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Thread: Zebralight H50 Q5 1AA - BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES & more

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    Lightbulb Zebralight H50 Q5 1AA - BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES & more

    REVIEWER’S NOTE: This is a quick initial impression review of the Zebralight H50 headlamp (1AA). I’m planning to expand the review after a little field testing.

    This light is fairly unique, as it lacks a reflector or collimating optics – the light is pure flood (with at least a 120 degree beam angle). It is meant to illuminate a confined area evenly, hence its use as a headlamp (although it is more versatile and can be used in a number of ways).



    As you can see, it comes with all sorts of goodies: including a headband, wrist strap, glare shield (for when used as headlamp), and pocket clip. The Zebralight is usually held to the headband or wrist strap by a flexible GITD silicone bracket (an extra is also included). Light is available in both Cree P4 and Q5 editions – the Q5 is presented here.



    The emitter is built right into the side of the light, allowing you place it in various orientations (like in headlamp or pocket light mode). It can tailstand with ease. There’s a round lexan protective coating layer over the emitter.



    The tailcap unscrews to allow you to feed in batteries (1AA - works with alkaline, NiMH, L91 lithium, or 14500 Li-ion). Base of the tailcap has a simple gold-plated spring. Machining marks on the head and tailcap make it easy to grip.



    As you can see, the light is not much bigger than a standard battery. The hard anodized body tube is quite thin and light. For comparison purposes below, I’ve added the Q5-equipped EDGETAC NiteCore DI and Fenix L1D-Q5 to this review.

    Zebralight Weight (without battery or accessories): 18g

    Beamshots:

    Quick and dirty comparison at ~.4 meters from a wall, to show you the different overall spill patterns. All lights are running on Sanyo Eneloops on max.







    As you can see, the Zebralight is all flood. Tint is slightly cooler than my other lights, but the difference is not as noticeable as shown in the pics (the Zebralight is actually quite white in tint).

    Testing Method: All my output numbers are relative for my home-made light box setup, a la Quickbeam's FR.com method. Note that the relative output levels of the Zebralight may not be directly comparable to my other light reviews, since the design and full flood profile required a slight modification to how I mounted the light in the lightbox.

    Runtimes:

    Despite the very floody nature of the Zebralight, my lightbox seems to be fairly accurately gauging its overall intensity. None the less, I’ve left an “*” in the graph legends to remind you that it’s not really appropriate to try and directly compare output between these very different kinds of lights.













    Note: my datalogger shut off at 5000 mins for the low mode alkaline run (i.e. 3.5 days), so I don't know for sure when the light cut off. However, when I checked the light at 4 days, and there was zero output at that point.



    Output Summary



    Note again that my output numbers are an estimate only, given the difficulty of comparing this all-flood light in my lightbox.

    Output/runtime observations:

    • The Zebralight is all flood. Using a protractor, I’d say it has ~125-130 degree beam angle (120 degree with the glare shield on).
    • The Zebralight has a nice selection of output levels on standard batteries, with Lo and Medium being considerably lower than most other lights.
    • Runtimes seems very good for the apparent output levels. Efficiency of this light seems on par with the big names, which is quite impressive.
    • Unfortunately, my datalogger cut-out on the low mode runtime at ~3.5 days (while the unit was still emitting light). When I checked manually at 4 days, the light had zero output. So it seems the stated claim of 3.5 days is very accurate.
    • Although not shown above, I did a low mode run on L91 lithium, and got almost exactly 4 days runtime. Given the price of L91s, you might be better off saving them for higher drain devices or higher output mode use, where they should make more of a difference.
    • Output on 14500 is higher than standard batteries, with no real difference between Lo and Medium. But on Hi, my sample is screamingly bright (brighter than any of the other 1AA light in my collection)! Note that this is in contrast to some other reports of lower output on Hi with 14500 in this light.
    • I seriously doubt the small surface area of the Zebralight could possibly dissipate heat fast enough to not risk damaging the emitter on 14500 on Hi. As such, I don’t recommend you run it this way - and I won’t be doing any runtimes at this level.
    • Interestingly, on Med/Lo the light doesn’t just hit the protected 14500 protection circuit and drop to zero output (like most lights). Instead, light goes into a long “moon mode”. I stopped the run at ~4.5 hours, and it was still producing a low level of light on my AW protected 14500.


    Digital control:
    • The Zebralight has 3 modes, accessed by a twist of the tailcap (i.e. twisty interface). Light comes on Low when first screwing the tailcap tightly closed. A rapid twist off-on and you move to Medium. Another twist and you are on Hi.
    • There is no memory mode, so you always start at Lo if the light has been off for more than a few seconds.
    • I’m not sure how the Zebralight regulates its low modes. If it uses PWM, then the frequency is high enough that I can’t detect it with my setup, or notice it by eye.


