Foxfury Scout
Page 1 of 5 12345 LastLast
Results 1 to 30 of 137

Thread: Spark SD52 Mini Review

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* Bolster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Mexifornia
    Posts
    1,512

    Default Spark SD52 Mini Review

    This is a mini review of Spark’s new SD52, neutral white version. This is a high performance enthusiast’s headlamp, and unusual in today’s market for at least 3 reasons: (1) It’s a very wide, unreflectored, unlensed full flood light, one of the widest lights on the market at 115 degrees (according to Spark) [UPDATE: An optional aftermarket screw-on reflectored bezel modifies the beam to 18° spot and 70° spill]; (2) it’s a 2AA light, which is somewhat rare; and (3) it puts out a lot of lumens (280 according to Spark, and 300 for the cool white version).

    To me, these specifications indicate the SD52 is uniquely qualified as a work light. Since that’s the main use for my lights, I bought one. Whether you consider a light to be “good” or not, very much depends on your particular use for it. So I want to be clear with my criteria: does the SD52 function well as a work light or not? I will also try to get a perspective for the night hikers, but that’s not my emphasis.

    People like me who work with our hands in dark spaces (whether electrical, HVAC, plumbing, under cars, or setting up camp at night) find we want plenty of peripheral vision to find tools and supplies--or spot rats, black widow spiders, dangling hot wires and nail tips as we crawl around above/below a house. Having no hotspot is a bonus, meaning my eyes don’t have to constantly readjust from spill to spot. Also a broad beam means that when my head is wedged in position under a joist, I don’t have to turn my head or readjust my body position to see the next work over. A “wall of light” means that wherever I may need to turn my eyes, the light’s already there.

    The SD52’s advertised settings of 70 lumens for 7 hours, or 200 for almost 2, were both promising. I have been doubling up Zebralight H501ws to attain 30 lumens for an entire workday, and have been reasonably content with that beam. 30 lumens in an 80-degree beam is very usable in dark spaces (and it can be upped to 160 lumen for about 2 hrs when needed). For hand-work in the dark, blazingly high lumens are actually a disadvantage, so the mid-level 70 lumen option of the SD52 is attractive. On paper, the SD52 appears to be an overall improvement in performance over my dual H501w’s: more lumens, longer runtimes, and wider beam. But the proof is in the using. I had an attic job lined up, so within an hour of arrival, the SD52 went to work.

    Initial impressions: The box was partially crushed; not surprised, as it’s relatively thin cardboard and the package had gone from China to Kansas and then back to California. However the dense closed cell foam packing inside was more than sufficient to protect the contents. The light has a quality feel, more or less equivalent to a Zebralight, but feeling beefier. Zebralight H501w for comparison.







    You load the batteries one button out and one button in, and it doesn’t matter which well gets an out or an in, as long as one’s out and one’s in. Then the cap mates the body with two lugs and screws on; a nifty arrangement.



    The fins make the light look considerably larger than it is; the fins add about 1/3 to the actual diameter of the body of the light. Amazingly the base of the fins are cut along a curve, hugging the contour of the two batteries. It’s a weight-saving detail that goes beyond what I’d expected. The dark anodized bezel is aggressively knurled and threads out easily, upon which you are staring at a bare emitter! Felt much like unthreading and threading a camera lens filter. I wish Spark would consider adding a plano-convex lens option as a screw-on filter, for when less beam spread is needed. That would go a long way toward keeping the night walkers, and others who'd like a more concentrated beam, happy. Spark says that a thread-on reflector is under development. [EDIT: Spark subsequently produced the aforementioned reflector bezel which gives an 18 degree spot and 70 degree spill.]

    The SD52 has 4 levels in its normal rotation, accessible by holding down the button and cycling. The last used level is memorized by the SD52, so it turns on at whatever level it was turned off. A double tap gets you the 280 super mode, but I have not played with that yet, since it's not much more than the 200 midlevel. I don’t care that much about the top level--I care about the mid levels.

    The over-the-top strap is just sufficient to get across my noggin, but I will have to find a longer replacement strap to get it to stretch across my helmet. So for now the helmet mount is the around-strap only. I do not like the somewhat floptical mounting on the helmet without the top strap. When I bump my head on a rafter the light jostles a bit because it’s not sufficiently secured without the top strap. So I'm hunting for a piece of elastic for the top. [Edit: Done, easy, found the elastic at Joanne's sewing supplies for cheap. Now a firm mount on the helmet.]



