Forum Index » GEAR » Zebralight H52 vs Black Diamond Storm


Display Avatars Sort By:
christopher smead
(hamsterfish) - MLife

Locale: hamsterfish
Zebralight H52 vs Black Diamond Storm on 11/15/2013 01:34:04 MST Print View

One non-ultralight Item I still carry is the BD Storm.
BD claims 50 hours burn time in spot mode, or 125 hours in flood mode.
Are these numbers realistic? The spot is 100 lumens...for 50 hours?


On the other hand I recently relieved my Zebralight H52. Lighter, only 1 battery, brighter, but... The burn time specs are a lot less:

High: H1 280 Lm (0.9 hrs) or H2 172 Lm (1.7 hrs) / 108 Lm (3 hrs)
Medium: M1 50 Lm (7.5 hrs) or M2 25 Lm (12 hrs) / 12 Lm (27 hrs)


I feel like I'm not comparing apples to apples here...
Please share some wisdom on this if you know what's up.

Matt Dirksen
(NamelessWay) - MLife

Locale: Mid Atlantic
Re: Zebralight H52 vs Black Diamond Storm on 11/15/2013 05:03:42 MST Print View

Probably not quite the wisdom you are looking for, but I always go over to candlepowerforums to seek in-depth info about lighting. Here is a link to a review of the storm from a couple years ago: http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?314865-Black-Diamond-Storm-review-gt-Waterproof-100-lumens

I would imagine there are others in that forum that might have been wondering the exact same thing.

Cheers,

Matt

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Zebralight H52 vs Black Diamond Storm on 11/15/2013 06:38:21 MST Print View

I never use the brightest setting on the zebralite. You would never need it except for rescue purposes or doing a quick distant scan.

I do most of my hiking using the two lowest settings. I read at the lowest setting.

So I get a lot of life off of one battery.

I find the Zebra to a be a more convenient and flexible light to carry around.

Patrick M.
(patrat) - M
The BD does not actually keep running on "high" on 11/15/2013 10:08:18 MST Print View

If you look in the BD instructions, they show the throw distance of light versus time on high and low. After 30 minutes the range on high has decreased from 70 meters down to 57 meters, and at 10 hours its about the same light as the low setting.

With fresh batteries, the light will run for 50 hours before being completely dead on high. 200 hours before completely dead on low.

Also, the 4x AAA batteries weigh 48g. Total weight 110g.

The H52 (assume standard model)is rated differently. Their ratings are how long the light will maintain a light output level before stepping down in power. So, you get a full 3 hours at 116 lumens (closest to BD light high level) before it even starts to dim. The single eneloop AA battery weighs only 12 grams. With single battery and headband you are at 80grams with the H52.

I have the H51, now obsolete. In the true dark, I can hike with the L1, which is 2.5 lumens. The similar level on the H52 (2.9 lumens) will run for 4 days, or about 100 hours, on 1 battery.

So, BD storm vs H52: At 0 hours, 3 hours the H52 is brighter. At 50 hours, maybe about the same. On a usable low, both run about 100 hours. The H52 is smaller and lighter by 30 grams. You can either bank the weight loss, or pack and extra 2 batteries for the H52. The zebralight lamps are truly great. The multiple AAA form factor is inefficient, lazy engineering. The single AA employs more expensive electronics to wring more power out of the cell, not to mention that AA batteries pack alot more juice for size and weight than a AAA.

Finally, you can put in some higher capacity lithium 14500 cells into the zebralight to really extend runtime or brightness. The glow in the dark headband for the zebralight is a nice touch too, I can typically see it for a few hours after going to bed.

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Zebralight H52 vs Black Diamond Storm on 11/15/2013 11:25:18 MST Print View

I own both of these lights and I know that you can't always believe what you read with the specs. I have a couple of Zebralights and a variety of other headlamps and although I prefer the Zebralight for build quality, the Storm is probably a better light for backpacking use although it's heavier.

