Zebralight SC5Fc measurements (AA, warm tint)

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maukka
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Zebralight SC5Fc measurements (AA, warm tint)


The Zebralight SC5Fc is an AA flashlight that uses a frosted – hence the F – lens for an even and wide beam. It is available in c (4000 K) and d (5000 K) tints. There’s also several lower CRI models available with both clear and frosted lenses.

Manufacturer specifications

  • Battery type: AA (alkaline, NiMH or lithium), 14500 not supported
  • LED: Cree XM-L2 EasyWhite
  • Color temperature: 4000 K
  • Body material: Aluminum
  • Waterproof: Yes, IPX-7 (2 m, 30 min)
  • Impact resistance: not specified
  • Switch type: side clicky
  • Battery protection: Voltage indicator, battery polarity
  • Regulation: Advanced Temperature Regulation (ATR)
  • Tail stand: Yes
  • Tripod threads: No
  • Modes: 13
  • Special modes: Beacon strobe (4 Hz), Strobe (19 Hz)
  • Mode memory: Only sub mode
  • Button lock: Loosen the tailcap
  • Direct access from off: L1/2, M1/2, H1/2, Strobe

Included in the package:

  • Zebralight SC5Fc flashlight
  • Two spare o-rings
  • User manual
  • Eneloop AA battery (only some vendors)

A single click from off puts the light to H1/2, whichever was last selected. Submode L2/M2/H2 can be selected with a double click while the light is on. A long press cycles the modes. A long press from off goes to L first, then M and finally H. There’s a half a second delay when turning the light off with a short press.

There three main modes L1, M1 and H1 with sub modes L2, M2 and H2. Single press goes to H1/2, whichever was last selected. The sub modes can be programmed to a different level from three options. Each of the modes are directly accessible from off, but the medium shortcut (double click) goes to high first.

Zebralight UI hasn’t changed for a couple of years. For operation, see the manual that covers the programming and usage here:
http://www.zebralight.com/assets/images/USER_GUIDE_V40_2013.pdf


The fit and finish is exceptional. The removable pocket clip is very stiff.


The tailcap has pogo pins instead of a spring.


AA battery, Zebralight SC5Fc (AA), Olight S10 (CR123), Olight i3E EOS (AAA)

Measurements
Please note: lumen measurements are only rough estimates
My diy 30/40 cm integrating styrofoam spheres have been calibrated using a Fenix E05 on high with manufacturer’s claim of 85 lumens. Verified with an Olight S10 that has been measured with a Labsphere FS2 integrating sphere by valostore.fi. Results may be more inaccurate with especially throwy or floody lights.

For spectral information and CRI calculations I have an X-rite i1Pro spectrophotometer with HCFR for the plot and ArgyllCMS spotread.exe for the data. For runtime tests I use spotread.exe with a custom script and a i1Display Pro because it doesn’t require calibration every 30 minutes like the i1Pro.

Explanation of abbreviations
CCT = correlated color temperature, higher temperature means cooler (bluish)
CRI (Ra) = color rendering index consisting of 8 different colors (R1-R8), max value 100
CRI (R9) = color rendering index with deep red, usually difficult for led based light sources, max value 100
TLCI = television lighting consistency index, max value 100
CQS (Qa) = Proposed replacement for CRI, RMS average of 15 color samples
CRI2012 (Ra,2012) = Another proposed replacement for CRI, consists of 17 color samples
MCRI = Color rendering index based on the memory of colors or 9 familiar objects
x,y = coordinates on a CIE 1931 chart

My sample was a bit off form the spec’d CCT of 4000 K. I was not able to achieve the advertised lumens. Even after testing with several meters, light boxes, integrating spheres in addition to the ceiling bounce method, the maximum output lagged about 28 % behind Zebralight’s claimed output of 375 lumens. It could be that none of my methods work accurately with a frosted lens light, because I have noticed the same problem with the Zebralight H600Fd Mark III.

Spectral distribution (H1)

Color rendering (H1)

Read more on color rendering indices here: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/44570#node-44570

Beam and tint


The beam is very floody and smooth with no discernible beam angle.


The tint has a smooth and linear transition towards the spill.


Tint in different brightness modes stays quite consistent.