    Here are some beamshots against my workaday Zebralight H501w. This is a particularly warm H501w, much warmer than others I own, but it was the one within easy reach. It makes the SD52 seem on the cool side of neutral, but even without the comparison shot, I’d have to say the SD52’s neutral beam seems dead neutral to me...not warm, not cool. Others have commented it has a slightly cool cast. First shot is the H501w at 80 lumen and the SD52 at 70 lumen, a little underexposed to show beam pattern and color. You can just see the image of the die in the center of the beam. You’d expect the narrower 80 degree 80 lumen beam of the Zebra to outshine the 115-degree 70-lumen beam of the SD52 by a considerable margin, and it does. Notice how the Zebra’s beam evenness is superior, with very similar illumination from edge to center. Part of that is because the H501 beam's a little overexposed in the photo.



    The next comparison is the H501w on the same 80 lumen setting, but now the SD52 is on its second-higest setting of 200 lumen. Still underexposed to show pattern and color. Considerably brighter than the H501w on 80, but the big difference is how huge the beam spread is. It's around 44% larger than the H501w (80 vs 115) Still, the Zebra spreads its beam more evenly, which is an asset.



    And one more shot of 80 lumen left, 200 lumen right, this time a little overexposed...which better replicates what the eye sees:



    Raining off and on outside, so no good outside photos outside for now. I tried the informal “snake in the grass” test. Night-time, with non-darkness adapted eyes, on dark lawn, at 70lm level, felt I could see enough detail to distinguish a stationary snake in the grass out to around 5 yards/meters. At the 200lm level, I felt I could see well enough to distinguish a stationary snake in the grass out to about 9 yards/meters. This is very subjective. But some CPFers (jokingly) fretted that the SD52’s beam would be so diffuse that you would have a hard time seeing your own feet except on high settings. Don’t worry, you feet are very brightly illuminated with the 70lm and up levels. I’d not want to use the lower levels for walking unless my eyes were well dark adapted. In order to tell if the bottom .5lm level is on or not you have to stick the emitter in your eye. Spread out like it is, it’s exceedingly dim.

    The wide beam is just...fab. For working. Absolutely lovely. Anywhere you look there’s light. The “down in the gopher hole” feeling of a narrow-beam light is gone. No need to adjust the light up and down; wherever you look, it’s lit. Even a Zebralight needs occasional up/down adjustment but not the SD52, it’s a real shotgun. Set it and forget it. I think the much discussed light-falloff issue has been exaggerated, at least for work use--it’s a non issue. Plenty of light is getting on target at the 70lm setting and that’s the setting it appears I’ll be using the most, even though there are two higher settings.

    At the ends of my hands, it's very bright, and that's where I need it most of the time. First shot, which is underexposed, I'm sitting two or three joists back, and holding the camera behind my head (helmet the dark object bottom left). You can easily see 7 joists out...that's over 9 feet away, using the 70 lumen setting. Later, in a darkened room, with my eyes somewhat more dark adjusted, the 70 lumen setting was sufficient to easily see 8 yards away.



    Next shot is on the 200 lumen setting, looking several yards across the attic. The camera lens won't go wide enough to show you the edges of the light.




    The SD52 has been subjected to early criticism, which stems primarily from its potential use as a jogging or hiking light:

    - “2AA up front would be too big/heavy.” If you’e used to a 1AA light, then the SD52 feels like a big light. If you’re used to an 18650 light, then it’s not. Can the SD52 be used for jogging? I wouldn’t use it for jogging because I never jog 7 hours--I’d use a smaller light with a shorter runtime. But could it be used for jogging? If you kept the top strap on, then yes, it sits very tight and secure on the head with the top strap. If you take off the top strap, then no, the light is too heavy at 4 oz and would bounce up and down on the forehead. So I think this is not a light suited to typical jogging, although the angle of view would be breathtaking. On a work helmet? Then the size is almost unnoticeably different from a single AA light, since its 4 oz weight spreads across the whole helmet.

