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Старый 26.06.2010, 00:53 Автор темы   1
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По умолчанию Zebralight SC30 Review (Pics, Indoor Beamshots, Runtimes)

REVISIONS
1/14/2010 - Review posted
1/22/2010 - Headband use added
2/9/2010 - Added additional functions of UI from Off and fin dimensions.
2/27/2010 - Added actual runtimes w/graph

REVIEW
WOO HOO!!! My wife surprised me w/one today as an early B'Day gift (isn't she awesome?)

EDIT: In my exictement, I totally forgot to give PROPS to Tod @ IlluminationGear for getting this for my wife ahead of my B'Day. Excellent service and communication throughout the entire transaction and incidentally, I'm told I'm the first to recieve the SC30 in the US. THX TOD! It's my second light in a month from you guys and it certainly won't be the last!



PACKAGING & CONTENTS

The light only comes with a headband on a black silicone holder. There were no extra o-rings or a GITD holder like with the H501. At first I thought maybe they forgot to pack these but the cardboard insert clearly states:



In the Package:
  • SC30 flashlight
  • Headband
Contrast that with the H501...



Accessories included:
  • One black silicone holder with headband
  • One glow in the dark silicone holder
  • Removable pocket clip
  • Two o-rings
I know times are tough and the economy is still on the mend but for the same MSRP as the H501, they really should have included these. IMO, it's a step in the wrong direction esepcially for a new model launch.




SIZE COMPARISON
AA, SC30 (123), H501 (AA), Lumapower VX Ultra (123), Nitecore SR3 (123):


INITIAL THOUGHTS
While Zebralight is known for their headlamps, I honestly can't advocate the SC30 for use as one with the included holder as is. For one thing the really neat looking cooling fins are extremely sharp:

IMO, sharp fins rubbing over silicone time and time again will lead to a scuffed holder at best and a cut one eventually. The grooves measure roughly 1mm wide by 1.5mm deep so I don't think it can accommodate a standard trit vial.

The extremely stiff tail clip only compounds the problem and would also combine to scratch whatever you try to clip this to (especially a leather belt). I found it quite a struggle to get the SC30 into the holder and had an even worse time removing it. If this light is to be used as a headlamp, a new holding mechanism that allows easy mounting/removal would greatly improve its use as such.

The tail clip can easily be unscrewed but then it'd look awkward, however, it does also leave open the possibility to install a different clip in its place.


UI
The SC30's UI is nearly identical to the H501 in it's basic mode in that there are 3 levels (L, M, H) you can cycle through, where it greatly differs is when you double-click it while on.

From off:
- short click brings the light into instant H, clicking again within 1/4 sec or less will cycle light to M and again within 1/4 sec or less to L and rinse and repeat...
- a long click (1/4 second) brings the light into instant L
- click and hold to cycle from L to H

From on:
- short click turns off the light
- click and hold to cycle from L to H (this is regardless if which level you're currently in, it'll always cycle from L to H)
- double-clicking will toggle it between the low or high for that level. So let's say these levels are:

L1 = Low Low
L2 = Low
L3 = Low Medium
L4 = Medium
L5 = Medium High
L6 = High

Double click at:
L to set it at L1 or L2
M to set it at L3 or L4
H to set it at L5 or L6

So you can therefore customize your light to any combination of:
-- L1,L3,L5 -- L1,L3,L6 -- L1,L4,L5 -- L1,L4,L6 --
-- L2,L3,L5 -- L2,L3,L6 -- L2,L4,L5 -- L2,L4,L6 --

Brilliant! This really gives the light some flexibility of programming without having to go through a ramping sequence. It's so straightforward that anyone should be able to program it very easily. Each step is in memory as soon as you toggle it so in case you accidentally overshoot the level you want to program, you need not worry about restarting it as with some lights I've read about.

LED
The SC30 utilizes Cree XP-E LED which perfectly compliments this tiny light. The tint on mine is a very nice neutral to lightly warm white (see beamshots down below).


A peek at the LED module from behind:


SWITCH
The SC30 utilizes a new switch that is ever so slightly firmer than the one on the H501. The nodules are also slightly larger but I can't see whether this was merely for aesthetic purposes or if it actually serves a function. One thing I did test was to lightly tap on the switch with my finger and occasionally I was able to momentarily light the H501, not so with the SC30.

