For the outdoorsman, the fisherman, the hunter, the herper , photographer, caver, hiker or camper, you'd be hard pressed to find a better light in this price range; heck at any price range. This is just one awesome BRIGHT headlamp with great run-time. Fenix must read the various forums and pick up on things that people have liked and disliked about headlamps because they seemed to really have nailed this one. It's spot light has a heck of a throw for a headlamp; more than sufficient for most outdoor activities. The flood light like previously stated is the best I've used. It's dang near perfect in my book for walking around, hiking, working at night, and herping. The Princeton Tec Apex (Albeit an older model) used to be my favorite. The Fenix HP25 has now taken that crown. This is one great light.... It will be getting LOTS of use. Fenix continues the tradition of being one of the best bang for your buck lights on the market.
Original Review: http://centavogear.blogspot.com/2013/06 ... -soon.html

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AndyO'Connor
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Re: Fenix HP25 Review..

Post by AndyO'Connor » July 2nd, 2013, 1:45 pm

Awesome review, very thorough. Any chance you can resize the images? I don't want to sound whiny, but my resolution is set at 1280x1024 on an 18" monitor and your pics were still nearly double wide and it took me awhile to read your review until I copy and pasted it into a notepad.

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justinm
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Re: Fenix HP25 Review..

Post by justinm » July 2nd, 2013, 2:03 pm

I wish this had come a little sooner... I just bought a Zebralight, that I like but this is insane brightness.

Rman
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Re: Fenix HP25 Review..

Post by Rman » July 2nd, 2013, 4:06 pm

Placing order now. Thanks!

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infidel
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Re: Fenix HP25 Review..

Post by infidel » July 2nd, 2013, 9:50 pm

AndyO'Connor wrote:Awesome review, very thorough. Any chance you can resize the images? I don't want to sound whiny, but my resolution is set at 1280x1024 on an 18" monitor and your pics were still nearly double wide and it took me awhile to read your review until I copy and pasted it into a notepad.
As per your request sir...it was kinda large; not whiny at all.. :)

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Jeroen Speybroeck
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Re: Fenix HP25 Review..

Post by Jeroen Speybroeck » July 3rd, 2013, 5:41 am

Thanks for that! Going to look into this.

hellihooks
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Re: Fenix HP25 Review..

Post by hellihooks » July 3rd, 2013, 7:44 am

Rather than 2 lights (spot/flood) my fennix hp-11 has one light (spot) with a flip down diffuser lens. 3 intensity settings... 277 lumens max spotlight ROCKS. For like $50 I'm VERY happy with my Fennix... :thumb: jim

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Martti Niskanen
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Re: Fenix HP25 Review..

Post by Martti Niskanen » July 3rd, 2013, 9:19 am

Great review. Much appreciated. I'd be very happy to see more reviews like this.

AsydaBass
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Re: Fenix HP25 Review..

Post by AsydaBass » July 5th, 2013, 11:35 am

It looks like a decent light with many uses, but I find the 360 lumens advertisement misleading. While yes, using the flood in turbo (180) and the spot in high (180) you are putting out a combined 360 lumens, you do not get a single light putting out 360. Personally, I prefer something that can go brighter than 180 lumens if necessary.

As Jim eluded to earlier, the HP-11 is a great alternative to the more expensive HP-25. The built in diffuser works great and the light is much brighter with a 277 lumen spot or flood light for an advertised 3hr 51 min. High mode also comes in with 133 lumens for 9.5 hours! The construction of the unit is almost exactly the same as the HP-25.

Different lights for different people, of course; I'm just throwing in my two cents on this headlamp and adding an alternative for folks to compare with.

-Don
www.RainforestDon.com

hellihooks
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Re: Fenix HP25 Review..

Post by hellihooks » July 6th, 2013, 12:14 pm

Don,
I see you're in Costa Rica... ever run into a guy named Jim Stout? Used to work at the OK Zoo, and years before that owned Fontana reptile in So Cal.
I stopped by the zoo, trying to find him, several years ago and they said he had moved to CR. thx... jim

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regalringneck
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: Fenix ??..

Post by regalringneck » July 7th, 2013, 10:25 am

... nice lights 4sure, i recently bought a TK45 and was delighted w/it for a few weeks ... until it suddenly quit & i discovered to my horror one or more of the best alky batteries (which an unnamed buddy tode me to use) coppertops, oozed goo all over its innards ... so do these hi-powered lites have a tendency to do this to batteries? Anyone have an rx for removing the junk?

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Norman D
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Re: Fenix HP25 Review..

Post by Norman D » July 7th, 2013, 10:47 am

regalringneck wrote:... until it suddenly quit & i discovered to my horror one or more of the best alky batteries (which an unnamed buddy tode me to use) coppertops, oozed goo all over its innards ... so do these hi-powered lites have a tendency to do this to batteries? Anyone have an rx for removing the junk?
Email Fenix if you need a replacement battery holder. They have excellent customer service and sent me a replacement plastic battery holder without any charges.

As for removing the battery acid, use some baking soda and water (preferably filtered/distilled water) and soak it for a bit. Then scrub it off. It is important to get the battery acid off because it never stops eating at the metal unless you neutralize it.

I use good quality rechargeable NiMH batteries (Maha Powerex or Sanyo Eneloop - search batteries in the photo forum) now and don't have that problem that I did with the alkaline coppertops.

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Josh Holbrook
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Re: Fenix HP25 Review..

Post by Josh Holbrook » December 20th, 2013, 7:04 pm

Great and thorough review, to follow up on this, especially Don's comments, I'd also recommend the new HP15: http://fieldventures.wordpress.com/2013 ... enix-hp25/

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Chaitanya
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Re: Fenix HP25 Review..

Post by Chaitanya » December 21st, 2013, 9:12 am

excellent review, I am going to cancel my order for Petzl headset for these.

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BillMcGighan
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Re: Fenix HP25 Review..

Post by BillMcGighan » July 26th, 2014, 11:21 am

I still use the fenix HP10 and am long overdue for an upgrade, probably HP15. (Josh H spends so much time night herping that I value his opinion. I did notice, however, that he is slowly acquiring elliptical pupils!)


Snooping around the internet and comparing cost/lumens, have any of you fine folks tried the "WindFire® 1800 Lumens"?
The cost/lumen ratio looks great, but I'd have to examine it physically for durability before I'd get one.


Also, just as an aside, I generally carry 3 sources of light here in the mountains, and one that has become a convenient backup is a 150 lumen Coleman flashlight from walmart for ~ $20 (US) that fits in your pocket or camera case.

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Tim Borski
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Re: Fenix HP25 Review..

Post by Tim Borski » July 27th, 2014, 7:32 am

I have a few HP 10's, 11's and 25's...how did I miss the 15?! I must've slept in that day. :x Like Helli, my favorite is the HP 11. The flip down diffuser is a great addition for photographing herps in the field. Especially if you're an impatient photographer of my non-caliber. My son however, swears by the HP25 and absolutely loves it. It doesn't have the lumens of the 11, but his eyes are better than mine.

If I never upgrade from the 11, my feelings won't be hurt. 8-)

Tim

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Gluesenkamp
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Re: Fenix HP25 Review..

Post by Gluesenkamp » July 30th, 2014, 12:01 pm

I have been very impressed with the Fenix HP25. Damned good light for caving and herping (although not waterproof so I can't take it in many caves). I splurged on some high mAh Li-ion batteries. Definitely worth it. I just charged my batteries for the second time in six months. Alkaline batteries are hardly worth the bother with high-output lights that you tend to use for hours on end and the less you have to open your battery case, the better.

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