Say hello to the Fenix HL-50 Headlamp.

Disclaimer: We received this Fenix HL-50 Headlamp free of charge from Fenix-Store.com in return for writing an unbiased review. Fenix-Store.com has in no way influenced this review or made any stipulations for the review content other than that we link back to this product on their website (here).

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get into it!

First off, here are the specs and features that we found most important:

  1. Fenix HL-50 Headlamp – Batteries

The HL-50 takes two different types of battery:

-Standard Ni-MH AA Battery
-CR123A Lithium Ion Battery

This is a great feature because AA batteries are cheaper, so you can keep them in the headlamp for use around the house, and then switch to the CR123A when you need to cut some weight for backpacking or camping. The CR123A batteries also give you a brighter light and a longer burn time than standard AA batteries, as well see below:

2. Fenix HL-50 Headlamp – Brightness

It has 4 brightness settings (which vary in lumens depending on the type of battery):

Low: 4 lumens for 150 hours (CR213A) & 3 lumens for 10 hours (AA).
Mid: 60 lumens for 9 hours 45 min. (CR213A) & 55 lumens for 6 hours 20 min (AA).
High: 170 lumens for 3 hours (CR213A) & 150 lumens for 2 hours (AA).
Burst: 365 lumens (CR213A) & 285 lumens (AA).

The specs for “burst’ mode do not give a burn time. This is probably because in burst mode you must continually hold the on/off button down. It’s meant for quickly illuminating an area with a large amount of light.

Taking a photograph of the different brightness levels proved nearly impossible, since our cameras automatically adjust exposure for ambient brightness, but the comparison below is meant to show the relative difference in brightness levels.

What we can say is that the lowest level brightness is perfect for waking up in the middle of the night and not blinding yourself or your tentmate with your headlamp. It’s just enough light to let you see what you’re doing. The brightest setting puts out significantly more light and is probably more than you’d need for normal headlamp usage. It’s nice to have the option though. We’d say the medium level is where you’re going to want to hang out most of the time.

Additionally, the “Burst” setting is incredibly bright. You don’t want to be looking at the LED bulb when you hit the burst mode, that’s for sure. It’s best use is for when you hear a creepy noise on the edge of your campsite and need to see clearly what it is and either scare the bejeezus out of it so that it runs away and never comes back or line it up and shoot to kill.

3. Fenix HL-50 Headlamp – Design

The HL-50 is not just a headlamp. It’s a miniature flashlight as well. As you can see in the image below, the light unit clips into an aluminum spring clamp on the headband. The clamp remains stationary but allows the light to pivot a full 180º vertically. The vertical pivot is not restricted by a hinge like you see on most other headlamps.

One concern raised by having the lamp unit detach from the headband is that it could fall out unexpectedly or at a very inconvenient time. Chances are that when you’re using a headlamp, your hands are otherwise occupied, so if the lamp were to fall out, you may not be able to recover it easily or quickly. Fenix addressed this by incorporating a safety ring that holds the lamp unit onto the headband when attached (see below).

We thought the spring clamp held the lamp securely enough to avoid this issue, but that could change with significant wear and tear. There’s also the question of whether the safety ring make having a detachable lamp worth it. To use the lamp as a handheld flashlight, you have to remove the battery cap in order to take off the safety ring. This is somewhat cumbersome, but all in all not a big deal. If you need to quickly switch to handheld mode, just take the headband off and hold it. Problem solved.

4. Fenix HL-50 Headlamp – Size

Using a CR123A battery, the HL-50 is a mere 2.5 inches long. With a standard AA battery and the extension tube, the length increases to 3.25 inches. The metal spring clamp on the headband mentioned above makes the packed shape a little awkward since it sticks out above and below the lamp unit; but since it sits flat comfortably on your forehead, distributing the pressure of the headband, we thought this was a fair trade off. It’s still fits nicely into a small side or front pocket on a backpack.

5. Fenix HL-50 Headlamp – Weight

We weighed the lamp unit without a battery because different batteries will have different weights. The HL-50 without the AA battery extension tube weighs only 1.09 oz. With the extension tube, it weighs 1.34 oz. The headband weighs 1.13 oz.

For reference, the CR123A we used weighed 0.56 oz. and the AA weighed 0.85 oz.

You can do the math for your preferred combination.

6. Fenix HL-50 Headlamp – Waterproof

Finally, the most impressive feature of the HL-50 is the fact that it is waterproof up to IPX-8 standards, which means it is completely submersible. Now, that does NOT mean that it can stay underwater indefinitely. We wouldn’t recommend using it on your next scuba diving trip. But if you were to drop it in a river and recover it pretty quickly, it would be just fine.

Fenix HL50 Headlamp

Our little jewel. Fenix HL50. Max 365 Lumens, neutral LED, runs up to 150 hours, operates on a CR123A battery or Ni-MH rechargeable AA battery, headlamp or handheld flashlight options, waterproof to 6.65 feet for 30 minutes, and more!http://www.fenix-store.com/fenix-hl50-led-headlamp/#flashlights #headlamps #fenix American Hiking Society Hiking Life Camping Camping CampingRoadTrip.com I love Camping RV Camping National Geographic Deer Hunter 2014 Hunting Kayaking Photography #photography PHOTOGRAPHY Professional Photographer Magazine Popular Photography Cycling Weekly Cyclingnews

Posted by Fenix Store on Monday, August 1, 2016