Zebralight SC64c LE with LH351D NOT high CRI

61 posts / 0 new
Last post

Pages

Rayoui
Rayoui's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 days 14 hours ago
Joined: 08/06/2019 - 00:38
Posts: 437
Location: Portland, OR
Zebralight SC64c LE with LH351D NOT high CRI

A few weeks ago I picked up a SC64c LE with 4000K LH351D (ordered directly from Zebralight). This light is advertised as having 90+ CRI. Immediately upon receiving the light I noticed that the color rendering did not appear to be as good as the several other lights I have that are using this LED, particularly in the red spectrum. I suspected ZL is not actually using the high CRI version of the LH351D but I did not have a spectrometer to measure it.

Since then, I’ve finally acquired a spectrometer. Here are the results.


As you can see, it is clearly not 90+ CRI. I only have one example of the SC64c LE so I don’t know if all of them are like this or if there was an incorrect reel of LEDs ordered affecting a limited batch. I intend to contact ZL though I’m not sure what exactly they’ll do if they’ve just been using the wrong LEDs the whole time.

thefreeman
thefreeman's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 hours 36 min ago
Joined: 01/06/2020 - 09:56
Posts: 591
Location: France

I saw one user on r/flashlight saying they thought it wasn’t 90CRI but couln’t confirm without a spectrometer.

Bobmcbob measured some LEs and they were 90CRI, so it’s not all of them.
This is pretty bad, even if they bought a wrong reel by mistake they should at least color test several samples or they knew and didn’t care.

Rayoui
Rayoui's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 days 14 hours ago
Joined: 08/06/2019 - 00:38
Posts: 437
Location: Portland, OR

Interesting. I just tested my H503c with LH351D and it is also ~70 CRI. At some point they must have run out of 90+ CRI emitters and reordered the wrong parts.

jon_slider
jon_slider's picture
Offline
Last seen: 16 min 25 sec ago
Joined: 09/08/2015 - 12:20
Posts: 4752
Location: Central North America
Rayoui wrote:
I’ve finally acquired a spectrometer. … As you can see, it is clearly not 90+ CRI. … I just tested my H503c with LH351D and it is also ~70 CRI.

Thank You for investing in a Spectrometer and sharing your results. Thumbs Up

negative R9 is a dead giveaway that the LED is Low CRI

WTB Novatac Pocket Clip

eicca
eicca's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 day 14 hours ago
Joined: 12/26/2019 - 13:06
Posts: 108
Location: Utah, USA

Huh, I wonder if the LH351D in my Skilhunt isn’t actually high-CRI either, and that’s why I don’t notice much difference at all from my other lights…

Streamlight ProTac HL - SureFire P2X Fury - Fenix PD35 v2.0 - Fenix PD25 - Sunwayman V11R XML2 6A3 mod - Olight Warrior X Pro - Skilhunt H04

SammysHP
SammysHP's picture
Online
Last seen: 6 min 24 sec ago
Joined: 06/25/2019 - 14:35
Posts: 856
Location: Germany

Bob_Mcbob got several of these bad lights half a year ago: https://old.reddit.com/r/flashlight/comments/n0mu9c/just_got_a_sc64le_wi...

Ryzbor
Ryzbor's picture
Offline
Last seen: 9 hours 45 min ago
Joined: 01/21/2018 - 10:52
Posts: 375
Location: Poland

Zebralight went downwards after the MkIII generation.

virence.com Nichia E21A sw30+sw40 Wizard Pro ; Skilhunt H03 XP-E2 660nm ; Wizard Pro E21A 2000K ; S2+ E21A sw40 d220 ; Sofrin C01R 660nm, Mf01 Mini Nichia 219B sw35+sw40

NeutralFan
NeutralFan's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 days 2 hours ago
Joined: 03/20/2014 - 19:22
Posts: 1422
Location: Wisconsin, USA

Very interesting Rayoui. Have you contacted ZebraLight about it yet? Curious to know their response.

I’d rather use my flashlight around the house than turn on the lights.

BurningPlayd0h
BurningPlayd0h's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 hours 9 min ago
Joined: 06/22/2018 - 02:16
Posts: 1755
Location: MN

Mine is absolutely high-CRI (have numerous other confirmed 90+ Ra LH351Ds to compare to) but was purchased used and not sure of the original purchase date. Shiny anodizing on mine, while some batches of the SC64 have been more matte/satin.