Now I know that will upset a lot of Zebralight fans but here's what I base this on.

I recently did a test of my H52W headlamp and my Storm. I did an outside "spot light" test with both lights on high (both lights using rechargeable Eneloops) and the light illumination with both lights was identical to my eye. So much for the 280 lm vs 100 lm, my eyes couldn't see a difference and the beam pattern was very similar (the Zebralight beam is a bit cleaner but not noticeably brighter). I was illuminating a distant tree and did a trail walk illumination and the difference between the lights wasn't noticeable.

I used my LUX meter to measure the output of these lights on high and they are virtually the same.

I also set up both lights in front of my video camera and timed the output, measuring the output at intervals with my LUX meter. I set the Zebralight on level M1 which is 50 lm. That is what I consider a reasonable output for trail walking. I set the Storm to be a similar brightness using my LUX meter to come as close as possible to the brightness of the Zebralights M1 setting (the Storm has infinite variability... nice feature!).

The Zebralight was close to the manufacturer's specs and lasted 6.5 hours at a constant (regulated) output (manufacturer claims 7.5 but my batteries weren't brand new), and then dropped down to the next level. The Storm outlasted the Zebralight considerably (I gave up after around 10 hours) but the light output started to diminish slightly and steadily after about 4-5 hours of consistent output. It didn't diminish that much (I estimated about a 10 lumen drop in the Storms output after 10 hours, so not bad!) Note: LUX to lumen conversion is not all that accurate but the LUX drop is easily measurable)

So when you figure that you get trail walking brightness for much longer than the Zebralight's, and can extend that with infinitely variable output and a spot beam that is equal to the Zebralight, I think the Storm is probably a superior back-country light... so why don't I carry it?

I like the clean light output of the Zebralights and the build quality is top notch (I like metal lights!). The AA form factor works better for me as I only have to carry one type of extra battery when carrying my GPS. I can also put a 14500 Lithium battery in the Zebralight and boost the output to 500 lm which is amazing! The biggest advantage in my mind is that the Zebralight can be removed from the headlight band and used as a normal flashlight. A real bonus is that the Zebralight headlight comes with a pocket clip that works really nicely on my belt to allow the Zebralight to be easily used at waist level.

Bottom line, don't believe the specs!

Edited by skopeo on 11/15/2013 11:27:34 MST.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Zebralight H52 vs Black Diamond Storm on 11/15/2013 11:33:33 MST Print View

Mike,
"A real bonus is that the Zebralight headlight comes with a pocket clip that works really nicely on my belt to allow the Zebralight to be easily used at waist level."

How do you adjust the light to shine further up the trail or closer to your feet?

Or is the beam pattern wide enough that it does OK pointing straight out?

And, thanks for the write-up.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Re: Zebralight H52 vs Black Diamond Storm on 11/15/2013 11:34:16 MST Print View

one thing to add to the above of what Mike said for the "average" backpacker

is to consider that BD is generally considered to have pretty good warranty service

and if you buy from MEC (or somewhere similar) which carries them then you get a lifetime warranty exchange, no questions asked

this is not insignificant for electronics, particular lights that can run hot ...

one reads about headlamp failures all the time at those dedicated forums

;)

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Zebralight H52 vs Black Diamond Storm on 11/15/2013 12:03:52 MST Print View

@Greg - the Zebralight has an 80 degree spill (12 degree hotspot), which at 50 lm is good for moderate trails at walking speed. If I need to see something that is up or down I just tip it for a second or bump the brightness up a notch. That works for me. The nice thing about the Zebralight is that the 80 degree beam is actually fairly bright right out to the edges of the beam which is one of the reasons I mention that I like the beam quality of the Zebralights. If you are running, it wouldn't work as well.

