Review: Zebralight SC600w MkII L2

Zebralight SC600w MkII L2

She glows.

Quick Facts

Place of Purchase Illumination Supply LLC
Date of Purchase/Shipment/Arrival 17 November 2013 / 7 January 2014 / 15 January 2014
Cost USD$95.00 retail
-USD$14.25 w/coupon 'Illumination'
+USD$11.73 shipping via USPS First-Class Intl.

1 x 18650 (must be less than 68mm long)

Switch Type Electronic Side-Momentary
LED Cree XM-L2 Neutral White 4400K (unknown emitter bin)
Lens AR Coated (coated side(s) unknown)
Coating Type III Class I (might mean un-dyed)

Three main levels

  • Each has it's own sub-level
  • Sub-levels are changeable between two or three levels.
  • High Beacon
  • Low-level Beacon
  • Slow Strobe (4Hz)
  • Fast Strobe (19Hz)
Battery Level Indicator
Included Extras

Pocket Clip
Extra O-rings


  • A lot of brightness levels to choose from.
    • Really low low. 0.01lms for half a year.
  • It feels really compact and solid.
  • Waterproof. IPX7 @ 2m, half an hour.
  • Really thick HAIII anodising. You can tell from how well they smooth out the machining flaws. (see pics)
    • Inside and outside. On the threads too.
    • Been taking the pocket clip (really tight fit) on and off for the past half hour. Not a single scratch and no sign of wear on the anodising.
  • Super low, pretty much negligible self-drain.
  • Proper regulation - see runtime testing.
  • Threads come nicely lubed.
  • Tailcap O-ring is a perfect fit. No chance of pinching or gaps.
  • I'm happy to let my girlfie take my bling-light as her EDC now. Just gotta hide this one from her.


  • Can't fit long protected batteries. Just 2mm of tube more...
    • Claimed 69mm capability, but I have some trouble with anything more than 68mm.
  • Imperfections in the machining work.
  • Not mod-friendly.
  • Running on high for more than 5 minutes activates built in hand heater/burner.
  • Side-switch is very indented in the body.
  • Switch action is not completely certain.
  • Battery Level Indicator a big vague.
  • Is not cheap. At all.
Runtime testing:

Using a unprotected flat-top Panasonic NCR18650B (why would you use anything less in such a glorious light):
  • High H1 (1020lms ANSI claimed) [ambient temp at 30~31degC and 45% relative humidity, no airflow]
    • 0 mins - 4.193V, 3.421A
    • 15mins -
    • Gets very hot to touch after ~7 minutes. I'm too scared to run it for more than 15 on H1.
  • High H2a (620lms ANSI claimed) [ambient temp at 32degC and 41% rel humidity, 0.05m/s airflow]
    • 0 mins - 4.191V, 1.527A
    • 15mins - 4.08V, 1.523A
    • 30mins - 3.95V, 1.615A
    • 45mins - 3.85V, 1.674A
    • 1hr 0 mins - 3.76V, 1.725A
    • 1hr 15mins - 3.64V, 1.813A
    • 1hr 30mins - 3.58V, 1.909A
    • 1hr 45mins - 3.48V, 2.028A
    • 2hrs 0mins - 3.29V, 2.363A
    • 2hrs 15mins - 3.09V, 2.537A
    • 2hrs 20mins - 3.05V, Drop down to low.
  • Low L2 (0.01lms)
    • Screw that.

Admittedly useless box pics.

Starting from the top, the lens AR coating is very good.
Also the bezel is within the body itself, a truly flat bezel with no crenelations or indentations. I can only begin to imagine how annoying it'd be to unscrew it and screw it back on. Again, ZL strongly discourages opening up their lights, and once opened, returns and repairs are null and void.

The reflector is very narrow and not very deep at all, at least 25% smaller than a P60 sized reflector and maybe only 60% as deep.
There are absolutely no imperfections, though there could possible be a dot or two of metal or dust. The hole in the reflector doesn't really encompass the emitter die very nicely.
Below is a pic of it in its second lowest mode, 0.06lms I believe.

This is probably my greatest niggle with the light. While the body tube was being machined someone must have done a boo boo with the hole. The anodising goes right over it, so it must have been done before that stage. I have already dropped this light a number of times on various surfaces, none of them have affected the finish at all. They could have at least chamfered the area around it.
A bit hard for depth perception in this photo, but the switch is also very deep, making it less than perfectly easy to click. That combined with the slightly unsatisfying click of the switch make the mode changing experience very average. It is firm, but with very little travel, and less tactile feedback than a standard clicky. Not mushy like a S2200, but that one glows.

Now I know why they call themselves Zebralights.
Look at that finish. It is incredibly brushed to a satin sheen and this runs through the the entire light except on the flat end of the tail-cap.
The specs list the anodising at HA3 Type 1, which probably means undyed, and if that is so, I love the absolute raw colour of it.
No dye mismatch of any sort here.

Knurling is functional and assuring, not harsh on the hands. There's no awkward bits to get your hands around.

