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  • Stephen Knight

Flashlight Review: Sofirn IF22A

Updated: Apr 17

Sofirn is a popular budget flashlight manufacturer. The IF22A is a fairly compact "thrower" flashlight for illuminating long distances, with internal USB-C charging. I'm quite a fan of Sofirn lights, with the D25LR being one of my favourite headlamps, and the SP31 V2.0 being an excellent light for non-strobe light trails. Sofirn are also the OEM for the excellent LightPainter - Ryu's Lightworks from Light Painting Paradise.


Sofirn IF22A is a compact thrower flashlight
The Sofirn IF22A is a compact thrower flashlight

Disclaimer


The Sofirn IF22A was sent to me for review. All links are non-affiliate.

This review is written from the perspective of a flashlight enthusiast and night/light painting photographer.


Construction


The Sofirn IF22A is a fairly compact "thrower" flashlight, which uses 21700 Li-ion batteries, and has internal charging. The light is 127mm in length, with a tube diameter of 28mm, and head diameter of 42mm. The head diameter is too large to be compatible with commercial light painting systems, making this light only suitable for illumination side of light painting/night photography. The light comes with an (optional) Sofirn branded unprotected 21700 5000mAh Li-ion battery, 18650 tube adapter, USB-A to USB-C charging cable, lanyard, instructions, and spare O-rings. As Li-ion batteries are currently in short supply, make sure you order with the included battery!


As expected from Sofirn, build quality is pretty good considering the budget price. At the time of writing the light was retailing at approx. US$44.


The light uses a Luminus SFT40 LED emitter, in a TIR optic, which differentiates it from the reflector based IF22. A side switch is used for user interface, and the USB-C input (with plug) is placed on the opposite side.


The USB-C charging was relatively fast, charging the 5000mAh battery in 2.5 hours. Charge terminated correctly at 4.19V. Personally, I still prefer to charge in dedicated chargers with voltage readout. The indicator on the switch displays the charging, or battery charge status. The IF22A can also act as a powerbank in an emergency with an appropriate cable, though is not particularly fast.


Sofirn IF22A packaging
Sofirn IF22A packaging

Sofirn IF22A accessories (battery is inside the flashlight)
Sofirn IF22A accessories (battery is inside the flashlight)

Sofirn IF22A with side clip
Sofirn IF22A with side clip

The Sofirn IF22A uses a 21700 Li-ion battery
The Sofirn IF22A uses a 21700 Li-ion battery

The Sofirn IF22A has USB-C charging
The Sofirn IF22A has USB-C charging

Size comparison - Sofirn IF22A and Convoy C8+
Size comparison - Sofirn IF22A and Convoy C8+


User Interface


The Sofirn IF22A has a single side switch, which is comfortable to use.


The user interface has an increasingly common single click for on and off (with last mode memory), and hold to cycle through brightness settings (ramping or low>med>high). Whilst ramping allows the light to ramp up to Turbo, the stepped modes only go up to High mode in the mode cycle, and then requires a double click to access Turbo. I would prefer Turbo to be included in the main stepped mode cycle, but at least it can be accessed from off with a double click. Triple click from on or off takes you to strobe. Quadruple click from off enters or exits lockout mode, and quadruple click from on switches between stepped and ramping modes. Long hold from off enters moonlight mode.


Strobe is tricky to access, but as this light is not compatible with light painting systems, this is not an issue for this particular light. As with most lights from Sofirn - strobe is unfortunately alternating frequency. Please change to constant frequency!


The Sofirn IF22A uses a single side switch
The Sofirn IF22A uses a single side switch

Beam, optics, and runtime


The Sofirn IF22A uses a Luminus SFT40 LED emitter. The SFT40 is increasingly popular in throwy flashlights as the flat emitter surface results in both high lumens and throw., This is combined with a TIR optic, resulting in a bright pencil beam, and relatively wide and dim spill beam. Throw was estimated at approx. 110,000cd or 663m throw. For "real world" use, it can clearly illuminate humans or animals within a 300m range. Even after step-down, the throw is still adequate for most use cases. The beam profile is excellent for use as a general purpose thrower. For night/light painting photography, the light is good for illuminating distance subjects, but be aware that the spill beam will also light up the foreground. If you need a pencil beam with no/limited spill then consider the Convoy Z1 (with CULPM1.TG) zoom light, or considerably more expensive LEP lights.


The CCT is cool white at approximately 6500k. CRI is below 70CRI. Whilst high CRI has less of a use in throwy lights, it would be nice to have that option. Also, I find that whilst cool white is highly efficient and has the most throw, cool white light appears to reflect back slightly more than neutral or warm white, making the illuminated subject seem more hazy. Currently, if you need a high CRI and or warm/neutral white thrower, then options are somewhat limited to offerings from Convoy and Noctigon.


As usual for Luminus emitters, there is an increasingly green tint on lower modes, but this is only really noticeable in moonlight mode, and not a problem on higher modes. Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) was not visible on any mode.


The light has 5 brightness modes claimed to be 1lm, 30lm, 320lm, 1000lm, and 2100lm. I measured 1lm, 60lm, 250lm, 850lm, and 1800lm at 30secs. The light uses Sofirn's Advanced Temperature Regulation (ATR). Turbo mode sustained more than 1700lm for 2 minutes where the light stepped down to 530lm. The brightness then gradually decreased, with a useable runtime of of 2hr 55mins hours. High mode sustained more than 800lm for 5 minutes where the light also stepped down to 530lm, gradually decreasing, with a useable runtime of 3hr 20mins.

Sofirn IF22A beam profile
Sofirn IF22A beam profile
Sofirn IF22A outdoor beam shot
Sofirn IF22A outdoor beam shot - approx. 100m

Sofirn IF22A beam shot
Sofirn IF22A beam shot 2

Conclusion


Things Iiked:

  • Good value for money.

  • Good size/throw ratio - can illuminate more than 600m!

  • Internal USB-C charging and included 21700 battery (optional).

  • Easy to use user interface.

  • Good range of included accessories.

  • Mechanical lockout

  • Powerbank functionality (though relatively slow).

Things I didn't like:

  • Only cool white <70CRI available.

  • Turbo is not in main stepped mode cycle.

  • Strobe is alternating frequency.

The Sofirn IF22A is a good value for money, compact, and throwy flashlight. It is practical for night hikes, compact search light, night boating/fishing (river/lakes), and for non-tactical security use.


For night/long exposure photography, use cases are limited to longer distance illumination where a foreground spill beam, low CRI, and cool white output is not an issue.


Product Link (Australia) 25% off with code: H2WQTEFW

Product Link (Rest of World).


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