L: SC30, R: H501


The threads on the tail came pre-lubed and were clean without any grittiness. They are also anodized so you can unscrew the tail cap a little to lock it out. I prefer this over a digital lock out. The O-ring is also QUITE a bit thicker than the one found on the H501. It gives it a bit of resistance when screwing in the tail cap but a little additional grease should solve that nicely. As with the rest of their line-up the tail cap has nice grooves for excellent grip.


RUNTIME & OPERATING TEMPERATURE
Running it on a UltraFire 16340 880 mAh on High for about 10 minutes, I measured the temp at the head to be at 102.5 deg. and the tail at 97.5. It's warm to the touch but not uncomfortable at all. For some reason, the light all of suddenly cut out right after I took the temp reading so I took the battery out to measure v, it was at 0.1 so the PCB tripped for whatever reason. Did a very brief 1 second charge to reset it and took another v reading and it measured 3.41 so it certainly wasn't due to low v. (NOTE: Do you guys know if the PCB protects from overheating? Even so, 102.5 is certainly a bit low to be tripping it no?). I put the battery back in and after only a few seconds, it cut out again. Must be the cell...

On my second test, I charged up the UF to 4.12v. Dumped the light into a cold cup of water...

...and this time it cut out at 14 min 45 seconds. Reset the PCB on the battery and measured 3.91v. I'm not sure what's triggering this cut out. I highly doubt it's due to overheating as the flashlight was cold after removing it from the cup.

I don't have any other brand of batteries to test with so won't be able to conduct a proper run time test for now. I do have some LiFePO4's incoming so will try those when they arrive.

EDIT: Zebralight has confirmed there is no low v protection on this light (reply here) so it was definitely the cell's PCB kicking in a bit early (an assumption backed up by andrewnewman's reply here). Also, please see this post re: run time on LiFePO4's.

UPDATE: 2/27/2010 - I recently acquired a Extech HD450 lightmeter and after playing around with it a bit have finally come up with a format to capture runtimes.

Test was conducted with the 3 different RCR123's listed below along w/relevant data. The anomaly you see for the AW IMR increasing in brightness towards the tail-end of the run was due to me switching a fan on since the light was hitting around 127F, so if anyone needed additional proof there is a direct correltaion between LED performance (brightness) and temperature, there you go. The other two batteries were conducted w/a fan running from the get go.

X Axis (horizontal) = Time (min.)

ZL has posted .9H (54min) as the runtime on Max, the best I could achieve was with the AW IMR @ 37min (and this was with the cell dropping to 3.25v since neither the cell nor light have low voltage cut-off). Would be interesting to know which battery as well as the test conditions used by ZL to achieve their claim.

EDIT: ZL has replied that their runtime figure was based on Panasonic CR123A primary.

BEAMSHOTS
(All shots taken w/ Canon S3IS on Manual | ISO80 | f2.7 | 1/2 sec | Auto WB)

HIGH (L6 | L5)


MEDIUM (L4 | L3)


LOW (L2 | L1)


Now against some other lights...

*Zebralight H501 no reflector (Sanyo 2300 mAh AA @ 1.39v) | Lumapower VX Ultra w/OP Reflector (UltraFire 880 mAh @ 4.09v) | Jetbeam RRT-0 w/Smooth Reflector (UltraFire 880 mAh @ 4.09v) | Dereelight DBS V2 R2 w/Smooth Reflector (Tenergy 2600mAh @ 4.15V) | Zebralight SC30 (not shown here) (UltraFire 880 mAh @ 4.09v) |


Control Shot w/50w Halogen shining at right side closet doors and flash used (12.5' from door, door width w/out frame = 31.5"):


HIGH
DBS, RRT-0, VX Ultra


SC30-L6|L5, H501


MEDIUM
DBS, RRT-0 (has 2 mediums, 2nd & 3rd pics), VX Ultra


SC30-L4|L3, H501


LOW
DBS, RRT-0 (has 2 lows, 2nd & 3rd pics), VX Ultra


SC30-L2|L1, H501


HEADBAND USE
Given most people have been clamoring for a ZL that has more throw than a H501, I've decided to compare the two. Here they are both mounted to a single headband (can we say dorkus maximus... ah the things we do to entertain ourselves and others):


As this is a straight through light vs. the angled H501, one can only mount the light on the left or right of ones head (unless you use a different holder which also has the strap runing over the top of the head). I mounted the SC30 so that the beam is centered horizontally in my direct line of view so in the pic above, it's right around my temple. However, if you set the light too far back (say around your ears) that's where you may potentially receive shadows from your facial profile (in this case, my brow) as well as some slight glare but only if you were looking with eyes towards the side the light is mounted:

Obviously, this'll be different from person to person but just something worth pointing out.

