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Zebralight me choose
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Peter S
(prse) - MLife

Locale: Denmark
Zebralight me choose on 11/26/2013 06:28:50 MST Print View

I'm buying a new E+lite for my summer hiking.
I need another headlamp too, a brighter light for non-summer hiking.

Maybe the newest Black Diamond Gizmo is good enough, it weighs 58g, is dimmable and is cheap...but i don't mind spending more money if i can get better performance.

Naturally i've been eyeballing Zebralights.
I'm getting confused though, hard to compare the models just looking at specs.

I'm used to having red light, but as far as i understand, if i can get a low enough output, then i don't need red to preserve night vision.

For info, i have a backup light with me, so battery life doesn't have to be more than what i would need for a week of hiking in non-summer time.

I would like the light to be:

- good for reading in the tent without disturbing my hiking partner

- with a low enough lumen output to not keep myself awake all night when reading.

- good for camp chores

- good for a couple of hours of nightwalking for a week

- and hopefully lighter than a Black Diamon Spot (90g), otherwise the Spot looks quite versatile IMO.

Question: Why should i buy a zebralight instead of a Black Diamond Spot? It seem the Zebralights are all the rave... convince me please :-)...i'm easy to convince ;-)


Tom Lyons
(towaly) - F

Locale: Smoky Mtns.
4 Sevens Atom on 11/26/2013 08:13:30 MST Print View

I would have a look at the new 4 Sevens Atom, and the new 360 headlamp headband kit.
It has a very wide beam width that comes from having no reflector. This essentially eliminates the hot spot, so it is broad general lighting that does not have much distance throw at all. So, the "lumens output" appears less than the numbers would make you expect, because the light is all spread out over a wide area. But there would be enough distance for night walking on the high setting, and it would be very good for low light reading at close range on the low setting. It would not be good for looking at anything making a sound in the distance, because it will not throw the beam very far at all. It's a close range task light with no irritating hot spot, and that is its strong point. Close range is the key term here.
It costs less and is lighter than a Zebralight. And 4 Sevens has a 10 year warranty, and they have very good customer service located in the US.

I won't go into the Zebralight quality control problems, nor their customer service issues. If you buy a Zebralight, then buy it from a dealer who will take it back if there is a problem, because it's not too cool to have to send it to China and wait for 6 months for it to get back to you. Use the dealer for warranty issues, and that will help. Buy from a good dealer that will exchange or replace with no questions asked.

Edited by towaly on 11/26/2013 08:27:47 MST.

scree ride
H52 AA Headlamp Cool White on 11/26/2013 08:31:04 MST Print View

Price wise, they are not that much more money. Compared to other quality flashlights, the price is actually reasonable.
I have the H52 on order. I received an e-mail on the 21st, saying they will be shipped in 2 weeks. It will be my first.
While I read good reviews about other lights, the Zebralight receives constant praise.
I've read no complaints of failure. I've resisted buying one mainly because I don't feel I need all the features. The single AA seemed like the most practical. I prefer the cool white (daylight 6,500k) bulbs at home. A bright cool white does seem to effect my night blindness. Dimming does help. I don't know about red lights, I may try some red Saran Wrap. I've read dimming helps just as much. I read in the last ZebraLight thread that natural light helps illuminate the bumps a little more. Try a couple of different CFLs in your outside lights and see which you prefer. I prefer the "daylight" bulbs. The regular H52 seems to have just enough flood for the trail without sacrificing the beam strength.

I like that it's also a flashlight and I could clip it to my belt or a strap if desired. While their many choices can be confusing, it's not that difficult to narrow it down to suit your needs. To me picking the one I wanted was really easy, it was just eliminating all the others that was hard.
Now seems like the time to order, or be left wondering until they get the next batch in stock.

Paul Andronico
(Jakesandwich) - MLife

Locale: S.F. Bay Area
H52W on 11/26/2013 10:02:05 MST Print View

I am new to Zebralight, having picked up the new H52W (neutral color) on pre-order. I have used it camping and hiking, and overall love it as a backpacking headlight. Pros: Waterproof, great balance of flood/spot for general use, the low level makes red light unnecessary in my opinion, seems super solid and well made, can use single rechargeable AA, can clip to belt, pretty lightweight. Cons: The button functionality can be a little tricky, the strap/holder combo is less secure than I would like, and the light can bob up and down slightly when walking. I really like the neutral LED color, as things look very natural. I don't like the "white" light effect of the cool lamps. This is a personal preference.