    Build, Machining and Anodizing
    • Build quality is top-notch. This light has one of the thinnest layers of aluminum that I’ve seen, but still feels solid. Weight of the bare light is a negligible 18g.
    • Machining is very good throughout, although you can see some machining marks along a band that runs across the top ribbed portion of the light.
    • Anodizing is type III (Hard Anodized), similar in colour to the new Fenix olive green/natural finish.
    • Screw threads are very fine, but performance is smooth and I haven’t experienced any problems with cross-threading.
    • Double o-rings for water resistance.
    • Can tailstand (or headstand for that matter! )
    • The silicone bracket holds the light fairly firmly, but has enough play so you can still rotate the light easily. This means that the light can also rotate on you inadvertently while you are moving around.


    Preliminary Conclusions:
    • A very unique and versatile little light - a true flood lamp.
    • Initial impression is that it is very well made.
    • Excellent circuit design that accepts a wide range of batteries, and has very good pre-set output levels and runtime efficiency on standard batteries.
    • Lacks true low modes on 14500 – and Hi mode is dangerously bright on my sample. However, the light shows an unusual low power “moon mode” feature, even on protected 14500.


    Last edited by selfbuilt; 04-11-2008 at 07:57 PM. Reason: Added lo mode alkaline runtime
    Full list of all my reviews: flashlightreviews.ca. Latest hobby: whiskyanalysis.com. Latest flashlight review: Thrunite TN42.
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Zebralight H50 Q5 1AA - BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES & more

    Thanks for doing this review on a light I was considering. I'm going to order one soon. The comparison with the L1D made me realize how good this is. Your work is great and really informative.

  3. #3
    *Flashaholic* Flying Turtle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Zebralight H50 Q5 1AA - BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES & more

    Great review as usual, selfbuilt. Makes me want to buy another.

    Geoff

  4. #4

    Thumbs up Re: Zebralight H50 Q5 1AA - BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES & more

    Selfbuilt, a great review again.
    Thank you!
    Fenix P1D, L1D, L2D & P2D (all Q5) | Zebralight H50-P4
    Regalight WT1 (second version) | 2 x Dereelight CL1H V3.0 (Q5 & warm white 5A Q2)
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  5. #5
    Flashaholic fasuto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Zebralight H50 Q5 1AA - BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES & more

    Many Thanks, I like to much your reviews.
    I ordered one today :-)

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Zebralight H50 Q5 1AA - BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES & more

    Excellent review and pictures

  7. #7
    *Flashaholic* Burgess's Avatar
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    Default Re: Zebralight H50 Q5 1AA - BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES & more

    Excellent review, selfbuilt.


    Really like your run-time charts. Thank you for your efforts.



    Good Luck on your upcoming trip.

    _

  8. #8

    Default Re: Zebralight H50 Q5 1AA - BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES & more

    Thanks for the runtime info! I've been waiting to see how well it works with the different battery types since it came out. I usually run E2s in mine, good to see I'm getting my money's worth.

    I've been EDCing my H50 for a few months now and really enjoy the beam it provides. It's better upclose than any other light I've used or seen.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Zebralight H50 Q5 1AA - BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES & more

    Excellent review Selfbuilt! Thanks for the runtimes, this light is impressive in this price range! Keep it up Zebralight

  10. #10
    Flashaholic nzbazza's Avatar
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    Default Re: Zebralight H50 Q5 1AA - BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES & more

    Thanks Self-Built for the review and especially the runtime graphs. I was just wondering - do you have a number for converting your relative outputs into lumens?

    A couple of other things, Zebralight have said that the levels are constant current controlled hence this would account for the high efficiency you noted, and the LED lens actually has some TIR elements incorporated to reduce the infamous "cree rings".

    The H50 is definitely one-of-a-kind headlamp and Zebralight have more products to lighten our wallets with on the way.

    Enjoy your holiday!
    Is that a torch in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me?

  11. #11

    Default Re: Zebralight H50 Q5 1AA - BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES & more

    Thanks for support everyone - and the extra info and input!

    Quote Originally Posted by nzbazza View Post
    Thanks Self-Built for the review and especially the runtime graphs. I was just wondering - do you have a number for converting your relative outputs into lumens?
    Well, my method is very similar to Doug (Quickbeam) on flashlightreviews.com, and my lightbox numbers are generally similar to his (maybe a little lower overall). I know he calculated rough conversion factors to lumens for incans and LEDs.

    But I don't have a lot of faith that my simple lightbox accurately reports output differences over a wide range (i.e. I think really bright lights are underestimated, and flood lights are over estimated). So I've shyed away from trying to give lumen conversion estimates.

