Zebralight SC5W review (500 lm,XM-L2,Ni-Mh)

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viperxp
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Location: Israel
Zebralight SC5W review (500 lm,XM-L2,Ni-Mh)

Greetings,

I’d like to start this review from a short presentation of the key advantages of this flashlight

1. A record breaking brightness achieved from a single AA ni-mh cell. Of course you should use high quality cells, manufacturer recommends Panasonic Eneloop Pro.
2. A very high overall efficiency. Besides the maximum brightness, the flashlight has a longer battery life than it’s competitors.
3. A unique UI. IT is practically 3-in one UI. Simple, advanced and very advanced.
4. Unique design, special anodizing (one of the few non-black flashlights).
5. Great brand reputation, durability. The brand is very popular for a good reason.
6. A great warm tint, There is also a model that has a CW led, it has even more brightness, 535 lumen.

Tech. Specs

LED: Cree XM-L2 Neutral White (Nominal CCT 4400K) User Selectable Levels: 3 main levels (High, Medium and Low). Each main level can be programmed to one of its two sub-levels. The second sub-level of the each main levels can be further programmed to different brightness levels. Light Output (runtimes) High: H1 500 Lm (3min, then 304lm, total 0.8 hr) or H2 304 Lm (0.9 hr) / 187 Lm (1.8 hrs) / 107 Lm (3.5 hrs) Medium: M1 45 Lm (8.5 hrs) or M2 19Lm (16.5 hrs) / 7.5 Lm (42 hrs) Low: L1 3.0 Lm (4 days) or L2 1.0 Lm (16 days) / 0.28 Lm (50 days) / 0.1 Lm (4 months) Beacon Strobe Mode: 4Hz Strobe at H1 / 19Hz Strobe at H1 Light output are ANSI out the front (OTF) values. Runtimes tested (and parasitic drain estimated) using Panasonic Eneloop Pro AA batteries. Remaining battery power, about 10-20%, after step-down are not counted towards the runtimes. Operating Voltage Range: 0.7V – 2.0V Battery: One AA size NiMH, lithium or alkaline battery. Panasonic Eneloop or Eneloop Pro is highly recommended. Batteries are not included in the box. Parasitic Drain: Negligible (much less than the self discharging of a battery) Beam Type 80 degree spill 10 degree hot spot Dimensions Head Diameter: 1.0 inch (25.4 mm) Length: 3.2 inch (81.3 mm) Weight 2.0 oz (58 gram) Features Battery capacity indicator (LED flashes 1-4 times, 4 short clicks to start) Automatic stepping down from High to Medium, and from Medium to Low when battery capacity is low Durable electronic soft-touch switch Smart user interface provides fast and easy access to all brightness levels and beacon-strobes. Precision machined unibody casing from premium grade aluminum bar stocks Proprietary heat sinking design bonds the LED board directly to the unibody aluminum casing Durable natural hard anodized finish (Type III Class I) Sealed and potted LED driver circuitry Battery reverse polarity protection Tempered optical grade glass Preinstalled bezel down pocket clip Smooth reflector Battery power can be disconnected by slightly unscrewing the tailcap to prevent unwanted activations or parasitic drain Waterproof to IPX7 (2 meters, 30 minutes)

Operations

This light has 3 main levels (High, Medium, and Low) and a beacon-strobe mode. Each main level can be programmed to one of its two sub-levels. The second sub-level of each main levels can be further programmed to different brightness levels.

