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.
Update: Received replacements from Zebralight.
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.
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.
Thank You for investing in a Spectrometer and sharing your results.
negative R9 is a dead giveaway that the LED is Low CRI
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…
Zebralight went downwards after the MkIII generation.
Very interesting Rayoui. Have you contacted ZebraLight about it yet? Curious to know their response.
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.
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.
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?
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.
They should turn them around faster than that for you.
ZebraLight needs to get in front of this.
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.
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.
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…
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.