    Take the numbers for what they are - one particular lightbox run in as consistent a manner as I can.

    And thanks for the heads-up about the constant current - that would be believable given the runtimes. I'm curious to see the low mode, but that will have to wait until I get back ...
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  12. #12
    Flashaholic nzbazza's Avatar
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    Default Re: Zebralight H50 Q5 1AA - BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES & more

    Quote Originally Posted by selfbuilt View Post
    TI'm curious to see the low mode, but that will have to wait until I get back ...
    The manufacturer may state 85hr (3.5 days) but I've heard stories that the lo runtime is actually over 100hrs when using 2700mAh nimh cells.
    Is that a torch in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me?

  13. #13

    Default Re: Zebralight H50 Q5 1AA - BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES & more

    Selfbuilt,

    Excellent review. I really like the Zebralight and can't wait until their new products come out!
    Do you think you could do a runtime test on the medium level with an Energizer L91 Lithium?

  14. #14

    Default Re: Zebralight H50 Q5 1AA - BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES & more

    Quote Originally Posted by adirondackdestroyer View Post
    Do you think you could do a runtime test on the medium level with an Energizer L91 Lithium?
    Hmmm, we'll see when I get back (I'm bringing my last pack of L91s with me, but I may not need them).

    Looking forward to low mode tests - but those won't be until the end of the month.

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  15. #15
    *Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: Zebralight H50 Q5 1AA - BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES & more

    excellent review!!!

    I'm getting much shorter runtimes on high, which my preferred level due to all flood.

    did 14500 make connection without dab of solder on board? my 14500 are flat top and will not make contact. can't put solder without breaking locktite bond. what ever glue is used is strong!!

  16. #16
    *Flashaholic* Patriot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Zebralight H50 Q5 1AA - BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES & more

    Quote Originally Posted by cy View Post
    did 14500 make connection without dab of solder on board? my 14500 are flat top and will not make contact. can't put solder without breaking locktite bond. what ever glue is used is strong!!
    Mine is working with the AW. It's just that the tailcap is cranked down a little tighter.


    Selfbuilt, thanks for the best review yet of the H50. I still can't believe how small this light is compared to every other AA light. I've been using the heck out of mine.

  17. #17
    Flashaholic nuggett's Avatar
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    Default Re: Zebralight H50 Q5 1AA - BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES & more

    I did not know the 50 would support li on batts. Thanks for giving that a go.

  18. #18
    *Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: Zebralight H50 Q5 1AA - BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES & more

    what's the difference between zebralight Q5 and H50 Q5? both with cree

  19. #19

    Default Re: Zebralight H50 Q5 1AA - BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES & more

    Quote Originally Posted by cy View Post
    did 14500 make connection without dab of solder on board? my 14500 are flat top and will not make contact. can't put solder without breaking locktite bond. ... what's the difference between zebralight Q5 and H50 Q5? both with cree
    I'm also using AW protected 14500s. I only have a hard time turning on the light with one of them, likely because it's a bit longer than my others (i.e. it's a issue with the tailcap not being screwed on all the way, therefore not making contact). I can still get it to come on, but it takes a real crank of the tailcap with that one particular cell.

    As the "H50" reference, that's just what was printed on the packaging. I mention it to help differentiate it from future models Zebralight is planning to produce. We all have gotten into the habit of simply calling this the "Zebralight", but they have revealed an intention to make other models (e.g. H30 headlamp with primaries). The H50 currently comes in a P4 and Q5 Cree models.

    Quote Originally Posted by nuggett View Post
    I did not know the 50 would support li on batts. Thanks for giving that a go.
    I didn't think it supported 14500 originally either, but then I saw Mev's report on lightreviews.info, and confirmed it on the Zebralight site.

    But there is one major difference between what Zebralight claims (and Mev confirmed) and my sample: they report the light is dimmer on Hi on 14500 than it is on Med/Lo (which are identical in intensity). Med/Lo are indeed the same on mine, but Hi on 14500 is insanely bright (so bright in fact that I don't believe it is safe to do runtimes at this level, even with a cooling fan).

    Maybe anyone else out there with one of these could chime in with their experience? I wonder if mine is an unusual phenomenon.
    Last edited by selfbuilt; 03-06-2008 at 08:32 AM.
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  20. #20
    Enlightened Philbee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Zebralight H50 Q5 1AA - BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES & more

    Well I was going to try my H50 with a LiIon for you Selfbuilt but it appears to have died after only a weeks use.

