It seems to me that in the world of Fenix, the “35’s” are pretty much the benchmark upon which all other flashlights are measured… until now. Enter the LD30. While my PD35v2 is still a great flashlight, comparing it to my new LD30 seems to be placing it out of its league. With the LD30’s 60% increase in lumens over the PD35v2 with what feels like a similar decrease in overall size and weight, the ’35 just feels kind of big and… elderly.
Now, I will say that a superficial comparison of the LD30’s 1600 lumen turbo mode to the PD35v2’s 1000 lumens may lead you to believe that the LD30 will simply blow the PD35v2 out of the water when clicked onto turbo. This would be an incorrect thought. Specifically, the PD35v2 uses a more focused beam pattern for a farther throw, whereas the LD30 has a wider spill. So, if you compare Fenix’s own numbers, the 1000 lumens of the PD35v2 will throw out to a maximum 820 foot distance, whereas the LD30’s 1600 lumens will throw out to an ironically shorter 673 foot distance. It must be born in mind, of course, that these two flashlights are designed for two different jobs, and so their throws and spills have been accordingly adjusted.
To that end, I have to very readily admit that the LD30’s 830 lumen high mode is of more real use to me than the PD35v2’s 350 lumen “high”— the PD35v2’s jump from a 350 lumen high to a 1000 lumen turbo just kind of baffles me. On the other hand, the LD30’s high hits a “cruising speed” at 800 lumens which finds exactly the sweet spot of light output that I appreciate. Good job Fenix engineers with that decision! For this reason, whereas my PD35v2 pretty much lives on turbo, my new LD30 stays on high.
In my life, the PD35v2 will still have its place as an outdoors flashlight: I may need to see what critters are rooting around on the other side of the campground and the longer (ie, more focused) beam will be of use in that regard. I could even see the PD35v2 mounted on a ranch rifle for after the sun goes down and a yipping coyote at 100 yards needs to dispatched before it gets into the barn. On the other hand, in terms of everyday carry, I find the wider beam of the LD30 to be much more useful in lighting up dark rooms and smaller backyards… and maybe even at home on a shotgun that will be used in an actual home defense scenario where lighting all the hiding spots of the immediately surrounding area is more important than worrying about what’s climbing up the opposite wall of a canyon.
Since unfortunately losing my PD25, I have taken to carrying my PD35v2 in my pocket, but that will change. Instead, the LD30 is now my Every Day Carry flashlight, and I’d have a hard time envisioning a better designed EDC than this. The body is compact and lightweight—it is certainly noticeable over the PD35v2—and the new reversible clip is awesome. In fact, the high carry elbow of this clip gives this LD30 much of the concealability that I loved about my previously ever-present PD25.
I have in the past espoused the PD25 as the ideal EDC light. It is still a great little flashlight, but the LD30 has eclipsed it as far as I’m concerned through its huge lumen increase paired with a relatively unnoticeable size increase. So, here we have an interesting review: a light that I feel has surpassed both the PD35v2 and the PD25! Is it possible to have the best of both worlds?
I think so.