I was looking at REI's list of headlamps, and I saw the usual list of brands there, such as Princeton Tec, Petzl, Black Diamond, Mammut, etc. I looked at a few of these headlamps ranging in price from $69.99 to $430. I didnt bother with the cheaper ones. One thing I am still seeing with these brands of headlamps is that they dont ever seem to mention the brand of LED's they use in ANY of their products. I looked at the $430 Petzl Ultra headlamp, thinking that for sure it will have several Cree XP-G or XM-L's for THAT price, but nope......... All they say is what they always say.. "Comes equipped with high output LED's", but they never elaborate on what that means. The $69-$99 models I looked at mostly come with the cheap 5mm LED's and 1 "High output" LED.
The Petzl Ultra has its own fairly large, rechargeable Li-Ion battery pack that costs $200! But on high, its max brightness is 350L and the larger Li-Ion battery pack goes dead in 120 minutes on high... Thats not too good for a $430 headlamp with a larger $200 Li-Ion battery pack!
Then there's the Mammut Lucido X-zoom, which cost $100, runs on 3 -AA batteries, with a "high flux" LED and its high is 100 lumens, and the 3 AA batteries run dead in only 120 minutes on 100L....
For $150 you can get the Princeton Tec Apex rechargeable, which has its own medium sized Li-Ion battery pack that allows its "MaxBright" LED to run at 200L for 5 hours. Thats a little better than the others at least. It also has 4 of the wonderful 5mm LED's too. The ones that look blue all the time. Most of these lights have those 5mm LED's, some times alongside the "High Output" LED's.
But the thing is, the higher end flashlight manufacturers are getting into the headlamp game, and that means they are installing top quality Cree LED's into THEIR headlamps, and better circuitry, etc. Just look at the Zebralight headlamps. They are cheaper than many of the headlamps made by Princeton Tec, Petzl, Mammut, Black Diamond, and in some cases they are MUCH cheaper, but they come with much better components, circuitry, and they are probably built tougher too. They are also much brighter and have much better battery life due to much better LED's which are more efficient.
So whats taking these other larger name headlamp companies to "get with the program"?