Sofirn D25LR "77" rechargeable headlamp. 500 lumens, 88 ANSI metres. Night vision at its best. Customer reviews
No, these aren't just any old LEDs – you're looking at the premium Luminus SST20 DR 660nm deep red emitter and the extraordinary Samsung LH351D 90 CRI neutral white chip. Why should you care? Well...
First of all, red light is catching on in a big way among night-warriors and it's all to do with our ability to see in the dark. As you know, the moment we are exposed to white light we lose our "night vision" for a few critical minutes. However sailers, pilots, astronomers and others have been using red light for many years to see what they are doing while maintaining their night vision.
Many animals and birds see better than us in the dark, but they appear not to see red light, which gives us a useful advantage at night. And some people say mozzies are not drawn to red light, although others say the opposite... There's even some hanna hanna about red light helping you sleep and overcoming declining eyesight...
Unfortunately, putting a red filter over a white light is always disappointing. Filters block every frequency of light except their own colour, so what gets through a red filter is... not very much... and it's not a pure colour. Fortunately, powerful LEDs are available that produce specific frequencies of light – like 660 nanometers, which is a gorgeous deep red.
Of course red light isn't the answer to every lighting situation – for one thing, you can't see other colours in red light – so we still need white light. And, ideally, not just any white light, but one with a high colour-rendering index (CRI) so you can see colours accurately, like the colour of the meat on your braai...
With a headlamp you'll want both the red and white light to be delivered in smooth fat beams, like a car headlight rather than a spotlight, and with a choice of brightness levels from very low – just enough to move around without stepping on the cat – up to an avalanche of light for moving rapidly through the night.
Well, say hello to the D25LR "77".
I normally give names to all my torches, headlamps and lanterns, but my first consignment of the D25LR came from the factory with "77outdoor" printed on it – I have no idea why. The second batch were not printed but by then the number "77" had stuck...
The "77" is powered by the world's most popular size of rechargeable lithium ion (Li-Ion) battery, the 18650, which – depending on the capacity – can keep it going for a couple of hours at full power and twice as long if you turn it down a notch, while on the lowest level I expect it to run for days.
The battery is charged inside the headlamp via a concealed micro-USB port, so you can charge it with (older) cellphone chargers, and it's also supplied with a charging cable to connect to any powered USB-A port like the one in your car or on those new multi-plugs that are sold in hardware stores. In other words, you can charge it anywhere!
The glow-in-the-dark switch is easy to find, hard to activate accidentally, and provides access to both LEDs – a click turns on the white light while a longer press triggers the red (you can't use both red and white at the same time). Once on, pressing the switch rotates that specific LED through four brightness levels until you let go, and it returns to your chosen level when you turn it off and on. Simple and effective!
The "77" is IPX-6 water resistant, to shrug off a highveld storm, and it's impact resistant so it's ready for adventure. It comes with the familiar around-the-head headstrap with a nylon clip so you can swivel the light up and down or clip the lamp out of the headstrap if you need a hand-held light. However, for more extreme conditions like running or boating you'll definitely want Sofirn's optional over-and-around sports headstrap, which holds the light very tightly to the strap, and to your head.
For an even more powerful headlamp, with both a neutral white flood and a 177 ANSI metre beam (but no red), have a look at the extraordinary HS20 NagApie. For a more affordable option, my HP300 Cyclops offers both a cool white 95 ANSI metre central beam and a pair of auxiliary white LEDs for almost shadowless close-up work like reading and DIY. And if you'd like a wonderful headlamp that also makes a superb pocket torch and work-light, look no further than my SP40 Hammer.
As with all my torches, I can give you a nice discount if you pay by EFT into our account, rather than checking out from this website where I am charged a commission – just drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll send you an invoice.