    - “This looks dim for 280 lumens.” I don't have an integrated sphere to test, but part of this may be the old lumens vs lux issue. When you take 280 lumens and spread them out over 115 degrees, the lux (brightness per area) is reduced. It's difficult to compare 280 lumens spread over 115 degrees to 280 lumens concentrated in the 15-degree hotspot of your favorite 2AA handheld, or even spread over 80 degrees as the H501w is. But for some reason, early commentary on the SD52 has focused on its inability to throw. True enough, with its bare emitter, the SD52 not a thrower. If you want lux, you need a focused beam. [UPDATE: Spark now offers an aftermarket SD reflector that does a fine job of focusing & throwing the beam.] But is the SD52 bright enough to function as a good work headlamp? Judge for yourself, attic shots roughly matching what my eye was seeing. It was difficult to give a sense of the wide angle view because my camera could not capture a wide enough field of view. Suffice to say it bathes a huge area with more than sufficient light to work by. First shot at the 70 lumen level, second looking further away with the 200 lumen level.

    Now what about you woodsy owl types...you don’t work in attics or crawlspaces...you like to hike at night. Is this light for you? Honestly it’s not the light I’d take backpacking [UPDATE: With the optional reflector, it now is competitive], because what makes it remarkable is the runtime and field of view, taken together. I don’t think you’d need either extreme for backpacking, and you’d want a lighter lamp anyway. Neither would this be my night hike light, unless I had to hoof it all night long, and even then I’d prefer more light in a narrower beam. When the reflector for it comes out? Maybe then. But for a work light? Well if it proves to be durable, and the runtimes are as advertised, then it’s a workman's dream come true. It was almost fun to spend two hours in a cramped attic today. Near to across the attic, left to right, up to down, I could simply see everything...and that was primarily on the 70 lumen level.

    Sorry the photos are missing. Cox Communications wiped out their FTP service without warning and I lost all my online photos.
    Last edited by Bolster; 11-29-2012 at 08:10 AM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Spark SD52 Mini Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Bolster View Post
    Night-time, with non-darkness adapted eyes, on dark lawn, at 70lm level, felt I could see enough detail to distinguish a stationary snake in the grass out to around 5 yards/meters. At the 200lm level, I felt I could see well enough to distinguish a stationary snake in the grass out to about 9 yards/meters. This is very subjective. But some CPFers (jokingly) fretted that the SD52’s beam would be so diffuse that you could not see your own feet even on high settings. Don’t worry, you feet are very brightly illuminated with the 70lm and up levels.
    what da.... HEYyyyyyyy! that is NOT what i said!! ... lol

    anyway, good review man.
    Last edited by robostudent5000; 11-04-2011 at 11:32 PM. Reason: anyway...

  3. #3
    Flashaholic* Bolster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Mexifornia
    Posts
    1,512

    Default Re: Spark SD52 Mini Review

    No, no, I was referring to the OTHER robostudent5000... but I did get the quote wrong, didn't I. You said you'd need the 70 lumen mode to see your feet, and...I can report you can see your feet very well on the 70 lumen mode. The mode below the 70 lumen is the 12 lumen mode, and it does NOT do much for showing off your new hiking boots, or showing you the ground. So, you were correct. I haven't actually tried walking with the 12 lumen mode, but I can't imagine it'd be fun. The 12 lumen mode is more of a book-reading mode IMO.

    You had predicted you'd not see much beyond 30 feet, and in my quick trip outside I estimated the 200 lumen mode got me seeing into the grass with decent illumination around 9 yards... very close to your 30 feet. So, another good prediction on your part. I will try to get some outside shots with this light. Something a little less subjective, hopefully.

    I sense there is quite a bit of interest in what the reflector will do to the beam, and that the night-hike contingent would be more interested in the SD52 if the reflector threw the beam a little more. Myself, I'd prefer to see a screw-on lens...I'm worried a reflector will add profile...but yes, the lamp would be even more useful if you could modify the beam spread to your liking. No argument there. I wish more manufacturers understood the value of screw-on beam modification.
    Last edited by Bolster; 11-06-2011 at 09:30 AM.

  4. #4
    Flashaholic* skyfire's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    1,762

    Default Re: Spark SD52 Mini Review

    had no idea these were available already.

    thanks for the write up!

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* B0wz3r's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Posts
    1,754

    Default Re: Spark SD52 Mini Review

    B,

    Great review! Looks like a very nice light. Personally, I don't think it would meet my needs, but that's not the point... Clearly it does meet yours, and your review is awesome! Good job.
    What? Me? Derail a thread?