Basic Operation One short-click turns on the light to High or turns off the light. Two short-click turns on the light to Medium. Three short-click turns on the light to the beacon-strobe mode. Press and hold (for over 0.6 seconds) turns on the light to Low and then Medium and High. Release at the desired level. Advanced Operation and Configuration Press and hold to cycle from Low, Medium and High, release at the desired level to set. When press and hold, the light always cycle from Low to High regardless which level you are currently in. Double click to toggle and select between the two sub-levels for that main level. Sub-level selections for the 3 main levels are memorized after the light is turned off and through battery changes. The second sub-level (H2, M2 and L2) of each main levels can be further programmed to different brightness levels. At a main level, double-click 6 times to start configuration. On subsequent double-clicks the light will cycle through different brightness levels. Short click to turn off the light when finishing configurations. The selections for the second sub-levels are memorized after the light is turned off and through battery changes. This light uses the main LED (flashing 1 to 4 times) to indicate the estimated remaining capacity of the battery. To start the battery indicator, (from Off) short-click 4 times without pause. Beacon-strobe mode can be accessed from 3 short-clicks when the light is Off. Once in the beacon-strobe mode, you can double-click to cycle through different types of beacons and strobes. Beacon-strobe settings are memorized when the light is turned off and through battery changes.[/SPOILER]

To compare the flashlight with the competitors, and prove my point I compiled a small table

Please tell me if I forgot to put there some other significant light

*+
Shall we start?+*





Not much accessories included, user manual, a warning regarding batteries and two o-rings. That’s it.




Here is the star of today’s show. The light is more “beefy” than it’s successor, the SC52. Now it has a more traditional knurling as well. A nicely polished clip, that is extremely sturdy is attached.

The button can’t be clicked accidentally. The click itself is much more pronounced than on my SC600W mkII.



The led is centered well, no quality issues here. The metal ring that holds the glass in place has some rings, that I like a lot. An anti-reflective coating can be easily seen.


Notice the unique tailcap. All to lessen the resistance.

There is protection from inserting the battery with opposite polarity. The threads are lubricated really well.




Comparison with the “big brother”

Here is the manufacturer recommended battery.




Comparison with Olight S15R and Nitecore EA11

Comparison with SC600W mkII. Here, and on the next pics SC5 is on the left

Olight S15R

Nitecore EA11

My first experience with ZL flashligts wasn’t positive – the SC52W that I purchased has a noticeble green tint – a “greenie meaney”. I returned that first Zebra.
This light has a very nice tint, not green at all.

The flashlight gets very hot on max level, and the massive head helps to dissipate that heat.

Moonlight





500 lumens, a shallow reflector. We get a lot of light close to us. I think it will be a pleasure to use this light as a bike light. A neutral tint is also a pleasure to use, it is not easy to go back to ordinary cool white flashlight.


A little hand feeling

Lux in a meter distance

Conclusions, final thoughts

I am really happy with the light. It is a real pleasure to use. Not ideal light, but gets really close.

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I bought the light at http://ru.nkon.nl store for a full retail price.

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Thanks for reading. Comments? Requests? Contact me, I will be happy to assist.

viperxp
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Last seen: 10 months 3 days ago
Joined: 08/01/2015 - 13:52
Posts: 86
Location: Israel

Such a great light and no comments Sad

finges
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Last seen: 3 hours 38 min ago
Joined: 11/19/2014 - 14:50
Posts: 500
Location: Germany

It is a nice powerful AA flashlight. I was also tempted to buy one, but it is to pricey for me. Also I think the UI is kind of complicated.

viperxp
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Last seen: 10 months 3 days ago
Joined: 08/01/2015 - 13:52
Posts: 86
Location: Israel

Yes, it’s pricey but you won’t be easily tempted to buy another light soon.
The UI sounds complicated, until you start using it, you get used to it very fast.

akhyar
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Last seen: 1 year 3 months ago
Joined: 07/19/2015 - 23:48
Posts: 706
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

I loves Zebralight’s UI as I own the first gen SC600 since it was launched until now. On paper it seems complicated, but once you get used to it, it is among the simplest single button UI that I’ve ever come across.
The built quality for this light I’m sure is top notch as expected from Zebralight, but the price is a deal breaker, especially this is a budget light forum Wink
Even the discount offered in massdrop make this light seems to be targetted for users in the other forum. And I’ve never come across coupon or discount code for Zebralight products yet.