PWM
PWM is used to control output on all modes except H1. The PWM is not visible to the eye, because of its low amplitude, but possibly shows up on camera. The cycling frequency is higher on higher output modes and ranges from 775 Hz to 5000 Hz. The amplitude however is higher on the higher modes.


Oscilloscope screenshot at H2 (“81 lm”).


Zoomed in.

See the whole album of scope screenshots here:
http://imgur.com/a/IbSg6

Runtime (H1 and H2 “81 lm”)

Batteries used: Panasonic Eneloop Pro 2500 mAh (BK-3CHDE)

Temperature and regulation
Heat is not an issue. The SC5Fc never gets very warm to hold. There’s no thermal regulation. The light has a hard stepdown at 3 minutes.

djozz
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Nice review again, thanks for all the measurements and posting it all. Smile

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Nice review.

I have the SC5 but I would not buy it again. The clip is so tight that it is unusable: putting it in my pocket takes ages of fiddling, and removing it is not easy. And the turbo mode is a joke, it works only for a few minutes on a freshly charged battery, which means it is there for marketing and bragging reasons as it is not very practical. I hate the switch, and the choice of levels. Removing the turbo mode would be an improvement. Oh and mine had uneven anodising. One side was zera striped, the other even. And it rubbed off fairly quickly at the end of the tailcap. You can in my opinion buy much better, for less. This is overhyped, maybe because it is supposedly an American company, but it’s made in China.

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Evgeniy
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Nice review !

Flashlights : custom (Jaxman E2L with led4power LD-4 drivers and 3xOsram CQAR.CC), custom Skillhunt H03 with Osram 3К/4К, Zebralight {H600fc IV, Sc600fc IV, H600fc III}, Jaxman E2(N219b), Convoy UV.
Previous: Zebralight {H501, H600W, H600W II, H602W}, NiteCore TIPCRI, A A01, Fenix L2D CE/CEQ5.

WalkIntoTheLight
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Leif wrote:
Nice review.

I have the SC5 but I would not buy it again. The clip is so tight that it is unusable: putting it in my pocket takes ages of fiddling, and removing it is not easy. And the turbo mode is a joke, it works only for a few minutes on a freshly charged battery, which means it is there for marketing and bragging reasons as it is not very practical. I hate the switch, and the choice of levels. Removing the turbo mode would be an improvement. Oh and mine had uneven anodising. One side was zera striped, the other even. And it rubbed off fairly quickly at the end of the tailcap. You can in my opinion buy much better, for less. This is overhyped, maybe because it is supposedly an American company, but it’s made in China.

I have the SC5w, and love it. But, you’re right about the very tight clip. It would be better if they had it rest on a smooth section of the body, like they did with the SC52’s. I haven’t noticed any problems with the anodizing on any of my Zebralights; it seems pretty good.

Sure, the 500 lumen “turbo” mode has an automatic step-down at 3 minutes, to keep the light from overheating. But you can step it back up if you think the light is not too hot. If you keep doing this, I got mine to last 21 minutes (total) at 500 lumens from a regular (not pro) Eneloop. IMO, that’s not too bad, considering the high output on a single AA battery (I don’t think there’s a brighter 1xAA light on the market). It’s very efficient on all the other modes, compared to most of my other AA lights.

As for the SC5Fc in this review, I’m surprised at the low value for R(9) CRI. I thought the XML Easywhite LED used in this light was supposed to have pretty good color. It does for regular CRI, but the deep red is pretty poor. Nichia 219 LEDs are a lot better in this regard. But I guess it’s still better than the regular XML neutral white.

Gunga
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Nice results! I really like the c tint. I’m have to get one of these sc5fc at some point. I’m loving the h600fc.

maukka
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WalkIntoTheLight wrote:
As for the SC5Fc in this review, I’m surprised at the low value for R(9) CRI. I thought the XML Easywhite LED used in this light was supposed to have pretty good color. It does for regular CRI, but the deep red is pretty poor. Nichia 219 LEDs are a lot better in this regard. But I guess it’s still better than the regular XML neutral white.

Here’s the color rendering data for H600Fd III with the Easywhite, quite similar.

TheBo
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wow thanks! very pro!

Rufusbduck wrote:
Getting discouraged is normal but doesn't finish the job.
ToyKeeper
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Wow, 3600K. I’m glad I stayed away from their ‘c’ models. Smile

I really like my H52Fw, and the original SC52 quality was unbeatable even if the tint was a bit lacking, but the new SC5 doesn’t really have the same appeal. I’m not sure what ZL was thinking this time.

Their SC62 and SC63 lines look nice, especially the ‘d’ flavors. But for an AA or 16340 light, I think the market may currently be a little more enamored with the Olight S1.

WalkIntoTheLight
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ToyKeeper wrote:
Wow, 3600K. I’m glad I stayed away from their ‘c’ models. Smile

I really like warm tints. I love a 3500K incandescent light, and this sounds pretty close. I absolutely hate cool white. Though, I understand it’s completely a personal preference, and most people seem to prefer cooler tints. Zebralight “d” tint versions are probably more acceptable to most people.

Quote:
I really like my H52Fw, and the original SC52 quality was unbeatable even if the tint was a bit lacking, but the new SC5 doesn’t really have the same appeal. I’m not sure what ZL was thinking this time.

Hmmm, I think the SC5 is a step-up from the SC52. It’s brighter, more efficient on all levels, has more levels to choose from, and is better regulated on the highest modes. The tint of the SC5w is also nicer than the SC52w. Although, the SC52 is a nicer size for a pants’ pocket, so I think there’s still room for both models.

Quote:
But for an AA or 16340 light, I think the market may currently be a little more enamored with the Olight S1.

The Olight is a CR123 light, so not really directly comparable to a AA light, but it looks like a nice CR123 light if they would produce it in a neutral tint (which I don’t think they do). Cool white makes me Sick

ToyKeeper
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WalkIntoTheLight wrote:
Hmmm, I think the SC5 is a step-up from the SC52.

I’m not sure, but I think ZL may have decided to do with their AA lights what they’ve been doing with their 18650 lights — one compact family and one chunkier family. We’ll probably find out based on whether they produce a smaller SC53.

Some people love the SC600, others love the SC62/SC63. Maybe the SC5 versus SC52 are a similar approach. I’m just guessing though. Or perhaps hoping, because I liked the smaller ones better. The SC5 is fairly large for its battery type, compared to my other AA lights like the L3 L10. Maybe they’ll make a smaller, thinner AA-based Zebralight. Smile

WalkIntoTheLight wrote:
The Olight is a CR123 light, so not really directly comparable to a AA light, but it looks like a nice CR123 light if they would produce it in a neutral tint (which I don’t think they do). Cool white makes me Sick

I consider them to be in similar classes, though not exactly the same. I was given a titanium neutral white version which looks like it’s probably a Cree 3D tint (~4900K), one of my favorite tints, and so far I’m liking it (with 16340 cell) more than the SC52 (with Eneloop or 14500).

The SC5 and S1 are both compact high-end EDC lights with output from about 0.1 lm to ~500 lm. But they do have some differences:

What the ZL SC5 does better:

  • More output levels.
  • Longer runtime on moon and low.
  • Throwier beam (or smoother beam, for ‘F’ versions).
  • More tint choices.

What the Olight S1 does better:

  • Significantly smaller size.
  • Also comes in two types of copper and two types of titanium.
  • Wide-spot TIR beam with almost 180 degree spill.
  • Deeper clip, removable and reversible if desired.
  • Tail magnet.
  • Aesthetics in general. (subjective)
  • Lower price.

I’m bummed that I ended up with bead-blasted titanium instead of polished titanium or bare copper, but I can’t really complain. The bare copper model doesn’t come in neutral white. And it was free and they even engraved my name on it. It’s one of the only unmodded lights I’ve liked in a long time.

Here is an S1 next to a SC5:

maukka
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Someone on reddit was asking whether a Zebralight drains a battery if it’s inserted the wrong way. I tested this with my SC5Fc and yes, if you put the battery in backwards, it’ll pull an amp. So the polarity protection is just to prevent the driver from getting destroyed.

WalkIntoTheLight
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maukka wrote:
Someone on reddit was asking whether a Zebralight drains a battery if it’s inserted the wrong way. I tested this with my SC5Fc and yes, if you put the battery in backwards, it’ll pull an amp. So the polarity protection is just to prevent the driver from getting destroyed.

That’s interesting. I’ve never tried it myself, but I just assumed they’d have a diode in there to prevent current flow in the wrong direction. I have no idea how reverse polarity protection works, I guess.