  6. #6
    Flashaholic ryguy24000's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    HR, Oregon
    Posts
    383

    Default Re: Spark SD52 Mini Review

    Thanks Bolster! I was considering one of these for work. The extra run time of 2AA being the biggest factor for me. from the pictures in the attic it would seem a good choice. Glad to here you like it as a work light. I am getting one!

  7. #7
    Flashaholic
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    241

    Default Re: Spark SD52 Mini Review

    Bolster,
    I have to say that this review of yours is very well done. Very unique and real-world perspective, not often encountered in other's writing. I really enjoyed it a lot! IMO, this belongs over with the other flashlight reviews. If it had runtimes added, it might qualify... yes?

  8. #8
    Flashaholic* Bolster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Mexifornia
    Posts
    1,512

    Default Re: Spark SD52 Mini Review

    Thanks, and good point about runtimes. My problem is that all my Eneloops test at 60 or 80 percent when fully charged. I don't know what the problem is. Some are old, but some are new. I'm testing them with a ZTS tester. So I assume my runtimes would not be accurate with my Eneloops.

    Quote Originally Posted by B0wz3r View Post
    Great review! Looks like a very nice light. Personally, I don't think it would meet my needs, but that's not the point...
    Ja, one thing you hope to do in a review is warn those away who would not be happy with it. I hope I gave enough detail that folks can decide thumb up or thumb down for themselves. Just because I like it for work doesn't mean it would be ideal for others with different uses. It is a sort of "extreme" headlamp in some ways, not as mainstream and multifunctional as, for example, an H51w.

    However it could be multifunctional if we had beam modification accessories that would screw in the bezel.
    Last edited by Bolster; 11-06-2011 at 09:30 AM.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Spark SD52 Mini Review

    Nice review. The beam almost reminds me of the H50.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Spark SD52 Mini Review

    Sparks response to my screw on reflector question.

    The screw-on reflector will be available when the final model of SD series is released, which is SD73. The replacable new reflector can narrow down the beam profile which provides some throw beam pattern like ST6 does.

    Sounds good to me as I have the SD52's big brother the SD6-500CW and it would be great to have the option of the slightly more focused beam. Spark avoided my question of when the SD73 would be available. Anyone know?

    Nice review and pics of the SD52 BTW

  11. #11
    Flashaholic*
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    WA, USA
    Posts
    563

    Default Re: Spark SD52 Mini Review

    I really like your last attic photo. Glad lights are coming out that emphasize illuminating wide. When working medium range (5-15 ft), I really don't like looking at a hotspot.

  12. #12
    Flashaholic* Bolster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Mexifornia
    Posts
    1,512

    Default Re: Spark SD52 Mini Review

    Over at CPFMarketplace, Spark has made several postings hinting they are willing to make beam modification devices that the users want. It seems to me (reading between the lines, maybe wishful thinking?) that Spark may consider their ultrawide SD series to be the basis of a "build your own beam" system, since it's relatively easy to reduce spread and add some throw to a floody beam. They say:

    Quote Originally Posted by xyber View Post
    We thought the SD series can meet up with many different needs...still waiting for other ideas from hikers or bikers maybe. Regarding the SD reflector, we are gathering feedback to decide what kind of plan to go with.

    So speak up! Tell Spark how you'd like the beam modified. Maybe we can all get what we want: workers, hikers, bikers, and others. It sounds like any accessories for beam modification would fit across the entire SD line: 18650, 2AA, 1AA, and 3AAA.

    As much as I like and will use the superwide 115 degrees for work, I'd very much like a screw-on option that would give me around 60 degrees for walking (that's similar to a Surefire Saint's beam). That would really multiply the uses for the light. Whether reflector or lens, whichever gets the job done.
    Last edited by Bolster; 11-06-2011 at 09:54 AM.

  13. #13
    Flashaholic* psychbeat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    SF norcal
    Posts
    1,674

    Default Re: Spark SD52 Mini Review

    yah maybe a wide and narrow reflector would cover it.

    the ST6 I have already has a removable reflector and optional frosted lens.

    the emitter is a little more recessed so Im not sure what the beam angle is
    when run without the reflector. kinda fragile to be fiddling with in the field.
    Ive scratched p60 reflectors just playing with them at home

    a white plastic reflector shaped piece would be kinda neat for semi focus.