    On the lower 2 levels the LED glows faintly green, so low that there is no reflection on a white wall from 1 inch.
    Switching to the 3rd level it flickers before coming bright.
    I've used DeOxit but still the same so have sent an email to ZebraLight.
    Such a handy and versatile little light too so hope it can be replaced without too long a wait.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Zebralight H50 Q5 1AA - BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES & more

    Thanks Selfbuilt! The runtime of the light with alkalines isn't that bad even on high.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Zebralight H50 Q5 1AA - BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES & more

    Quote Originally Posted by Philbee View Post
    Well I was going to try my H50 with a LiIon for you Selfbuilt but it appears to have died after only a weeks use.
    I'm sorry to hear that - I hope they make it right for you quickly.

    I'm hoping mine is an anomaly with its insanely bright Hi mode on Li-ion. Thermal runaway and heat death of the emitter seem a very real concern if anyone were to run it like this.

    But since I plan to use the light exclusively as a traveling companion, I won't be running Li-ions anyway (Eneloop with energizer L91 backup ). But as swxb12 pointed out, alkaline isn't too shabby in a pinch either. ;-)

    See you all when I get back in a few weeks ...
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  23. #23
    Enlightened Philbee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Zebralight H50 Q5 1AA - BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES & more

    My replacement ZebraLight H50 arrived this morning so all is well again, boy did I miss this versatile little light!

    Many thanks to George for the excellent service.


  24. #24

    Default Re: Zebralight H50 Q5 1AA - BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES & more

    Just an update - I'm back from my travels, and got to play with the Zebralight a little more. Didn't really get to use it extensively, but it worked perfectly whenever I did whip it out.

    I find it makes a nice book light on Low/Med when clipped on a shirt pocket. Very handy in my carry-on travel bag when the airplane seat light was burnt out!

    I'll try to get around to the lower mode runtimes soon, but a bit backed up with actual work at the moment.
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  25. #25
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    Default Re: Zebralight H50 Q5 1AA - BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES & more

    Quote Originally Posted by selfbuilt View Post
    Just an update - I'm back from my travels, and got to play with the Zebralight a little more. Didn't really get to use it extensively, but it worked perfectly whenever I did whip it out.

    I find it makes a nice book light on Low/Med when clipped on a shirt pocket. Very handy in my carry-on travel bag when the airplane seat light was burnt out!

    I'll try to get around to the lower mode runtimes soon, but a bit backed up with actual work at the moment.
    +1 Zebralight H50 Q5 is one of sweet lights.

  26. #26
    *Flashaholic* Burgess's Avatar
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    Default Re: Zebralight H50 Q5 1AA - BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES & more

    Just a quick tip to let people know:


    The ZebraLight H50 Q5 is now available from Fenix-Store !


    www.fenix-store.com




    _

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Zebralight H50 Q5 1AA - BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES & more

    Off the track... isnt it time fenix-store.com change it's name ... ooh good idea... let me send a PM

  28. #28
    Flashaholic* WadeF's Avatar
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    Default Re: Zebralight H50 Q5 1AA - BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES & more

    Great review as always Selfbuilt! I've had my Zebralight H50 Q5 for awhile now and I love it. It's a great addition to my arsenal of lights. It makes a great book light for reading in the dark.

    I brought these to David's attention at fenix-store and he decided to bring some in. The long wait when ordering from Zebralight directly was killing me, so now people can get one much quicker by ordering from fenix-store.com!

    I've also seen people putting the extra GITD rubber light holders on the headband and sticking Fenix lights in them. So you can have the Zebralight up front, and a Fenix P3D, etc, on the side for your spot light/high beam.
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  29. #29

    Default Re: Zebralight H50 Q5 1AA - BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES & more

    Quote Originally Posted by WadeF View Post
    The long wait when ordering from Zebralight directly was killing me, so now people can get one much quicker by ordering from fenix-store.com!
    It's good that David is selling them now. But when I bought mine, I paid $55 ($50 plus $5 for EMS shipping), and it got here in under a week. Don't know if that deal is still on, though. (hmmm, just checked, and their website seems to be missing?)

    I've also seen people putting the extra GITD rubber light holders on the headband and sticking Fenix lights in them. So you can have the Zebralight up front, and a Fenix P3D, etc, on the side for your spot light/high beam.
    That must make for a funny looking contraption on your head. But it's a good point - you could use the extra GITD holders for additional lights. The P3D is a bid of a tight squeeze, but it does fit ...
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  30. #30
    Enlightened REDLINEVUE's Avatar
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    Default Re: Zebralight H50 Q5 1AA - BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES & more

    Does anyone know if you can get this thing wet?? I have read a few reviews and even went to both the zebra and fenix site... neither mention anything about water resistance... or proofing? any ideas?

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