In preparation for a night hike I wanted to buy a new headlamp. Technology has come a long way since my old Zipka Plus.. (and I couldn't find it!)
After a few hours of research including This place I decided on the Petzl Tikka XP.
Lumen values are difficult to come by; most manufacturers use measuring systems which make their own lights seem best (Petzl uses hours and meters(!) and a reference illumination of a full moon) Talk about obscure; I just wanted a simple lumens vs. time curve for each setting... ok, enough ranting..
The Tikka XP offered a few upgrades which all met my requirement set;
1) 1+ watt bulb,
2) focusable or variable beam.
3) 4+ modes including blinking or SOS.
4) Adaptable to my helmet.
5) Compatible with tinted lenses (red for stargazing, biking, etc..)
So anyway, my initial impressions;
1) Burst mode gives 1W of light for 25 seconds; pass.
2) Beam quality is TERRIBLE. Not visible in the lighted store, but very visible at night. The lens artifacts are just inexcusable for a company like Petzl. My LED from the $1 store has better beam quality. Pics down below..
3) Modes OK, but I wish they gave SOS instead of blinking. What good is blinking?
4) A stick on adapter for my helmet will allow secure hands free use with my helmet.
5) Tinted lenses available.
Overall impression is marginally favorable. I would buy this light again for the feature set; I dont think there is another light out there which meets them, but c'mon Petzl; look at the artifacts on this beam..
The Tikka XP, 'diffused' mode:
The following pics were taken at constant exposure and shutter speeds:
Tikka XP, diffused
Tikka XP, spot
compare these to the smooth beam transition of the Zipka (equivalent to the pre-XP Tikka)
The result of these artifacts is that objects do not come into view smoothly as your head rotates. The areas of brighter and dimmer light cause distracting variability in the visibility of objects near the periphery of my vision. With the old Zipka, things smoothly came into view and passed out of view on the other side of the beam. The pictures at that link flashlightreviews were not of good enough quality to show these beam issues.
Maybe my brain will adapt to this; maybe not. Maybe I complain too much..