  14. #14
    Flashaholic
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    CT
    Posts
    170

    Default Re: Spark SD52 Mini Review

    Bolster, Thanks for the mini review, you nailed it! I have one and I love it for work. I think my ZL and a spare battery is going to be my hiking light due to its compactness. The SD is going to be my work light. I do telcom work outside usually during day, but we do on-call shifts and that translates to long nights and sometimes we do night shifts and changing a battery every 2.5 hours or so is a little bit of a pain. As you know, the battery always dies at the worst time.

    Being able to change the beam will also be huge, I might try this for a hiking light if that happens. This definteley has some good possibilities.
    You have to decide what your priorities are and have the courage--pleasantly, smilingly, non-apologetically--to say no to other things. And the way to do that is by having a bigger yes burning inside. The enemy of the best is often the good.

  15. #15
    Flashaholic*
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    WA, USA
    Posts
    563

    Default Re: Spark SD52 Mini Review

    Why so much bigger and heavier than Zebralight?

    Sparks SD52
    Dimensions: 62mm x 33mm
    Weight: 75g

    Sparks SD6
    Dimensions: 88mm x 31mm.
    Weight: 75g

    Zebralight H600
    Dimensions: 99mm x 24.2mm
    Weight: 39g
    Last edited by snakyjake; 11-06-2011 at 11:15 AM.

  16. #16
    Flashaholic* Bolster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Mexifornia
    Posts
    1,512

    Default Re: Spark SD52 Mini Review

    I just weighed the SD52 with cells & strap at 155 grams, and two H501's with cells & straps (which seems an appropriate comparison) at 135 grams. Yep, the Spark's 20 grams heavier. (You could get the Zebras lighter by threading two on one band.) I'm sure the SD52's deep fins cost a few grams.

    I'm not comparing performance between SD52 and two H501's, because I think the more appropriate performance comparison would be against the upcoming H502's, which will spit a lot more light than the H501's, which are getting kinda geriatric, technology-wise. Two H502's would give the SD52 a run for the money; together H502s could be putting out 500 lumen (assuming 250 each); no idea of runtime on that top setting. Again, I'd be looking at the midrange settings, since my needs require runtime rather than big lumens. And for that...we wait.
    Last edited by Bolster; 11-06-2011 at 11:46 AM.

  17. #17
    Flashaholic*
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    WA, USA
    Posts
    563

    Default Re: Spark SD52 Mini Review

    Sparks is more than twice as heavy as ZL...that seems a bit concerning. Maybe a better heat sync for some unknown to me advantage?
    I would understand the AAx2 to be wider, but why the 18650 needs to be that wide is questionable.

  18. #18
    Flashaholic ryguy24000's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    HR, Oregon
    Posts
    383

    Default Re: Spark SD52 Mini Review

    yeah about that heat sinking. Do the lights really need that? Is a narrower light going to have trouble with heat using the higher current XML emitter? Maybe the Spark feels the light has to be this large to stand the test of time?

  19. #19
    Unenlightened
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Burghausen Germany
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: Spark SD52 Mini Review

    Wow, nice review, excellent pics!

    As I am still looking for a decent headlamp, this seems to a nice choice.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Spark SD52 Mini Review

    Nice job, Bolster.

  21. #21
    Flashaholic* Bolster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Mexifornia
    Posts
    1,512

    Default Re: Spark SD52 Mini Review

    Quote Originally Posted by snakyjake View Post
    Sparks is more than twice as heavy as ZL...that seems a bit concerning.
    Just making sure everyone understands that ZL is 1AA and the SD52 is 2AA? That's why I compared one SD52 to two ZL H501's, showing the SD52 to be 15% heavier than two ZLs. But yes, the Sparks are heavier (particularly when you compare the 18650 models--based on your specs above, the SD6 is 92% heavier than the H600!).
    Last edited by Bolster; 11-06-2011 at 12:46 PM.

