Fenix C7 | Expert Review by Koen van der Jagt
The new Fenix C7 is made for workers hands and can easily handle its own. Does this light offer more in this already overcrowded middle class? Time to figure out!
My first impressions:
The C7 is noticeably larger and feels heavier than other lights in the same class (Fenix PD36TAC, for instance). This is not an issue if you are a maintenance mechanic and are used to heavier tools. Its round shapes are striking, the C7 does not look as 'tough' as its brothers; without a body clip the light will not stay in place if the surface is not level. Thanks to the large head you have enough grip over the light. The most striking option is the strong magnet in the battery lid that ensures you can work handsfree in most cases. The large head of the light is enhanced with a deep, smooth reflector which means that the C7 should reach really far. We will definitely check this! Another striking detail: a rubber switch, most models are enhanced with a steel switch. Construction quality and finish are great.
When and how:
The C7 comes in handy during maintenance and surveillance work. The light has enough power to light up larger objects and has an above-average reach. However, while working inside the light can also definitely come in handy, especially because you can 'stick' it to surfaces with the magnet. The lowest light mode is quite bright and the beam is relatively focused. This means that there is a risk of 'overexposure' at close range. Also great to keep close in the car to check the oil. Enough options as long as you take the magnet into account: it is quite powerful so you need to be careful with keys, (credit)cards and such. As such it is better to attach the C7 to your clothing, instead of putting it in your pocket.
How is the C7 in terms of controls and comfort:
The C7 is a little heavier but it doesn't wear me out when I hold it for a longer period of time. The magnet is great, especially when working in and around the house or for maintenance tasks. Charging the light is easy, but the rubber cover of the USB-C port doesn't close off properly. Pressing it firmly helps! The switch is at the same height as the cover of the charging port. As such you sometimes hit the wrong rubber, especially when it is really dark out. The switch contains a tiny light to check the battery status: a useful option.
The C7 has the famous one-button control option you often see on Fenix lights: press it a long time to turn it on and off, short to switch between the five light modes. The C7 has a memory mode and two additional modes for emergency situations: stroboscope and SOS. You activate these modes by pressing the button approx. 2 seconds. No memory flash and blinking mode; the light will always start with the stroboscope mode and via a short click you can switch between the two. You lock the light by double-clicking (electronically) or loosening the battery cap (my favourite way). A really low light mode is missing, but other than that there is nothing wrong with the controls. You don't have to practice it.
This is what I love about the C7:
The light intensity and the reach are great. The magnet is also great when you often need both hands while working around the house or during maintenance tasks.
This could be better:
The control button is often a little difficult to find and the rubber USB-cover needs to be firmly pressed to make sure the light is water and dustproof. The concentrated beam makes the light less suited for illuminating objects up close.
Value for money?
I think the C7 is fairly priced. For not a whole lot of money you receive a rechargeable and solid light with a great output. And since no compromises were made in terms of (construction)quality I think the C7 definitely offers a lot of value for money.
Good light for surveillance, DIY tasks or in your car or any other vehicle. Using the light is easy but finding the switch can sometimes be tricky. Finish and overall quality is great. The magnet is incredibly practical as long as you take into account the material and devices that might be affected by it.
Not only the light, the built-in magnet can also help you find the screw you dropped!
Last, but not least. The beamshots:
The first location is behind a warehouse. The C7 has a clear 'throw' which you can see when you look at the bright and concentrated hotspot. Great for surveillance work and therefore also great to light up your surroundings during maintenance tasks. The low light mode already produces quite a lot of light.
A picture while holding the C7. In the front you see an additional ring, it is the result of the combination of a deep reflector and the LED light used. A blemish on the light profile, but not a problem in practice.
Because there are multiple Fenix lights in this class with the same output (the Fenix TK16 V2.0 and the Fenix PD36TAC) this asks for a comparison. The location is a road alongside a river dike with a bend and trees located approx. 150 metres away. The output is the same for all lights but the reflector and head of the light determine where most light ends up.
Koen van der Jagt
Ever since he could walk Koen has been interested in lights, wires and batteries. As a child he was always working with dyno torches, bike lights and electrical boxes. The krypton and halogen lights were replaced by LED lights. A couple of years ago he discovered the ‘professional’ stuff. His first brands were Led Lenser and Fenix. Photography is also one of his hobbies. In addition to nature and meteorology Koen loves to show others what a light can do and what its beam looks like at night. Koen’s reviews can often be found on forums such as candlepowerforums.com and taschenlampen-forum.de. Throughout the years Koen has collected lights in practically any category: from small and compact to enormous powerhouses.