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Zebralight me choose on 11/26/2013 12:55:21 MST Print View

I like my Zebralight H52W and it may be the best choice for you if you plan to use it for reading often. It will be much less harsh than the cool white light that you get with most of the more common headlamps you would buy from local retailers. The hot spot on the H52W is not as intense as the cool white version, so reading with it would be a bit better.

Since I'm not doing a lot of reading, I would probably prefer the H52 AA (cool white) as it's a bit more intense when used for night time trail walking (however, the H52 AA isn't available yet, but soon). The H52W AA is fine for trail walking too and actually does a better job at showing the trail dips and bumps than the cool white but it just seems less bright than my Zebralight SC52 AA which is the same light in a handheld version.

I have an assortment of different headlamps and what I like about the Zebralights is the quality of the beam. That's hard to list as a "feature" so it's not something you can easily compare when researching various lights. None of my common headlamp brands can compare to the beam quality of my Zebralights. The hot spot is not too intense and the outer edges of the beam still carry a fair bit of light which is great for trail walking. Many of the common headlights don't find this balance between hot spot and flood.

EDIT: One thing I should mention is that you can buy a glow in the dark flashlight holder to replace the black one that comes with the H52. It's only $3 and worth it in my opinion. I will also comment that I don't like the feel of these bands on my head and think Zebralight could improve that somehow. Other headlights that I own are more comfortable to wear.

Edited by skopeo on 11/26/2013 12:58:33 MST.

Peter S
(prse) - MLife

Locale: Denmark
great on 11/26/2013 14:19:19 MST Print View

Great feedback guys, thanks.

I really like that i can clip the H52 series to my belt for night walking. At the same time, i can't stop drooling over the H600/602 series...less is more..less is more... :-)

The quality of the beam sounds intriguing. I guess i would have to buy one to see what it really means.. ;-)

I'm mostly concerned about the lowest possible output from the Zebralights, if this would be low enough for reading for me - Isn't it possible to reprogram the intensity of the 3 levels? Would i be able to program it to a low enough setting?

I think i need to make a headlamp spreadsheet to get a good overview.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: great on 11/26/2013 15:14:50 MST Print View

"I think i need to make a headlamp spreadsheet to get a good overview."

Yes! You Do!

...and then post it.

James Reilly
(zippymorocco) - M

Locale: Montana
Difference between the 52 series and 502 on 11/26/2013 17:53:08 MST Print View

I have been watching this thread and hoping to answer some of the same questions. Can I ask one more. What is the difference between 52 series and 502 series. Thanks.

Barry Cuthbert
(nzbazza) - MLife

Locale: New Zealand
Working out the Zebralight models on 11/26/2013 18:52:41 MST Print View

Zebralight produce 1AA headlamps with three different beam profiles.

The H502 has a wide (~80 deg) even beam profile, achieved through the use of a lens. This is good for task or area flood lighting (think like a streetlight). So the H502 is good for stirring your pot, reading, hanging up over a table for playing cards, tasks that are within arms reach. What it is not good for is viewing objects far off.

The H52 has a reflector to provide a more focused beam profile with a smallish brighter area in the middle of the beam surrounded by a wider cone to provide some spill (think car headlight). This type of beam is best for walking at night. It is okay for task lighting but some people find they have to move their head around a lot more to light an whole area, which can be distracting.

A third model is the H52F, which has a diffusion film over the front glass to blur the more focussed beam into a wider softer beam, again with some spill. It's sort of a blend of the first two models. Depending on your point of view, it either provides a good blend of light for tasks and walking, or it is a jack of all trade but master at none.

My personal preference is for the H52 beam profile, given most trips I do involve anywhere between 2-4 hours of walking on rough tracks on a Friday night to get to the first campsite/hut. For task lighting you can use a lower level.

Zebralight also produce the same models above with different tints of white leds. The models above are all cool white leds with a colour temperature of about 5500K (think cool white flouroescent tubes).

The second type are called neutral white leds and Zebralight give these models a W suffix so e.g. H52W, H52FW, H502W.

Cool leds are more efficient than neutral or warm white leds generally (although the gap is reducing) so produce more light for a given current level from the battery. Because of their increased blue light component they can appear brighter than a neutral white at the same light output. However their downside include a reduced colour rendition (i.e. colours appear less true compared with sunlight) and cool white leds tend to reflect back light when encountering mist or fog, making it harder to see.