The only user-openable end. The o-ring is absolutely perfect. Super thick, but not loose and doesn't get pinched when the tail cap gets tightened.
Threads aren't square but come anodised, lubed, smooth and work an absolute dream.
The negative pole spring compresses flat to save space, but the light can still only fit 67mm length batteries. I currently have a flat-top unprotected Pana NCR18650B. Nothing but the best for this baby. I still wish they added 2mm on battery space.

The line up.

Left to right: Solarforce L2P; Convoy S5; ZL SC600w MkII L2; DQG26650; Nitecore HC50

What else do I need to add?

Beamshots up soon.

Bump for update and questions.

I received an SC600 MKII L2 from the latest IS batch a couple of days ago. It has the best fit and finish (centering of LED, cleanliness of lens/reflector assembly) of any Zebralight I’ve ever owned before, so that’s good. The tint is very good too, there’s a relative shift towards green on the lower modes but it makes my SC52w look bad even on matched output levels (and I thought I’d got lucky with a decent tint on that one). I’d say it’s a 4D leaning towards 5A tint on the highest mode, which is about perfect imo, then moving down to 4C/B and towards 4S on the lower modes.

The beam is noticably tighter than my MKI SC600. The improvements to the UI and PID are nice too.

I’ve also noticed that the switch is much softer than previous versions. Previously I have had an H501w (soft switch), SC51w (soft/medium switch), H51 (soft/medium switch), SC600 (hard switch), SC52w (hard switch). This latest SC600w MKII has a softer switch than any of my previous Zebralights, including the H501w. The click is still there, and I think it actually makes changing modes easier with my index finger when held like a pencil, but for thumb clicking it seems to lack the solidity of my old SC600 and inspires less confidence in the robustness of the switch and reliability of mode changes. Time will tell if I get used to it I suppose. This softer switch has been confirmed by Zebralight to be a consistent update in their future models due to a change made by their supplier for that part.

With regards to the battery indicator, the 1-4 flashes are not representative of the voltage ‘to the nearest volt’. They are an arbitrary measure meant to represent <25, 25-50, 50-75% and >75% charge in a way that is easily understandable to people unfamiliar with li-ion chemistry and voltages.

Thanks for clearing that up.
OP edited.
Though if I didn't know it was only four flashes, I would never know what it meant if I got any number of flashes.

The tint on mine tends toward a golden yellow as I go to lower modes. The big step up from High L2 to High L1 turns it from chrysanthemum yellow to almost neutral white.

Does it have PWM on any of the modes, and does it maintain constant brightness or is it a linear driver?

BTW that annoying song is now stuck in my head…

No pwm on any modes (not sure about lowest low) as far as I can tell using the fan, water and camera methods.

Haven't tested the constant brightness part. No lux meter. :(


Redforest’s comment about tint shifting suggests constant current control not PWM

You could test constant brightness by figuring out battery life, then testing tailcap current at different charge levels, if its constant brightness the tailcap draw should rise as the battery is drained.
Just make sure you use a multimeter that can handle high currents and thick enough wires.

You could contact the manufacturer and ask them :bigsmile:

Totally missed this on their product page:

Not sure what that means. I have studied PID controllers in my university degree and they are generally used in the context of control and response of a system when a change is applied.

I assume it means if the light is overheating it will reduce output to bring the temp down and create a steady state of heat production below the overheating threshold

did it take you 2 months to get it ?


Pre-order and standard ZL production delays. Fastest ever shipping from the US though.

Yes, of course the SC600 (since the first version) is fully flat regulated on all levels and uses current control rather than PWM. Zebralights generally offer the most efficient and sophisticated circuitry on the market, and the SC600 is their flagship model.

Your data is a bit confusing, it looks a lot like this light has a linear/boost driver but the boost is kicking in before the battery falls below vF of the LED, did you pull the battery every 15 minutes to test its voltage or are your numbers voltage under load?
How many cycles would you estimate you have on the battery?

I yanked it out every 15 mins. Hence, would explain the higher voltage.

No more than 50 cycles.

Funny that it has seem to have a linear driver but is able to achieve such crazy efficiency at low levels.

That explains most if it, i think your second data point is higher then expected but your info does prove its a boost driver if lumen output is staying flat.
We are used to boost drivers having low efficiency but i have done some reading and it is possible to have 80% or higher efficiency but the cost is higher, so it seems this is what zebralight is doing.

I’ve never been able to make myself buy this light. Even though I had paid more for other lights. Dunno why.

Thanks for the wonderful review. The photo with SF L2 n Convoy S5 looks great!

I’ve also never been able to make myself buy a SC600. I think it’s because I rarely want more than 30 lm, and it seems like an awful lot of extra mass to carry around for the rare times I want something brighter. Plus, no screwed-on clip so it’s harder to carry. The SC52 is a much more fitting light for me.

It’s still tempting from time to time though.

I’m the opposite of the last two posters, when i can afford it someday i am buying this light