Rayoui
Rayoui's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 days 14 hours ago
Joined: 08/06/2019 - 00:38
Posts: 437
Location: Portland, OR
NeutralFan wrote:
Very interesting Rayoui. Have you contacted ZebraLight about it yet? Curious to know their response.

I sent them a message with a detailed explanation of my findings and I got a generic automated RMA message instructing me to return the lights with a note describing the problem.

I’m going to send both lights back to them but I’m mostly expecting to receive replacements with the same issue.

SYZYGY
SYZYGY's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 hours 24 min ago
Joined: 02/20/2020 - 04:47
Posts: 35

any updates?

Bob_McBob
Offline
Last seen: 18 min 42 sec ago
Joined: 08/14/2016 - 04:53
Posts: 604
Location: Canada

I somehow missed this thread when it was originally posted. Like SammysHP mentioned, both batches of LEs I ordered in November and December arrived with CRI 70 LEDs. I separately ordered an LE from a US dealer at the end of March, and it also had a CRI 70 LED. Someone from Reddit emailed Zebralight to ask about this and was told my lights were intentionally shipped with CRI 70 LEDs because they ran low on the correct ones and knew I would be swapping them; they also “don’t think” they were installed in any other lights unless something was “somehow mixed up during the production process”.

They certainly never informed me they were sending me CRI 70 lights, and now we have three confirmed cases of other CRI 70 lights in the wild including a completely separate model, plus multiple likely suspects. Not good Zebralight, not good. Were you able to get a satisfactory resolution, OP?

Rayoui
Rayoui's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 days 14 hours ago
Joined: 08/06/2019 - 00:38
Posts: 437
Location: Portland, OR

I contacted them and received a generic reply instructing me to send the defective lights back along with a note describing the issue and that it would be a 8-12 week turnaround time. I sent both lights (the LE and an H503c with the same problem) along with a detailed report including my spectrometer measurements.

I love my Zebralights but this kind of puts a bad taste in my mouth. Seems like someone might have ordered the wrong LEDs and now they’re trying to get rid of them by distributing them to unsuspecting customers. If they are doing it purposely, it may actually be a crime.

I’ll update again once I receive replacements or any communication from Zebralight.

SYZYGY
SYZYGY's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 hours 24 min ago
Joined: 02/20/2020 - 04:47
Posts: 35

zebralightclassaction2021.com

pennzy
pennzy's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 hours 5 min ago
Joined: 12/10/2017 - 19:45
Posts: 3499
Location: United States , Pa.

They should turn them around faster than that for you.

KeepingItLight
KeepingItLight's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 days 18 hours ago
Joined: 06/15/2015 - 14:52
Posts: 720
Location: California

ZebraLight needs to get in front of this.

Firelight2
Firelight2's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 hours 26 min ago
Joined: 04/08/2011 - 15:17
Posts: 4407
Location: California

Zebralight does seem to have gone downhill.

Also I don’t think they have released any new lights in 2 or 3 years. That’s not the sign of a healthy manufacturer. I wonder if they’re on the way out.

jon_slider
jon_slider's picture
Offline
Last seen: 16 min 25 sec ago
Joined: 09/08/2015 - 12:20
Posts: 4752
Location: Central North America

Zebra is not the only light with an unexpected
Low CRI LH351D 4000k 70 CRI substitution

Jetbeam RRT-01 219c 4000k is 70 CRI

Lumintop FWAA 219c 5000k is also 70 CRI

we are lucky to have people sharing spectrometer tests

imo, Zebralights are a dying breed, catch one while you can….
get a McBob in High CRI.

WTB Novatac Pocket Clip

xevious
xevious's picture
Offline
Last seen: 56 min 29 sec ago
Joined: 02/27/2013 - 21:55
Posts: 2002
Location: Hoboken, NJ USA

I don’t have a spectrometer, so all I can do is compare my lights to each other.
I have a recently bought Sofirn D25L with twin LH351D 5000K emitters.
I bought my Zebralight SC64c LE with LH351D 4000K emitter back in 2019.
Side-by-side, the D25L shows a clean neutral tint, while the SC64c LE reflects warmer, though definitely not as warm as the 219B R9080 sw35 emitter in my TH20. So, comparatively it feels right.