Neutral white leds are less efficient (but still pretty good) but their colour temperature (4400K) and colour rendition (~75CRI) are closer to that of sunlight so colours appear more natural. Also they don't suffer as badly in mist or fog as cool white leds do.

There "sunlight" leds available (not in Zebralight headlamps) that have better colour temperature and rendition than neutral white leds, but at the cost of further reduced efficiency again.

I currently use a H51W (the previous model of the H52W) and would happily upgrade to a H52W.

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Zebralight me choose on 11/26/2013 18:56:49 MST Print View

>> What is the difference between 52 series and 502 series <<

The most significant difference (to me) is that the new "52" series can use AA batteries of any type (NiMh alkaline or lithium) OR the high output lithium 14500 rechargeable batteries. The 14500's provide a longer run time and bump the light output to 500 lumen for a one minute burst before stepping down to the standard high output (H1). The 500 lumen output is impressive for such a tiny little light.

You can get the same high output from many lights that run on CR123 batteries but no other light that I know of offers this brightness in a light that can also run on AA's as well.

James Reilly
(zippymorocco) - M

Locale: Montana
Thank you Barry on 11/26/2013 18:57:55 MST Print View


That is an amazing overview. Just what I needed. Thank you for taking the time to explain that I feel that I finally understand the line.

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Reading... on 11/26/2013 19:08:45 MST Print View

>> I'm mostly concerned about the lowest possible output from the Zebralights, if this would be low enough for reading for me <<

You made me curious, so I gave it a try.

The H52W AA is fine for reading at L1 level. There is virtually no hotspot while reading and the page color is true. I also tested reading at L2 and it is possible but wasn't that comfortable for my old eye. Zebralight posts a run-time of 4 days on L1 and 3 weeks at L2.

My SC52 AA has the cool white emitter (but same specs as the H52) and is very easy to read at L1, it has a slightly brighter output but a bit of a hotspot at reading distance (not bothersome but not as nice as the H52W). The SC52 can also be used for reading at L2 as it's a bit brighter than the warm white H52W. I still wouldn't read with it at L2 because I'd prefer a bit extra light, but it could easily be used at L2 (3 weeks run-time).

James Reilly
(zippymorocco) - M

Locale: Montana
Just ordered one on 11/26/2013 19:40:32 MST Print View

Thank you all for the great thread. I just ordered a H52W from E2 Field gear who actually has some in stock. Looking forward to trying it out.

Barry P
(BarryP) - F

Locale: Eastern Idaho (moved from Midwest)
Re: Zebralight me choose on 11/27/2013 10:45:11 MST Print View

“Question: Why should i buy a zebralight instead of a Black Diamond Spot?”

Well it sounds like you’ll find out since you bought one. But I’ll put in some other points:

H52W is:
lighter weight (with battery),
brighter and dimmer (more flexibility),
waterproof (black diamond is splash proof),
way easy to change battery in the dark.
Longer run times.
Constant light (no dimming over time)
Not only does it take lithium and NiMh it even takes Li-ion 14500 rechargeable.

Black diamond:
3AAA batteries is a pain, especially for taking spares and buying (they don’t sell 3-paks). Try to get batteries replaced in the dark AND get the polarity right. Dims over time. Rechargeables are brighter in the Zebera.

Other notes:
1. Zebra has excellent craftsmanship on their aluminum bodies.
2. Turn the head a quarter turn when in the pack so it doesn't accidentally come on.
3. Yes that H600 series looks awesome; the lightest light for the lightest light (1020 lumen!) :)

May your day be light,

Peter S
(prse) - MLife

Locale: Denmark
Re: Re: Zebralight me choose on 11/27/2013 10:50:56 MST Print View

Barry, thank you for a really good comparison, just what I was looking for :-).

Just for a note, I haven't bought a Zebralight yet, but James has ;-)

Peter S
(prse) - MLife

Locale: Denmark
Re: Reading... on 11/27/2013 13:06:18 MST Print View

Mike, thanks a lot for checking the reading ability out, much appreciated.

Great forum as always

Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: Re: Reading... on 12/01/2013 17:18:37 MST Print View

The Spark SG5 has a 1 lumen and 6 lumen level.

It's a single aa battery and the 1 lumen lasts for 6 days.
Also a 30 lumen (good for night hiking) level for 9 hours.
At 40 grams it's light as well.

Edited by awsorensen on 12/01/2013 17:19:21 MST.