Just picked up a lightly used (looks new to me) zebralight SC600W yesterday and thought I would give my impressions on it after 24 hours. A bit of background so you know where I am coming from....prior to finding the forum about 2 years ago, thought my MagLight 3D with Mag LED upgrade was about the best thing possible. Got really interested in learning about the high power incandescent mods, but never got around to making one.
Started dabbling in brighter budget lights with a lowes aspheric (can't remember the brand) and a couple AKoray lights. I used the K106 as an EDC for a while, even got a lithium ion battery for it. Didn't like the short run times so tried an K109 but the threads weren't quite right. it worked, but didn't feel right. Moved back to the K106 until it started acting flaky. Finally moved to a ITP A3 EOS which I have been carrying everywhere for a couple years. It has went everywhere and never failed, even after being run over by a large postal truck. Even took it with me to the Boundry Waters (Northern Michigan) last summer.
I wanted something brighter and loved some of the usage stories of the 600 to 800 lumen lights such as the Klarus KT11, but never have cared for the tail cap switches. I tend to carry a light walking with my arm in a natural hanging position, and the tail switch doesn't let me switch modes without readjusting my hold. The Zebralight SC600 was mentioned and after reading about it decided I would like to try one. Considering all my other lights, this was going to be a splurge on a higher end light. About that time, the lights went out of stock about everywhere. I found a member who had a warm version for sale and jumped on it.
The light was waiting for me after work yesterday. I opened the box and my first thought was this thing is way too small to put out the light that I am told it would. Second thought is there is no way that the XML emitter can really be that small. I was very impressed with the fit and finish of the light. I don't see any flaws anywhere. I suppose people who are connoisseurs may find a flaw, but for the average person, I think it is great.
I grabbed a salvaged laptop battery and slid it into the light and clicked it on. It was a very sunny day and I was beside a window with sun coming directly into the shop. Hmm.. it doesn't seem ALL that bright but I could still see the beam. It must not be on high! So I turned it around and looked at the LED. Drat! Now all I can see is spots. This thing is bright! After letting my eyes clear a bit I took it in the house and played around some more.
I took it into the bathroom as it doesn't have windows and compared it to the ITP. I hadn't realized how much that a cool white LED washed out colors. When shining on a colorful poster, it almost looked black and white with the ITP as compared to colors popping out with the zebra. The beam is very nice putting a lot of light over a large area. A large even hotspot with an extremly large corona that lights up almost the entire wall. I know some people have complained about green tints, but I don't notice any. Not saying there may not be any, but for somebody who doesn't really know what to look for, it is not noticeable.
I couldn't wait until full dark, so right at dusk I took it outside and turned it on high. Wow, you could see it quite a ways into the backyard, even though it isn't fully dark. Last night had a pretty full moon with some cloud cover so wasn't the perfect day to test, but still, once the sun was fully down, I could pretty much light up my entire back yard without moving the light. The edge of the property is about 200 feet from my back door and you could see the entire 200' deep by about 100' wide inside the "hotspot" The corona flood was enough that you could tell if something was to the side enough to point the light over there. I could tell the light was going into the field, enough to notice if an animal was moving our there, but not enough to identify it. I compared it to the above mentioned 3D maglight. With the Mag focused as a spotlight, it certainly lit up a 10' diameter spot brighter than the zebra, but there is no way it could light up the 100' radius the zebra did, even unfocused. I think it will be very nice to keep track of the dog at night.
Later on, I was working on some electronics and trying to reverse engineer how it worked (or didn't in this case...) and needed to read the markings on some surface mount ICs. The print was very small and hard to read even with my readers on. I used the zebra on medium low and the warm light was wonderful and made the lettering much easier to see. The Cool white ITP was almost no help. In this case the light was about 3 inches from the part and my eyes about 9 inches away. The even flood lit up enough of the board to easily see and didn't glare like a thrower does.
I would really like to get out in the woods with it. Even though I seem to be easily impressed with throwers, after a single day with the zebra, I think I am really going to like it camping. With the wide beam I should be able to see the ground at my feet to miss stepping in the gopher hole as well as see the trail. With the mag light and other lights I have, I have to keep moving the light around to see everything.
Overall, I am very pleased with it, but darnit, I think it may have awoke a need for more lights.