I get the design mantra of Zebralight. They hone a design over time and try not to change it much. What works should keep working, especially for a relatively simple tool like a flashlight. But Zebralight has been been notoriously slow on the emitter front. And what more of a nod-wink to that than by their provision of the newer Samsung LH351D emitter as a “limited edition.” (it has been for sale going on nearly 3 years now). You definitely get “less bang for the buck” with Zebralight, when it comes to technology. But you pay more for the carefully cultivated designs of their lights. Their recessed rubber switches with brushed steel bezel surround are legendary. And they’re RUGGED. Many years back I’d seen photos of user lights that were heavily scratched and with much anodizing missing… but working perfectly. The potted electronics means they’re going to hold up better to repeated knocks.

But frankly, with this kind of business mantra (slow but careful evolution), a company like Zebralight should be nitpicky as all hell about their emitter bin quality. Any deviations set aside for “scrap” or “one-off” applications. If a flashlight is being sold as high-CRI, it sure better be just that. It’s sad to see people now finding Zebralight slipping up in this dept. If this keeps up, I don’t see Zebralight surviving. There’s too many other companies out now making VERY competitive flashlights. The once coveted unique Zebralight programming interface is now ancient history when compared against something like Anduril. Would Zebralight ever go so far as to put out an Anduril light? I doubt it…

Firelight2
Firelight2's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 hours 26 min ago
Joined: 04/08/2011 - 15:17
Posts: 4407
Location: California

jon_slider wrote:
Zebra is not the only light with an unexpected
Low CRI LH351D 4000k 70 CRI substitution

Not true.

The key word here is “substitution”.

  • The 219c Jetbeam RRT-01 and the Lumintop 5000K FWAA 219c indeed both use low CRI leds … but technically, those are not substitutions. This is because those lights were never advertised or sold as having high CRI leds. The purchaser might have hoped the manufacturer would use high CRI, but the manufacturer never claimed they did so.
  • In contrast, the Zebralight SC64 LE was originally sold with a 90 CRI led. And more importantly, it is advertised to this day on Zebralight’s website as having “Color Rendering Index: 90+” But what Zebralight is now selling is actually only CRI 70. The Zebralight is a true bait and switch. They substituted an inferior LED and are not selling what they say they are.

It’s even worse than that. From a modder’s perspective, changing the LED in a RRT-01 or FWAA is much easier than changing the LED in a Zebralight.

I understand Zebralight had supply issues and weren’t able to acquire sufficient stock of 90 CRI LH351D. That happens. Especially with COVID supply issues. But what Zebralight should have done when they changed the LED is stop advertising the LE as having 90+ CRI on their website. A company like Zebralight should at least have accurate information on their website.

xevious
xevious's picture
Offline
Last seen: 56 min 29 sec ago
Joined: 02/27/2013 - 21:55
Posts: 2002
Location: Hoboken, NJ USA

Firelight2 wrote:
It’s even worse than that. From a modder’s perspective, changing the LED in a RRT-01 or FWAA is much easier than changing the LED in a Zebralight.

Yes, the potted electronics of the Zebralight models means it’s a major bear to replace an LED. I know it’s a cost cutting measure to just pack it all up in potting material and leave it up to “send us your light if your LED ever fails, and we’ll replace it for a nominal fee.” Last I heard, it costs almost as much as a new light for that service, so… yeah. Not good.
SYZYGY
SYZYGY's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 hours 24 min ago
Joined: 02/20/2020 - 04:47
Posts: 35

mistake or not, it's wrong to give customers something other than what they paid for.

 

xevious wrote:
There's too many other companies out now making VERY competitive flashlights.

really?

can you please name another company (and a specific model if possible) that competes with ZL overall in build quality, driver efficiency, programmability, UX, and price? genuinely asking because i'd like some flashlight variety in my life, but i haven't found something i like more despite looking pretty hard.

 

i "almost" bought these but didn't:

  • emisar (e.g. DS4V2): i love the variety of emitter options, but perhaps most importantly, the driver efficiency isn't there. this is the main overall reason why i believe it's not competitive with ZL. build quality isn't as good, either. not potted and not unibody are also issues, but i understand why some wouldn't want that for ease of modding. i think anduril is worthy of consideration, but i think i would prefer ZL's firmware more because i only want to use my own preset output levels that give predictable runtime. not interested in ramping or "fun" features. still, i would have to use it to know for sure, and i've never used it.
  • overready boss: not exactly sure how build quality compares. for the price, i hope it's better than ZL. the driver should be pretty efficient, but no clue about overall reliability since there are fewer of them in the wild. as far as i'm concerned, it has by far the most advanced firmware out there. the only issue for me is price.
  • Lux-RC (various models): they make the drivers for overready boss, and their lights are even more exotic and impressive. the price is way worse, however. i could never justify buying one of these, but i would love to have one.
xevious
xevious's picture
Offline
Last seen: 56 min 29 sec ago
Joined: 02/27/2013 - 21:55
Posts: 2002
Location: Hoboken, NJ USA

