Thanks for continuing to make recommendations here, guys.
As mentioned above, I purchased both the ZL 502d AND Fenix HL30. I have something really bad to say about Fenix, but first, I tested them together, in both close-work situations and outdoor hiking.
For me, the Zebralight won hands down. It was brighter & clearer in both situations, and even though it’s not primarily a long-distance “thrower,” in outdoor night hiking, I could not tell any difference between the 2 in illuminating paths & objects at a far distance. So the “double-duty” possibility of the Fenix was no better than the Zebralight.
Additionally, the Fenix has a hot-spot circle in the middle of it’s spread, while the Zebra is clear and non-graduated all the way through its spread. For me, hot white circles in the middle don’t help with seeing objects at a distance, and they’re actually kind of distracting in close up work.
But if that wasn’t enough to guarantee me sending back the Fenix, this was: impenetrable packaging that made me damage the headlamp before even the first use.
The Zebra comes in an easy open lidded box. The Fenix is enclosed in a plastic blister-pack encased in really thick, uncuttable cardboard-like material. There is no easy open solution - no pull tab or perforations or “open here” peel backs. You just gotta use heavy scissors and cut across the top to remove enough plastic/cardboard to maybe reach your fingers in and pry the rest of the plastic apart - which is what I did. Big mistake! It was so hard to pry open the plastic that when I finally exerted enough finger strength to separate the front & back, the headlamp came flying out, landed on my hardwood floor, and had a nice dent and paint chipping before I even tried it out. I tried to think if there was some other way I could’ve opened the packaging, but the plastic bubble is so skin tight to the headlamp that I was afraid to try inserting my box knife and cutting around the lamp for fear I’d clip the lamp housing for sure with the knife edge.
I’m sure the Fenix people will try to make a case that ultimately I’m responsible for opening their packaging at the consumer end, and therefore responsible for any damage, but I got it from Amazon, and it’s going back for a full refund, no questions asked…along with a 1-star review for packaging. Sorry, Fenix, but that kind of impenetrable packaging is just ludicrous and, when you look at the simple, easy-open box the Zebra came in, inexcusable.
I’ll check out the Sparks also, thanks for the tip.