Magicshine MJ-808 (P7) lamp from


Magicshine MJ-808 in action

Having been in the market for some new lights, mainly for biking (having been reasonably happy with a Mila in the cupboard for orienteering), discussion about the Lupine Tesla-like lights available from Deal Extreme (and others) on various forums, had me looking at importing the MJ-808 from Hong Kong.

However, it soon transpired that the same light was available in the UK, albeit slightly more expensively, but with the guarantee of UK service and fittings it seemed like great lights could be found cheaply in the UK. Being much brighter than the Mila of old, I decided that the light shouldn't be confined to the bike and would help light up the forests on forays night orienteering. But how did the light really fare when put through some of the toughest night orienteering around at Jukola?

Box ContentsWhen opening the Magicshine MJ-808 box from you can see straight away how far lighting has come over recent years in the switch from halogen bulbs to LEDs. The box which contains the light, batteries, charger and connections is half the size of the box you'd get with an old Mila or Silva headtorch. 

Taking it all out of the box the first thing you notice is the weight, or lack of it, the light unit is incredibly light! Weighing in at just over 100g, you'll hardly notice this thing on your head. This isn't to say that it is flimsy however, it is sturdily constructed and, after battering through the low visibility trees in Finland, shows no signs of any weakness.

The headstrap is basic, but does the job, and over the course of two and a half hours running at Jukola, along with a number of hours orienteering and running in recent months, it was found to be comfortable enough over that length of time. While there is the option of an extension cable allowing you to carry the battery in a backpack or pocket, the li-ion battery pack only weighs around 200g so is light enough to attach to the rear of the headstrap to comfortably carry the entire setup on your head.

This has been the setup I've adopted when using the headlamp for running, but having the extension cable allows for flexibility in carrying the battery in different ways depending on the activity. Switching the headlamp from the headstrap to use on either a bike handlebars, or the separately available helmet headstrap mount, is really quick and easy using the rubber O-rings provided, meaning that this is a much more versatile lamp than your standard headtorch. 

Powerwise the Magicshine MJ-808 light claims a maximum brightness of 900 lumens from the P7 white LED and has a stated runtime of 3 hours. While the claims of 900 lumens are possibly overstated (not that it matters, it is more than enough light!), the runtime is probably an underestimation as others have recorded up to 4 hours on the maximum setting. This is typically more than enough for the longest of night races faced in the UK and switching down to the medium setting of 500 lumens will prolong battery life and still provide enough light for most night orienteering in terrain. There are also a few of other settings, a low power setting of 200 lumens along with strobe (party!) and SOS modes.

At Jukola I started out on the high setting but switched to the medium setting after a while, it was providing more than enough light to read the map and see where I was going - the brightest setting is occasionally too bright when looking at the map! While the beam is perhaps narrower than other lights out there, such as the larger halogen headlamps of old, the spill is still good and the beam isn't so narrow as to disrupt your night orienteering style, plus the overall increase in brightness along with the white light quality more than makes up for it.

 MJ-808 in action from

If you're after a more technical review or discussion of the light Google will be your friend, while beam comparisons can be found on the MTBR website or this Russian website (see shot above, found under the sections 'Road dry', 'Road dry 2' and 'wall' as the Magicshine HA-III), but for the layperson looking for a great light upgrade for their night orienteering at a sensible price I wouldn't hesitate in recommending this.

Compared to others lining up on the start line of the tough night orienteering relays such as Tio-Mila or Jukola, there aren't going to be many lights better, and I'd be surprised if there are better alternatives available for under £100. Given these are available at a fraction of the price of comparable headtorches I'd pocket that saving and put it towards taking on Jukola 2011, or else pick up another couple of these bargain lights!

While the night orienteering season might be a while away, grab yourself a bargain from and pick up the bargain that is their £90 orienteering set.


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