You should be able to obtain a decent range of aim horizontally but vertically will be an issue. To illustrate this, I took these comparo shots so imagine that your eyes looking straight ahead is 0 degree and straight up is 90 degree (if that were possible that is and apologies for fuzziness, these were literally taken w/lights on my head):

H501 0 deg. | 90 deg. to bounce off the ceiling | 45 deg. overhead | 30 degree downards

The point is you could actually accomodate any range vertically from 0-359 (what's wrong with an 180 bounce off the forehead? )

As mentioned, the SC30 will prove challenging to aim vertically at best, I could only manage the range here (approx. 5 degree to 50) by fiddling with the headband:

5 degree (although my eyes are at 0 degree) | 50 degree


And here they are again assisting me w/chores around the house, this time, I'm getting ready to clean up the spaghetti of wires behind my desk.

Control shot (Canon S3 IS on M | f2.7 | 1/2):


H501 (L) | SC30 (R):

In this particular instance, as I'm not focusing on a very specific task, I appreciate the general flood of light of the H501 vs. the hot spot of the SC30 (my eyes are looking straight ahead just below the hot spot in this pic).

There are obviously instances where the SC30 would be preferable, say talking a walk in the woods or whatever other activity where you do require a focused beam of light, just be prepared to look a little lower than usual as it's almost impossible to aim the light downwards with the included holder/headband combo. I know I'm but again, this is where a different mounting system like the one that Fenix has would've come in very handy in order to provide better vertical aiming.

CONCLUSION
As compared to an angled light like the H501, the "straight-thru" beam configuration has limitations when it comes to how you want to angle the light for chores around the house. Here are some real world uses for me...

Getting ready to replace a leaky pipe
In the old days before I discovered the world of high-powered LED flashlights, I would've had to make do with this Dremel using 3 5mm LED's, which would've provided the view as shown:

(This was shot on a P&S so it's actually a little brighter than in real life.)

But of course, I now have two Zebralights to assist me with my chores (SC30 tailstanding on the L and H501 chillin' on its back in the right):


Replacing an AC/DC smoke alarm
I had the SC30 on L4 as my main "spotlight" with the H501 casting supplemental lighting on H.

SC30 throwing its beam | SC30 w/slipper "flashlight holder" projecting from left | H501 providing supplemental lighting from right | Voila! Done!


While the H501 is definitely the single most useful flashlight for daily tasks and is very functional as a headlamp, it has limitations namely in the form of throw where the SC30 has it in abundance. I would consider the SC30 a hybrid of sorts projecting an overall beam not unlike my Lumapower VX Ultra that has a nice sized hotspot and very usable spill. No doubt the OP reflector contributes to this, which leads me to wonder how the throw would be if one were able to switch the reflector to SM?

For its size, cost and flexibility and the ubercool side switch, along with its acceptance of all sorts of 123 chemistries (LiIon, LiFePO4, Primaries), this is a light that really has a lot right going for it. One major feature it has over its 123 clicky competitors (at least ones without a ring selector or twisty) is the ability to easily change levels one-handed with your thumb when holding it underhanded due to the sideswitch (a la Maglite style):


The levels can just as easily be cycled with your pinky in the overhand grip (albeit if you have big hands, this may prove a challenge):


As cited earlier in this review, I just wish they had included the additional accessories as well as an easier means to mount this light to the headband. There is also the matter of those fins (on the other hand, I'm pretty certain that if you clip this to anything with a reasonable thickness, you WON'T be losing this light). Beyond this, I really can't find any shortcomings to speak of. This truly is a great and unique 123-sized product and I can't wait to see what else Zebralight has in store for us!

Cheers,
Tim
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Старый 26.06.2010, 00:58   2
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По умолчанию Re: Zebralight SC30 Review (Pics, Indoor Beamshots, Runtimes)

Отличный обзор, спасибо :)
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