SYZYGY wrote:
xevious wrote:
There’s too many other companies out now making VERY competitive flashlights.

really? can you please name another company (and a specific model if possible) that competes with ZL overall in build quality, driver efficiency, programmability, UX, and price? genuinely asking because i’d like some flashlight variety in my life, but i haven’t found something i like more despite looking pretty hard.
i “almost” bought these but didn’t:
  • emisar (e.g. DS4V2): i love the variety of emitter options, but perhaps most importantly, the driver efficiency isn’t there. this is the main overall reason why i believe it’s not competitive with ZL. build quality isn’t as good, either. not potted and not unibody are also issues, but i understand why some wouldn’t want that for ease of modding. i think anduril is worthy of consideration, but i think i would prefer ZL’s firmware more because i only want to use my own preset output levels that give predictable runtime. not interested in ramping or “fun” features. still, i would have to use it to know for sure, and i’ve never used it.

  • overready boss: not exactly sure how build quality compares. for the price, i hope it’s better than ZL. the driver should be pretty efficient, but no clue about overall reliability since there are fewer of them in the wild. as far as i’m concerned, it has by far the most advanced firmware out there. the only issue for me is price.

  • Lux-RC (various models): they make the drivers for overready boss, and their lights are even more exotic and impressive. the price is way worse, however. i could never justify buying one of these, but i would love to have one.

Of course, such a consideration is always subjective. ZL does fulfill a very specific niche. Does everyone need every single element of that niche to be precisely their way? Not necessarily.

These days, Nitecore, Fenix and Olight are making seriously solid, rugged tactical flashlights that can give Zebralight a run for its money in terms of build quality, materials, and emitter choice. Of course, it depends upon the model, because Nitecore, Fenix and Olight offer cheapies too.

Emisar and Oveready Boss are smaller niche / custom flashlight builders. So, I don’t think they’re fair to compare.

By the competition, it doesn’t mean the entire brand has to be better. But take a look at something like the Lumintop FW1A. A single emitter reflector flashlight with Anduril UI. Very solid light, overall. Superior UI to ZL. Pretty much half the cost of an SC64, with discounts applied. ZL is never discounted, BTW.

Firelight2
Firelight2's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 hours 26 min ago
Joined: 04/08/2011 - 15:17
Posts: 4407
Location: California

xevious wrote:
Firelight2 wrote:
It’s even worse than that. From a modder’s perspective, changing the LED in a RRT-01 or FWAA is much easier than changing the LED in a Zebralight.

Yes, the potted electronics of the Zebralight models means it’s a major bear to replace an LED. I know it’s a cost cutting measure to just pack it all up in potting material and leave it up to “send us your light if your LED ever fails, and we’ll replace it for a nominal fee.” Last I heard, it costs almost as much as a new light for that service, so… yeah. Not good.

I haven’t yet tried emitter swapping in a Zebra, but I’ve read about it. From what I’ve read:
  • The first challenge is the lens retaining ring. It’s press fit and flush with the glass. To remove, you have to press the lens inwards as much as possible while inserting the edge of a knife or thin screwdriver so you can lever up the ring. This risks damaging or destroying the lens, and if it shatters while working on it, possibly damaging the reflector. Additionally, press-fit rings like this really aren’t meant to be removed. There is a chance it might erode the socket in the aluminum head. If that happens, it might not stay in place if the light is dropped.
  • The second challenge is the single board containing driver and emitter. In order to make for the most compact possible light, All Zebra flashlights since the SC600 II do not use a separate star. Instead, they have a single board that contains both the driver and emitter. Heating up the entire board uniformly risks other components falling off when you try to loosen the solder on the emitter. This rules out many common reflow methods. The best way to reflow the emitter on these lights is probably a heat gun on a solder reflow station with a small tip that just covers the emitter. Withe driver out of the light, put the nozzle right over the emitter and turn it on until the solder loosens. Then use tweezers to life off the emitter. This minimizes the chance other parts will come off the driver.
  • Also note that because there is no separate star, you’re pretty much limited to the same size and voltage emitter as the light came with. Forget about swapping an XM footprint emitter onto an LE with XP emitter footprint.
  • The potting compound. From what I’ve read, the potting compound used on Zebras is a soft silicone that can be easily removed without damaging the underlying components. I don’t expect this to be a big roadblock to changing the emitter. And in any event, the silicone can probably be ignored since it isn’t on the part you’re trying to reflow (the emitter). As long as you can get to the screws to remove the driver you should be fine.

I’ve successfully swapped the emitter on a DQG Tiny IV, a light that also used a single board with no separate star. Based on that experience I might give it a try on one of my broken Zebras. I don’t think I want to send a broken Zebra back to the manufacturer for service, because I’m not confident they’ll still be around for the long haul.

However, maybe 10 years ago I did send back a defective Zebra for repair. They did repair it and I received the fully functioning light back 3 months later. So I know their service used to be good. I do not know if it still is.

Geronimo
Offline
Last seen: 6 hours 50 min ago
Joined: 04/20/2019 - 19:11
Posts: 204
Location: Ohio

I bought mine from Nkon in May of 2020, it was cheaper that way but took forever. I’ll compare it to my YLP. Now I’m curious lol.matte finish, I prefer my shiny 64w hi lol.

Emisar d1s 3a. ZL sc700d,sc64w hi,H600c,Streamlight tlr1-hl, Astrolux mfo1s 4k/purple. Olight I3t Eos black. Ylp 2m cri.ZL sc64le, k1 xhp35 hi in 4k.

TimMc
TimMc's picture
Offline
Last seen: 18 hours 14 min ago
Joined: 06/26/2020 - 02:22
Posts: 536
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Is there any easy way for someone to verify that their SC64c LE is High CRI?

TimMc
TimMc's picture
Offline
Last seen: 18 hours 14 min ago
Joined: 06/26/2020 - 02:22
Posts: 536
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Firelight2 wrote:
This is because those lights were never advertised or sold as having high CRI leds.

JetBeam RRT-01 2020 is advertised as High CRI on Neals site:
“the Nichia 219C is 90+ for vivid color accuracy.”
https://www.nealsgadgets.com/products/jetbeam-rrt01-2019-led-flashlight

Bob_McBob
Offline
Last seen: 18 min 42 sec ago
Joined: 08/14/2016 - 04:53
Posts: 604
Location: Canada
TimMc wrote:
Is there any easy way for someone to verify that their SC64c LE is High CRI?

Without a spectrometer it’s entirely subjective, but there’s a pretty big difference between CRI 90 and CRI 70. Point it at some vibrant natural and artificial colours, particularly reds, and CRI 70 tends to make everything look very lifeless and muted. Plus the CRI 70 version has a much nicer neutral tint Big Smile

Firelight2
Firelight2's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 hours 26 min ago
Joined: 04/08/2011 - 15:17
Posts: 4407
Location: California
TimMc wrote:
Firelight2 wrote:
This is because those lights were never advertised or sold as having high CRI leds.

JetBeam RRT-01 2020 is advertised as High CRI on Neals site:
“the Nichia 219C is 90+ for vivid color accuracy.”
https://www.nealsgadgets.com/products/jetbeam-rrt01-2019-led-flashlight


That may be a mistake by Neal, rather than Jetbeam.

I notice on the official jetbeam RRT-01 Raptor website, there is no mention of the 219C being high-CRI.

Firelight2
Firelight2's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 hours 26 min ago
Joined: 04/08/2011 - 15:17
Posts: 4407
Location: California
Bob_McBob wrote:
TimMc wrote:
Is there any easy way for someone to verify that their SC64c LE is High CRI?

Without a spectrometer it’s entirely subjective, but there’s a pretty big difference between CRI 90 and CRI 70. Point it at some vibrant natural and artificial colours, particularly reds, and CRI 70 tends to make everything look very lifeless and muted. Plus the CRI 70 version has a much nicer neutral tint Big Smile


Or you can just put it side-by-side with another light of similar color temp that you know to be 90 CRI. When you put them side-by-side the difference between 70 CRI and 90 CRI is quite noticeable.
rngwn
rngwn's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 day 21 hours ago
Joined: 05/17/2018 - 03:44
Posts: 419
Location: 暖武里,Таиланд
TimMc wrote:
Is there any easy way for someone to verify that their SC64c LE is High CRI?

You can just look at the emitter when it’s turned off. High CRI phosphors have a much deeper orange tone compared to its low CRI counterpart when you look at it.

Based on my experience, 4000k 90 CRI emitter phosphors will look clearly orange while the 70 CRI ones will just look plain yellow.

Pages