  22. #22
    Flashaholic* Bolster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Mexifornia
    Posts
    1,512

    Default Re: Spark SD52 Mini Review

    I am wondering why this bezel area isn't white or reflective? (Or GITD? )

    Last edited by Bolster; 11-06-2011 at 01:26 PM.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Spark SD52 Mini Review

    Good question, I think that would be a good idea to be highly polished at least. Looking at my SD6 it appears there is enough material that a reflector could have been built into that little assy. Really looking forward to the accessory screw on piece.

  24. #24

    Thumbs up Re: Spark SD52 Mini Review

    I would just like to add to this review quickly. But first thanks to Spark for the SD52 and Bolster for the review :-)

    Mine arrived yesterday and is the same NW version as Bolsters'. My intended use is as a Camping headtorch, and as that it really does excel on all levels. I have tried it out around the acreage here last night and it fits it's intended use to a tee. With the over the head strap its not too heavy. The wide beam is perfect for area illumination just as Bolster outlined. The lowest mode is even actually useful as it allows me to keep my night vision for those late night trips when nature calls, or even just looking around the tent. And once my eyes have dark adjusted walking and seeing directly at my feet is fine. All in all, a great light that I think will serve me well. I would be interested however is an reflector that would I could quickly attach to make it more useful as a walking light if I went for a night hike from camp.

  25. #25
    Flashaholic* Bolster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Mexifornia
    Posts
    1,512

    Default Re: Spark SD52 Mini Review

    Update because of a strange finding:

    The bezel is robbing this light of some lumens. My opinion, the bezel needs a redesign. I have been working on a lumen estimator project (lumentoob)--it may or may not be giving me good absolute lumen counts (and if it is, then my SD52 appears to be putting out about 25% less light than advertised, on not-so-fresh Eneloops), but I think it's working well enough to give me relative lumen counts. I've noticed by removing the screw-off bezel, measurements are brighter; replacing the bezel loses me about 18% of the lumens!

    I'm sure a few lumens are eaten up going through the protective glass (the lens claims 98% transparency, I can live with that tradeoff), but I suspect many more are lost by the dark anodized cone shaped bezel that fits around the emitter. I had purchased some high-temp white paint and planned to paint the cone portion of the bezel white, but unfortunately the glass in the bezel is retained by a silver press-fit ring that I'm unable to remove.

    At any rate, I hope that Spark can do a modification: either polish the interior of the bezel, or if that causes unpleasant artifacts, then at least paint the interior of the bezel white. I don't think the screw-on bezel should be losing 18% of the lumens. That's getting close to (or is at) visible perception range in a side-by-side comparison.
    Last edited by Bolster; 11-28-2011 at 08:56 AM.

  26. #26

    Default Re: Spark SD52 Mini Review

    I'm late to the party, but thanks for the review!! I'm really after a ZL H502 when they appear, but I almost pulled the trigger on one of these today in amongst the Black Friday madness. Glad I read your review as it helped me realise that although this looks like a great light, it's not the right one for me right now.

  27. #27
    Flashaholic* skyfire's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    1,762

    Default Re: Spark SD52 Mini Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Bolster View Post
    Update because of a strange finding:

    The bezel is robbing this light of some lumens. My opinion, the bezel needs a redesign. I have been working on a lumen estimator project (lumentoob)--it may or may not be giving me good absolute lumen counts, but I think it's working well enough to give me relative lumen counts. I've noticed by removing the screw-off bezel, measurements are brighter; replacing the bezel loses me about 18% of the lumens!

    I'm sure a few lumens are eaten up going through the protective glass (I can live with that tradeoff), but I suspect many more are lost by the dark anodized cone shaped bezel that fits around the emitter. I had purchased some high-temp white paint and planned to paint the cone portion of the bezel white, but unfortunately the glass in the bezel is retained by a silver press-fit ring that I'm unable to remove.

    At any rate, I hope that Spark can do a modification: either polish the interior of the bezel, or if that causes unpleasant artifacts, then at least paint the interior of the bezel white. I don't think the screw-on bezel should be losing 18% of the lumens. That's getting close to (or is at) visible perception range in a side-by-side comparison.
    Ive been wanting to ask you about an update of your experience with the Spark SD headlamp.
    as we know, SB is having a 20% off sale on their Spark products. the SD6 isnt exactly what id hope for. but so far, im leaning towards it, over their ST6 models. (ive given up on ZL on making their lights 2xCR123 compatible).