>> one reads about headlamp failures all the time at those dedicated forums <<

I have managed to kill my Princeton TEC EOS and my Black Diamond Spot in a fairly short period of time (switch failed on the EOS and the Spot broke in a bunch of ways (housing etc). Unfortunately, I couldn't find the receipt for the purchase of the Spot or it would have gone back to MEC. The problem with the warranty idea is that I just want something that "won't" fail, so once one light fails, you couldn't give me another one of the same model to use in the back-country. I like the Zebralights because they "seem" very well made and are metal. The simple silcone light holder seems fool-proof to me... no ratchet to break, and I like the glow in the dark holder that only cost me $3!)

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Re: Zebralight H52 vs Black Diamond Storm on 11/15/2013 12:20:19 MST Print View

you actually dont need the receipt for MEC ... just give em yr member/phone number if you bought it under that ...

as to zebralights ... theres been threads of failures and various polls on the forums in the past ... now this isnt a knock against those lights as ANY headlamp can fail

the may use metal, but the electronic inside can go kaput like anything else

i personally like the fact that i can walk into a store and show em a non-working light, and theyll replace or credit it, so i can walk out with something that works ... rather than wait weeks without a headlamp

;)

A D
(Wenty)
Perceived brightness on 11/15/2013 13:48:19 MST Print View

It takes 4 times as many lumens to appear twice as bright, so 280 lumens vs 100 lumens, assuming that the beam of both lights was identical, wouldn't appear three tines as bright.
It also depends on the cell you're using in the zebralight. Zebralight have said that to achieve their high lumen levels, you need to use either a lithium cell or a good NImh cell. Alkaline doesn't cut it and neither does the super heavy duty batteries.

I was surprised to read that the lux for both lights was the same. Very interesting, was it the spot beam of the Storm headlamp?

Regarding the 100 lumens for 50 hours, that would have to be an unregulated burn time. I don't think even the massive Zebra H600 series can pull that kind of regulated burn time, certainly not from Alkaline AAA batteries.
Manufacturers like Petzl, Blackdiamond and Princeton Tec seem to quote unregulated burn time (50 hours, or 100+ for some older models) which is a bit disingenuous imo because you'd change the batteries far before 50 hours, due to the light only being a feeble glow by that point.

Hope this helps.

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Zebralight H52 vs Black Diamond Storm on 11/15/2013 15:09:23 MST Print View

>> I was surprised to read that the lux for both lights was the same. Very interesting, was it the spot beam of the Storm headlamp? <<

I measured the spot beam.

Since lux measures the intensity of the light on an area, it's very difficult to get a true comparison between lights as their beam patterns are very different (hot spot vs floody beams over an area). For my tests I just measured the hot spot at a very close range (the Storm surprised me as well as I expected it to be much lower than the Zebralight). Since I was only using this to test how much the light diminished over time, it was effective enough to show the drop in brightness as the batteries died. What was very apparent is that the better quality lights (my Zebralight and Fenix lights) maintain a very steady brightness over the test time and even though the Storm is partially regulated, it dropped slightly over time (but not a huge amount, but it definitely degraded over time). I suspect this is because the circuitry in the higher quality lights is a little better.

Edited by skopeo on 11/15/2013 15:10:00 MST.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Zebralight H52 vs Black Diamond Storm on 11/15/2013 16:32:38 MST Print View

"Storm is partially regulated"

Yes, it starts with four AAA batteries, which would be around 6 volts, and it regulates the voltage down to what drives the LED, which is normally around 3 or so volts.

Zebralight, in contrast, starts with a single AA battery, which would be around 1.5 volts, and it boosts the voltage up to what drives the LED.

Those two circuits are rather different, so they get different efficiencies, and that relates to the burn time for a constant light.

--B.G.--

M B
(livingontheroad) - M
Or.. on 11/15/2013 16:40:46 MST Print View

What is wrong with the H602 with the LI battery?

Light Output (runtimes)

High: H1 1090 Lm (PID, approx 2 hr) or H2 660 Lm (PID, approx 2.5 hrs) / 350 Lm (3.9 hrs) / 160 Lm (11 hrs)
Medium: M1 70 Lm (30 hrs) or M2 32 Lm (66 hrs) / 12 Lm (172 hrs)

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
OR... on 11/15/2013 17:57:34 MST Print View

>> What is wrong with the H602 with the LI battery? <<

Nothing wrong with the H602, if that's the kind of light you want for backpacking.

From my perspective, I don't want a "floody" beam for trail walking (some people prefer them). The 18650 batteries are quite large and the headlight is heavy. The H602 is a flood beam which means no center hot spot for distant illumination of objects. The H600 Mk II has a hotspot, wide beam combo if you want a light that runs on an 18650 Lithium battery that has a decent throw as well.

My preference is for a light that takes a standard battery size and doesn't "require" rechargeable batteries. The nice thing about the H52 AA lights is that they run on AA batteries but also run on high output 14500 lithium rechargebles as well.

Edited by skopeo on 11/15/2013 17:58:06 MST.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Or.. on 11/15/2013 18:00:23 MST Print View

"What is wrong with the H602 with the LI battery?"

That is another new specialized battery, and I would have to purchase another new charger. Those batteries are new and unusual enough that you would almost never find them for purchase anyplace. I was thinking of the situation out on a long trail, and if the battery failed dead. In contrast, in the AA package, you can always find alkaline, lithium, rechargeable, etc., and they sell them at every convenience store and gas station.

--B.G.--

Bily Ray
(rosyfinch) - M

Locale: the mountains
Re: Zebralight H52 vs Black Diamond Storm on 11/18/2013 15:43:17 MST Print View

Has anyone noticed that the BD Spot headlamp has gone from it's initial version of, I think, 70 lumens max to the latest version having 130 lumens max??? That's 30 more than the max 100 lumens of the BD Storm. Perhaps the Storm will be upgraded also in the near future.

Bill D.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Zebralight H52 vs Black Diamond Storm on 11/18/2013 16:43:46 MST Print View

I guess the biggest difference for me is that I find a single AA battery to be much more economical and simple than a bunch of AAA batteries. I can carry a spare AA and usually never have to worry about not having light when I need it.

The idea of having a light containing a bunch AAA batteries and then having to carry another bunch AAA spare batteries for backup doesn't seem as elegant, nor lightweight.

I have had my share of experience with that old concept and don't understand how BD and other companies still push the idea.

But, I won't go to the point of having to carry specialized batteries just to be elite.
I need to know that I can get my batteries at any point of commerce along the trail and not have to hitch to a specialty store just for batteries for my GD flashlight.

And I would think that people would realize that rechargeable is out of the question when hiking. I have a hard enough time trying to get my cell phone charged, let alone another stupid pain in the ass rechargeable device.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Zebralight H52 vs Black Diamond Storm on 11/18/2013 17:07:15 MST Print View

"And I would think that people would realize that rechargeable is out of the question when hiking."

Not really. Rechargeable AA batteries normally have slightly less voltage when new. If you can get rechargeables to last for the duration of your short trip, then they are practical. For a very long trip, they might not last, and that is when they get impractical. It just depends on how you use this stuff.

--B.G.--

Bily Ray
(rosyfinch) - M

Locale: the mountains
Re: Re: Zebralight H52 vs Black Diamond Storm on 11/18/2013 17:29:59 MST Print View

You think AAA batteries are 'specialized' ???
Er, last time I looked they are sold everywhere AA batteries are sold.

Anyway, my main criteria for a headlamp is color; not batteries types... The Spot and Storm come in bright red and orange... that's a must for me so I don't walk away and leave it sitting on a rock :)

Bill D.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Zebralight H52 vs Black Diamond Storm on 11/18/2013 17:33:33 MST Print View

Most AA batteries have about three times the energy of one AAA battery, so weightwise, they tend to be more efficient. Pricewise, AAA batteries cost almost as much as AA batteries, so they are not the best in that regard.

Remember thirty years ago when everything was powered by D or C batteries? When was the last time that you bought a flashlight or headlamp with those?

--B.G.--