    ever since i saw pics of the SD models, i also wondered why they didnt put in a tiny reflector, or removed that piece of coated ano. and just have a lens over the LED.
    anyways, the SD6 has a 0.5 lumens mode, which i dont think ill ever use for a higher powered headlamp. the SD6 does seem to be more efficient than the ST6.
    the ST6 has 2 different beam profiles, thanks to the frosted, and clean lens included.
    i like the SD6 for its flood, and form, but should i wait until spark releases the optional bezels? also, why is it so thick? 31mm in width, while the battery size is 19mm at most.

    so i guess my main concerns are....
    how is the headlamp holding up? any issues so far?
    do you find the 33mm width of the SD52 too wide?
    is 200 lumens of 115 degrees flood adequate for most tasks? i love my H501w, but sometimes, i need more than 80 lumens of flood, without it buring my forehead.

  28. #28
    Flashaholic*
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    WA, USA
    Posts
    563

    Default Re: Spark SD52 Mini Review

    Since the bezels are replaceable/upgradeable, I'm presuming it is just a matter of time before Sparks will have an actual "reflector" instead of a dark anodized.
    I'm still concerned about the huge size.
    Wish: 1) Super low beacon; easy find flashlight. 2) Low voltage indicator, so not stranded without light. 3) Simple, one handed control ring mode changer (magnetic control ring). 4) Flood beam for walking/tasks. 5) Pocket carry. 6) LiFePO4.


  29. #29
    Flashaholic*
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    WA, USA
    Posts
    563

    Default Re: Spark SD52 Mini Review

    Given Zebralight's past history, any guess how H302/H602 will compare?
    Interchangeable bezels is why I'm giving the edge to Sparks.
    Wish: 1) Super low beacon; easy find flashlight. 2) Low voltage indicator, so not stranded without light. 3) Simple, one handed control ring mode changer (magnetic control ring). 4) Flood beam for walking/tasks. 5) Pocket carry. 6) LiFePO4.


  30. #30
    Flashaholic* Bolster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Mexifornia
    Posts
    1,512

    Default Re: Spark SD52 Mini Review

    Quote Originally Posted by skyfire View Post
    so i guess my main concerns are....
    how is the headlamp holding up? any issues so far?
    do you find the 33mm width of the SD52 too wide?
    is 200 lumens of 115 degrees flood adequate for most tasks? i love my H501w, but sometimes, i need more than 80 lumens of flood, without it buring my forehead.
    Sounds like your interest is trending toward the SD6 rather than the SD52. But regards your questions for the SD52: The light's still relatively new and no gremlins have appeared so far. In the SD52 thread at SPF Marketplace I've read a couple complaints about the switch, but no problems with mine--although you do need to be quick with your choice as the level cycle rate is fast. Regarding diameter: When on the head you're aware there's more than a Zebralight there, but given it's 4 oz with cells, it's still reasonable. My use is on a helmet where the weight just disappears. Much of the diameter is given over to cooling fins. I've not accidentally bumped it while wearing it, so the profile has not given me trouble. Regards lumens, there have been several comments that the SD52 doesn't look as bright as the lumens it advertises, and I agree, so I'd rely on the beamshots above to give you some idea of relative brightness of the 200 setting, compared to your H501w on its 80 setting, with eneloops. There is no perceptible heat to the forehead using Eneloops with the SD52 design, due to its massive fins. Regards "adequate for tasks," I have to ask, what tasks? Plenty adequate for working with your hands. But how far away do you want to see? And, what will Spark's new bezel design do? It's almost as if the SD series is still evolving.

    Unlike the SD6, the SD52 does not have "air space" in it, unless you count the cooling fins as such. To me it seems a compact and efficient design for a 2AA light (there's always the temptation to compare it to 1AA lights), with the exception of the cooling fins, which I suspect are more than actually needed for Eneloop use. The question any designer of a 2AA light has to wrestle with is: keep the body round for ease of adjustment in a bracket, or flatten it out for efficiency of space, and design some sort of ratcheting system for tilt? Spark appears to have favored simplicity of adjustment and decided to turn the diameter into a feature with the massive fins.

    All comments above relegated to Eneloop usage, 3V at best. This light is rated up to 7.6 volts, so use some IFR14500s and those fins may not be overbuilt after all!
    Last edited by Bolster; 11-26-2011 at 11:25 AM.

Page 1 of 5 12345 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •