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Thread: New Headlamp: Armytek Tiara A1 v2 XP-L vs Zebralight H53W or Other? 14500/AA or 18650

  1. #1

    Default New Headlamp: Armytek Tiara A1 v2 XP-L vs Zebralight H53W or Other? 14500/AA or 18650

    I'm a 4-season outdoors person (backpacking, trail running, bicycling, kayaking, snowshoeing/skiing) looking to replace my old headlamp which after many good years of use got badly damaged. Which isn't all bad given that LED tech has far advanced to the point where a new headlamp will provide much more light and better battery life.

    I'd sincerely appreciate your advice given my use:
    -I prefer a neutral or warm white to cold blue white
    -I prefer a beam with a mix of spot and flood - so not all flood and not all spot
    -I most value battery life the following settings: 1-2 lumens for around camp near-vision tasks; 60ish lumens for night walking/hiking on familiar smooth trails; 120+ish lumens for hiking and running on unfamiliar/rougher trails (roots and rocks) and occasionally a high lumen burst to quickly discern detail or find a trail.
    -Prefer a headlamp + battery combo that will offer roughly 60 and 120 lumen levels for +8 hours
    -Nice to have strobe to help a friend find me at night, but not absolutely essential
    -Up to now I've used Eneloop rechargeable batteries and Lithium Energizer batteries (the latter especially in cold weather)

    The headlamps I'm currently looking at:
    -Zebralight H53w, warm white, the successor to the Zebralight H52w, which uses AA or 14500 batteries
    -Armytek Tiara A1 v2 XP-L, warm white, recommended by a friend who described it as a higher quality Zebralight, also uses AA or 14500 batteries
    -Other Zebralight (like H600 series) or Armytek models (like Wizard) that use 18650 batteries
    -Black Diamond Spot headlamp, uses 3 AAA batteries, no idea what the color temperature of the beam is like

    Questions:

    1) How do Zebralight and Armytek compare for quality, reliability and customer service?

    2) Which of the above lights do you recommend based on reliability, beam pattern, color temperature, good battery life at 60 lumens and 120 lumens and ease of use? Which other Zebralight or Armytek or other company's headlamp models would you recommend?

    3) I've heard of reviews that say the Armytek headlamps are complicated to use, with frustration about resetting them when switching battery types. Is this true? Is resetting in the field very difficult or time-consuming?

    4) Which battery type do you recommend, 18650 or 14500/AA, and why?

    5) What's the color temperature of the Black Diamond Spot headlamp - cold-bluish white or warm white range?

    Thank you!

    [Just edited the above to note higher lumens for running at night or hiking on unfamiliar rougher trails and a preference for headlamp and battery combos that offer +8 hours at 60 and +120 lumens]
    Last edited by mountainwalker; 10-07-2017 at 12:06 PM.

  2. #2
    Flashaholic Keitho's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Headlamp: Armytek Tiara A1 v2 XP-L vs Zebralight H53W or Other? 14500/AA or 1

    I don't have personal experience with Armytek, so I'll talk about ZL:

    1) ZL's have been great for me. Out of a half-dozen lights, I had to return one AA headlamp (a 502pr) with infant morality; few weeks turnaround, no questions asked. In the US, returns go to TX, then to China (I think), then back to TX. Email replies are quick and professional. The warranty is 1 year, and I've heard its a pretty standard $15 fee for repairs after that. I use my ZL's pretty hard--biking and EDC--the potted electronics and other construction seems to have held up well.

    2) To me, the big choice is between 18650 and AA, and I make that choice based on the runtime I'll need on a given adventure. I bring the 18650 H600Fw if the runtime demand will be greater than my H502 with a spare Eneloop will handle. My ZL's are not the latest models, but if I were shopping now for my uses, I'd go higher CRI, floody (H53Fc, H600Fw; I might wait to see if they come out with an H600Fc).

    4) I go AA Eneloops when I can, based on runtime--personal preference to have headlamps as light as possible. If I think I'll need more runtime than 2 Eneloops will allow, I go 18650.

    Best of luck!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: New Headlamp: Armytek Tiara A1 v2 XP-L vs Zebralight H53W or Other? 14500/AA or 1

    I don't prefer (but also don't hate) the ZL UI as it is too easy for me to jump to the highest mode initially. Personally I prefer the none pro AT headlamps as the UI is simpler. I have the Tiara A1 pro though prefer the Primes A1 not pro UI which is the same as the Tiara A1 not pro.
    The TK20. Yes it still rocks.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: New Headlamp: Armytek Tiara A1 v2 XP-L vs Zebralight H53W or Other? 14500/AA or 1

    I've got an Armytek Wizard Pro and don't find it remotely complicated to use, unless one might be comparing it with legacy lights that are basically just full on and full off. I'd expect the Tiara's interface to be about the same.

    Batteries are subjective to need. And I'm not enough of a battery guru to label the ins and outs of all the different types. A lot of people seem to prefer lights that use traditional cells, like AA, or at least work off non-rechargeables. I think that's because they fear recharging won't be an option in case of power failure and conventional AA's might be easier to find or even safer to carry. Personally, I've always preferred rechargeables, for the convenience, not to mention affordability, as high drain lights will deplete a battery relatively quickly. 18650 is the most common and easy to find support for, so that's what I use mostly. Most 18650 lights will also run off a pair of 123 rechargeables or non-rechargeables too, but that gets expensive, if you use a light for every day carry in your profession, like law enforcement or EMS and they're still not as easy to find in stores as Alkaline batteries. So, rechargeable 18650 are all I buy. Should I ever feel the need, I'll buy a solar powered charger.

    You might want to add Skilhunt to your list. It's a heck of a deal right now at only about $30 shipped through Best Gear (there's a discussion thread here with coupon code, or you could sign up for their mailing list and they'll send you their new codes at least once per week). Wowtac (aka Atactical) headlamps sell on amazon for 20-30 dollars, which a lot of people seem to be impressed with for the money. The Armytek's are fairly budget friendly considering their build and 10 year warranty. But, if you don't live in Canada, I don't know how hassle free claims might be. Their headlamps also advertise a 10 meter (roughly 33 feet) impact resistance and water proof up to 30 meters I believe. No other headlamp manufacturer even comes close to those claims - most are only 1.5 meters impact and 3 meter submerged. Whether Armytek actually holds up to that degree of abuse is anybody's guess it seems. But, at the very least, one would expect their warranty to cover just about anything as a result. That said, buying something cheaper, like two Skilhunts or Wowtacs, to have a backup, might be the better gamble, if you aren't looking for the brightness of their Wizard Pro with XHP50.

    I think Skilhunt and Armytek will have better throw than Zebralight based on the design of their lens and a video comparison I saw online a few weeks ago while headlight hunting myself. So, they may have that best compromise between throw and flood you say you're looking for. But, Nitecore's headlamp and Wowtac's would probably be the ones to beat for throw alone, as they don't appear to use diffusing lenses. Their reflectors look more like a standard light: mirrored bowl with a crystal clear lense.

    I can't imagine walking trails at 60 lumens (I prefer at least 300-400, which is about what the Wizard will do in standard high mode, whether you get the new version with XHP50 or the older version). The Armytek Wizard Pro has enough modes it should satisfy all your needs, including several moonlight modes in addition to several standard modes, then 2 turbo and special modes. I think strobe is one of the specials, which, as I see it, you don't need just to get someone's attention at night, unless you're trying to stand out amongst other lights.

    I subjectively prefer Armytek's white light for the added sense of brightness and find it far more neutral than blue. But most people seem to prefer Armytek's warm light for what they often label color accuracy, but I'd argue that it's more yellow than their white lights are blue and thus its hue is saturating primaries in the same way wearing polarized amber sunglasses might, but to subtler effect - regardless, it would be more comparable in spectrum to traditional incandescent lighting and firelight.
    Last edited by Chad Varnadore; 10-06-2017 at 06:44 PM.

  5. #5

    Default Re: New Headlamp: Armytek Tiara A1 v2 XP-L vs Zebralight H53W or Other? 14500/AA or 1

    I haven't tried the Zebralight UI yet personally. It obviously offers a lot of options, although I keep in mind that's not what all users are looking for. They're probably the most popular brand of headlamps overall among users of this site, with few quality complaints.

    I was concerned the Armytek Pro UI might be a bit confusing when I bought my Tiara Pro, but I actually find it very easy to use.

    Some users have had issues with Armytek that I think are mostly design bugs that needed resolving, rather than build-quality issues. I've had no trouble with mine. By all accounts, they are extremely durable lights, which you can tell when you hold one.

    They are heavier and bulkier than the Zebralights, however, and I think slightly less efficient. Also, Zebralight has more high-CRI options, which is a big plus in my book. Even their standard version, the H53w that you're looking at, is specified as and reported to have pretty decent color rendering.

    I don't think the Black Diamond Spot is regulated, so it will presumably dim significantly over time as the battery voltage declines. That had been a long running frustration for me with the lights available at most brick and mortar stores. I think it's roughly daylight tint (neutral to slightly cool), but it's been a while since I handled one. If there is an REI near you, they're very likely to have that model on display for you to look at.

    You sound like you'd get by just fine with a 1xAA-powered headlamp, which are roughly equivalent in total lumen-hours output to 3xAAA powered lights, but if you want to do multi-day trips without much concern for battery life, the Armytek Wizard or Zebralight H600w Mk III are certainly good options. It's a matter of whether you prioritize output and runtime (18650-powered lights) or small size and weight (AA or CR123A powered).

    Another light that's really caught my attention is the Manker E03H, mainly because it has an emitter with an excellent reputation for really good color rendition (at a slight cost to efficiency) at a good price. However, it's not been on the market long enough for its reliability to be known, so I suggest this as a potential second light if you want a backup. I'd hesitate to suggest trying it as your primary light until it's had time to prove itself.

    Regarding this part:
    3) I've heard of reviews that say the Armytek headlamps are complicated to use, with frustration about resetting them when switching battery types. Is this true? Is resetting in the field very difficult or time-consuming?


    The AA-powered Armyteks can run off of a AA batteries in the regular voltage range (from 1.2V NiMH batteries to 1.6V lithium primaries) or 3.7V lithium-ion powered batteries. Because the latter can be ruined and possible even become a fire risk if discharged to too low of a voltage, Armytek has the option to set the Tiara Pro to shut down if the voltage gets too low. This isn't generally a problem, but I remember one user here ran into an issue when he accidentally activated this feature, which takes a specific sequence of button pushes.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: New Headlamp: Armytek Tiara A1 v2 XP-L vs Zebralight H53W or Other? 14500/AA or 1

    Quote Originally Posted by iamlucky13 View Post
    I haven't tried the Zebralight UI yet personally. It obviously offers a lot of options, although I keep in mind that's not what all users are looking for. They're probably the most popular brand of headlamps overall among users of this site, with few quality complaints.

    I was concerned the Armytek Pro UI might be a bit confusing when I bought my Tiara Pro, but I actually find it very easy to use.

    Some users have had issues with Armytek that I think are mostly design bugs that needed resolving, rather than build-quality issues. I've had no trouble with mine. By all accounts, they are extremely durable lights, which you can tell when you hold one.

    They are heavier and bulkier than the Zebralights, however, and I think slightly less efficient. Also, Zebralight has more high-CRI options, which is a big plus in my book. Even their standard version, the H53w that you're looking at, is specified as and reported to have pretty decent color rendering.

    I don't think the Black Diamond Spot is regulated, so it will presumably dim significantly over time as the battery voltage declines. That had been a long running frustration for me with the lights available at most brick and mortar stores. I think it's roughly daylight tint (neutral to slightly cool), but it's been a while since I handled one. If there is an REI near you, they're very likely to have that model on display for you to look at.

    You sound like you'd get by just fine with a 1xAA-powered headlamp, which are roughly equivalent in total lumen-hours output to 3xAAA powered lights, but if you want to do multi-day trips without much concern for battery life, the Armytek Wizard or Zebralight H600w Mk III are certainly good options. It's a matter of whether you prioritize output and runtime (18650-powered lights) or small size and weight (AA or CR123A powered).

    Another light that's really caught my attention is the Manker E03H, mainly because it has an emitter with an excellent reputation for really good color rendition (at a slight cost to efficiency) at a good price. However, it's not been on the market long enough for its reliability to be known, so I suggest this as a potential second light if you want a backup. I'd hesitate to suggest trying it as your primary light until it's had time to prove itself.

    Regarding this part:

    [/B]
    The AA-powered Armyteks can run off of a AA batteries in the regular voltage range (from 1.2V NiMH batteries to 1.6V lithium primaries) or 3.7V lithium-ion powered batteries. Because the latter can be ruined and possible even become a fire risk if discharged to too low of a voltage, Armytek has the option to set the Tiara Pro to shut down if the voltage gets too low. This isn't generally a problem, but I remember one user here ran into an issue when he accidentally activated this feature, which takes a specific sequence of button pushes.
    That would be me. I didn't have a 14500 on hand so needed to put two AA together then jump it with wire. Running a protected 14500 would help mitigate the over discharge issue with the none pro version though an experienced user knows when to change the battery. One really good thing about the AT UI is the memory mode which I believe both versions have. Right now I have a C1 Prime on hand for my EDC and it comes on at the same mode I last used which is nice. The Primes and headlamps share the same UI if memory is correct so that makes them a good combo deal as often I carry a headlamp and flashlight.
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: New Headlamp: Armytek Tiara A1 v2 XP-L vs Zebralight H53W or Other? 14500/AA or 1

    "Some users have had issues with Armytek that I think are mostly design bugs that needed resolving, rather than build-quality issues. I've had no trouble with mine. By all accounts, they are extremely durable lights, which you can tell when you hold one."

    From my research, what problems Armytek has seems to be less about design and more a problem with inconsistent replication or quality control, which every Chinese manufactured light has and most others for that matter. But, Armytek, for whatever reason, seems to inspire more distain when they have problems than most other brands, possibly because of more of their customers expecting a trouble-free product due to their extreme durability claims, or possibly because they do indeed have bigger issues with QC than others. The only design issue I've had with my Wizard Pro is with the magnetic charging being unacceptably slow and very unreliable (can't seem to get it to charge the battery fully). The charging is borderline worthless, but not a deal breaker considering the lights many other perks. If I didn't want the added brightness of the XHP50, I'd likely have gone with their older Wizard or an Elf, since I prefer 18650 lights. For XHP50 headlamps, the Wizard Pro and Olight are the only options I'm aware of. The Olight is supposed to be brighter in turbo, but the Wizard is supposed to do a better job with thermal regulation, in addition to claiming far greater durability and deeper submersion.

    The light in our inground pool has been out for years and we haven't wanted to drain the pool just to change the bulb. Next summer, I might try dropping the Wizard in the bottom to see how it does.
    Last edited by Chad Varnadore; 10-07-2017 at 07:43 PM.

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    Default Re: New Headlamp: Armytek Tiara A1 v2 XP-L vs Zebralight H53W or Other? 14500/AA or 1

    Quote Originally Posted by mountainwalker View Post
    2) Which of the above lights do you recommend based on reliability, beam pattern, color temperature, good battery life at 60 lumens and 120 lumens and ease of use? Which other Zebralight or Armytek or other company's headlamp models would you recommend?



    4) Which battery type do you recommend, 18650 or 14500/AA, and why?


    an 18650 has 3-4 times the capacity of a single AA cell or 14500 LiIon cell. If you need 8+ hours at 120 lumens, I believe that you will HAVE to go the 18650 route, or replace AA cells during the night (probably twice)
    My Grand Kids call me Poppy

  9. #9

    Default Re: New Headlamp: Armytek Tiara A1 v2 XP-L vs Zebralight H53W or Other? 14500/AA or 1

    Quote Originally Posted by Poppy View Post
    [/B]
    an 18650 has 3-4 times the capacity of a single AA cell or 14500 LiIon cell. If you need 8+ hours at 120 lumens, I believe that you will HAVE to go the 18650 route, or replace AA cells during the night (probably twice)
    Poppy you are absolutely right. After a scan of some Zebratek, Armytek and Thrunite headlamps it appears to be able to get through +8 hours at about 120 lumens it's either a single AA like a Zebralight H53w plus an extra battery, or an 18650 model. I may get one of each.

  10. #10

    Default Comparison & beamshots: Zebralight H53W, Armytek Tiara A1 v2 XP-L, Thrunite TH20?

    For single AA headlamps, anyone compare the Zebralight H53w, Armytek Tiara A1 v2 XP-L warm white and Thrunite TH20?


    Anyone have a link to side by side beamshots of these models?


    Are there low battery indicators on these headlamps?


    How is Zebralight H53w runtime on Energizer Lithium compared with Sanyo Eneloop AA?

  11. #11

    Default Recommended 18650 Zebralight & Armytek for backpacking? Which batts & charger?

    For 18650 models, which Zebralight and Armytek models do you recommend based on my criteria?

    Which 18650 battery models do you recommend?


    Which lightweight chargers do you recommend for 18650 batteries that are appropriate for travel/backpacking?

    Thank you for the info and suggestions they are really helping me narrow things down.



  12. #12
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    Default Re: Recommended 18650 Zebralight & Armytek for backpacking? Which batts & charger?

    Quote Originally Posted by mountainwalker View Post
    For single AA headlamps, anyone compare the Zebralight H53w, Armytek Tiara A1 v2 XP-L warm white and Thrunite TH20?


    Anyone have a link to side by side beamshots of these models?


    Are there low battery indicators on these headlamps?


    How is Zebralight H53w runtime on Energizer Lithium compared with Sanyo Eneloop AA?

    Maukka has two reviews on this board comparing the Wizard Pro, a couple Olights, a Zebralight, and the Skilhunt. One is focused more on the Wizard Pro and one is focused more on the Olight H2R. But I believe the comparison graphs and beamshots are the same in each review. Each should be easy to find with the site's search engine. I've also found video reviews on youtube comparing some of those, in addition to the non-pro wizard. But I don't recall seeing much on the Armytek Elf or Tiaras, possibly because I wasn't really looking in the case of the later.


    Quote Originally Posted by mountainwalker View Post
    For 18650 models, which Zebralight and Armytek models do you recommend based on my criteria?

    Which 18650 battery models do you recommend?


    Which lightweight chargers do you recommend for 18650 batteries that are appropriate for travel/backpacking?

    Thank you for the info and suggestions they are really helping me narrow things down.


    All Armytek 18650 based headlamps include a battery. I don't know what battery might be most recommended for Zebralight.
    Last edited by Chad Varnadore; 10-08-2017 at 10:56 AM.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Recommended 18650 Zebralight & Armytek for backpacking? Which batts & charger?

    Thank you Chad. Heard of them just today but not familiar - does Skilhunt make good quality headlamps? Which of their models might be closest to the Zebralight H600w or H53w?

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    Default Re: Recommended 18650 Zebralight & Armytek for backpacking? Which batts & charger?

    Quote Originally Posted by mountainwalker View Post
    Thank you Chad. Heard of them just today but not familiar - does Skilhunt make good quality headlamps? Which of their models might be closest to the Zebralight H600w or H53w?
    It seems like the H03 is about the only Skilhunt headlamp model still in production. It's also the only one I ever see on sale at Banggood and GearBest. I absolutely loved mine. Due to the utter utility of the design, it turned into my most useful and most used light, almost overnight - which I really didn't expect when I initially ordered it. That is, until I dropped it about 5 feet onto a concrete floor and it stopped working. If it didn't fall on concrete and didn't hit right on the head, I'd speculate it'd still be running smooth. But I don't know that for sure. In the months that I used it (daily), it never gave me a bit of trouble. For $30-$35 I'd definitely buy it again and probably will if the Armytek I replaced it with (at 3x the price, which I could only really justify due to their durability claims and how much I'd come to depend on this type of light) doesn't prove any more durable.

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    Flashaholic* Derek Dean's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommended 18650 Zebralight & Armytek for backpacking? Which batts & charger?

    In case you'all didn't see it, Armytek has the Tiara A1 V2 with Xm-L LED for $30 (50% off). I just got six of them to give as holiday gifts, and I'm very impressed with the build quality. The sale applies to other older model lights as well and goes through Friday 10-13-17. See the Armytek website for details.

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    Default Re: Recommended 18650 Zebralight & Armytek for backpacking? Which batts & charger?

    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Dean View Post
    In case you'all didn't see it, Armytek has the Tiara A1 V2 with Xm-L LED for $30 (50% off). I just got six of them to give as holiday gifts, and I'm very impressed with the build quality. The sale applies to other older model lights as well and goes through Friday 10-13-17. See the Armytek website for details.
    Could you please weigh the Tiara A1 V2 with Xm-L LED ? I'm interested in weight with holder/headband but without batteries.

  17. #17
    Flashaholic* Derek Dean's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommended 18650 Zebralight & Armytek for backpacking? Which batts & charger?

    Quote Originally Posted by zorobabel View Post
    Could you please weigh the Tiara A1 V2 with Xm-L LED ? I'm interested in weight with holder/headband but without batteries.
    Sure: 89.7 grams for the light, rubber holder, and headband, with no battery inside.

    I really like this little light. It just oozes quality, and I know my co-workers are really going to dig these little jewels. BTW, I did add a 1/2 minus green (magenta) filter to the front of each light to lessen the green, and now they are all a nice neutral white tint.

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    Default Re: Recommended 18650 Zebralight & Armytek for backpacking? Which batts & charger?

    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Dean View Post
    Sure: 89.7 grams for the light, rubber holder, and headband, with no battery inside. I really like this little light. It just oozes quality, and I know my co-workers are really going to dig these little jewels. BTW, I did add a 1/2 minus green (magenta) filter to the front of each light to lessen the green, and now they are all a nice neutral white tint.
    Thank you!

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Recommended 18650 Zebralight & Armytek for backpacking? Which batts & charger?

    For outdoors, you may need more horsepower, or, if you like to go with low light levels, greater runtimes if you are out for long durations. For this reason I'd recommend 18650 much for the same reasdons Poppy mentions above.

    I have a Fenix (HP12 i think), an Armytek (Wizard), and a few Zebralights (H602w, H600w, H502w, H53c).

    The Armyteks spec out as tougher than the Zebralights, but I have had issues with them. I only have one Wizard, but i had to go through four total to get the working one. If you decide to go that route, get an older model that has tried technology. I can't say anything but good things about Zebralights. I had a problem with my first headlamp, but it happened shortly before the warranty was about to end and they fixed it fairly quickly. On the other hand, i still have a wizard that i haven't hassled with their warranty process yet to get it fixed. The one thingf i really like about the Armyteks headlamps is the magnetic tailcap. I am experimenting with gluing some magnets on my Zebralights.

    Presently, i generally will carry a 18650 Headlamp (typically my H602w) and couple it with something that throws as my EDC. The AA lights are so small that they are pretty easy to have as a back-up, but they are better for reading or very close-up work IMO.

    Another point on the newer AA headlamps by Zebralight is that they dropped 14500 support AND they aren't as small as the older versions (H53 versus H52 or H502). I wish they hadn't done that, i really like the option of the short turbo in that small light if needed.

    One last thing, Zebralight is coming out with a new wave of Hi-CRI headlamps on 12/15. If that is important to you (i am excited about it), then I'd get one of those. They are supposed to be brighter too, but their website has the H604c & H604d as the same brightness which can't be right they also have the same levels listed for their less floddy versions. In addition, they don't have runtimes listed yet.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Recommended 18650 Zebralight & Armytek for backpacking? Which batts & charger?

    Quote Originally Posted by MX421 View Post
    Another point on the newer AA headlamps by Zebralight is that they dropped 14500 support AND they aren't as small as the older versions (H53 versus H52 or H502). I wish they hadn't done that, i really like the option of the short turbo in that small light if needed.

    One last thing, Zebralight is coming out with a new wave of Hi-CRI headlamps on 12/15. If that is important to you (i am excited about it), then I'd get one of those. They are supposed to be brighter too, but their website has the H604c & H604d as the same brightness which can't be right they also have the same levels listed for their less floddy versions. In addition, they don't have runtimes listed yet.
    Thanks MX421, I intend on picking up both single AA and single 18650 headlamps. A single AA H53W is really sufficient for my hiking and shorter overnight backpacking trips as I'm often not using the headlamp when moving, but using it in camp.

    1) Why did you prefer the 14500 support? Is it really that big a deal? AA batteries are widely available and Eneloop Pro batteries pack good energy and cool weather performance, as do Lithium batteries.

    2) Would you suggest using Eneloop AA regular or Eneloop Pro AA with the H53W?

    3) I'd love high CRI bulbs and would wait a few weeks if they were definitely coming out by then. Do you know if they'll have the H53 in neutral white high CRI? And the H600W in high CRI? Will the cost be significantly higher for high CRI LED's?

  21. #21

    Default Re: Recommended 18650 Zebralight & Armytek for backpacking? Which batts & charger?

    Anyone know why I'm not receiving email alerts for replies to threads I'm following?

  22. #22

    Default Re: Recommended 18650 Zebralight & Armytek for backpacking? Which batts & charger?

    Quote Originally Posted by mountainwalker View Post
    1) Why did you prefer the 14500 support? Is it really that big a deal? AA batteries are widely available and Eneloop Pro batteries pack good energy and cool weather performance, as do Lithium batteries.


    It's not a big deal for many of us, because the ~300 lumens the current AA Zebralights are capable of still covers a very wide range of uses. However, the previous generation could provide a burst of roughly 500 lumens when used with a 14500 battery. It's a matter of what your personal needs are. Since you're also going to get an 18650 headlamp, it sounds like you'll have high output needs well covered.

    Quote Originally Posted by mountainwalker View Post
    2) Would you suggest using Eneloop AA regular or Eneloop Pro AA with the H53W?
    It's not worth putting too much thought into in my opinion, but I'd suggest staying with the regular Eneloop's unless you need the extra runtime. You pay roughly 1-1/2 times as much for 1-1/4 times the capacity, and the higher capacity batteries aren't rated for as long of life or as low self-discharge. And again, you'll have the 18650 light at your disposal, too.

    Quote Originally Posted by mountainwalker View Post
    3) I'd love high CRI bulbs and would wait a few weeks if they were definitely coming out by then. Do you know if they'll have the H53 in neutral white high CRI? And the H600W in high CRI? Will the cost be significantly higher for high CRI LED's?
    The high CRI neutral white Zebralights have a "C" in the model number instead of a "W".

    The AA-powered H53c and H53Fc were released months ago and are available now. The H600Fc (no H600c model is listed) are only available for pre-order. I don't know if they have a planned shipping date announced yet, but I could easily see it being over a month wait. The wait should not be much different for either the high CRI H600Fc or the standard CRI H600w and H600Fw.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Recommended 18650 Zebralight & Armytek for backpacking? Which batts & charger?

    Quote Originally Posted by iamlucky13 View Post
    The H600Fc (no H600c model is listed) are only available for pre-order. I don't know if they have a planned shipping date announced yet, but I could easily see it being over a month wait.
    I love my H600Fc, itís great! Thatís a Mk III though, but itís available right now. For the Mk IV-model, shipping is expected to start on 15th of December.

    I donít think the Mk III would be a bad choice, even with the Mk IV coming out, but the price would probably drop once the Mk IV is out.

    There are some differences, both with lumens and CRI. Iíll be considering upgrading, but the the Mk III will still be an excellent backup, unless itís passed on to family.

    Full lineup can be seen here btw:
    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...en&pli=1#gid=0

  24. #24

    Default Re: Recommended 18650 Zebralight & Armytek for backpacking? Which batts & charger?

    Quote Originally Posted by iamlucky13 View Post
    [/SIZE][/SIZE]
    It's not worth putting too much thought into in my opinion, but I'd suggest staying with the regular Eneloop's unless you need the extra runtime. You pay roughly 1-1/2 times as much for 1-1/4 times the capacity, and the higher capacity batteries aren't rated for as long of life or as low self-discharge. And again, you'll have the 18650 light at your disposal, too.

    The high CRI neutral white Zebralights have a "C" in the model number instead of a "W".

    The AA-powered H53c and H53Fc were released months ago and are available now. The H600Fc (no H600c model is listed) are only available for pre-order. I don't know if they have a planned shipping date announced yet, but I could easily see it being over a month wait. The wait should not be much different for either the high CRI H600Fc or the standard CRI H600w and H600Fw.
    Thank you iamlucky13, didn't know that, very helpful.

    1) I'll check the spreadsheet terjee posted below, but in general, is there a tradeoff in lumens or runtime for higher CRI? So for example, would the higher CRI H53C trade lumens or runtime for the better color rendition? Is there any downside to higher CRI headlamps?

    2) How does the beam pattern on the H53C compare with the beam pattern of the H53W? For hiking, backpacking and running I like a beam pattern with a stronger center hot spot for distance with a flood all around it.

    3) How does the beam pattern on the High CRI H600Fc differ from the standard CRI H600w and H600Fw? Is there any tradeoff in lumens or runtime on the H600Fc?

    4) I thought of the Eneloop Pro only because Zebralight tested run times for the H53W with the Pros and in general I want the best performance possible for a headlamp that I regularly use in the outdoors, and for short trips generally carry a spare AA. Before the Eneloops, I would use Energizer Lithium and still would use Energizer Lithium in very cold conditions. Do the Eneloop Pros offer cold weather performance close to Energizer Lithiums?

    5) Anyone have runtime stats on the H53W on regular AA Eneloop compared to the Eneloop Pro?
    Last edited by mountainwalker; 11-04-2017 at 04:21 AM.

  25. #25

    Default Re: Recommended 18650 Zebralight & Armytek for backpacking? Which batts & charger?

    Quote Originally Posted by terjee View Post
    I love my H600Fc, itís great! Thatís a Mk III though, but itís available right now. For the Mk IV-model, shipping is expected to start on 15th of December.

    I donít think the Mk III would be a bad choice, even with the Mk IV coming out, but the price would probably drop once the Mk IV is out.

    There are some differences, both with lumens and CRI. Iíll be considering upgrading, but the the Mk III will still be an excellent backup, unless itís passed on to family.

    Full lineup can be seen here btw:
    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...en&pli=1#gid=0
    Terjee thank you very much for that spreadsheet! Exactly what I was looking for to navigate all the Zebralight models. Did you throw that together or was it a community effort? Great work.

    Do you know what the Mk IV H600 and H53 models will offer that the Mark III models don't? I can easily wait until mid-December.

    Are there any tradeoffs for the higher CRI "C" headlamps compared with the neutral "W" models? Appreciate your thoughts on my questions 1-5 above especially on how the C models differ from the W models aside from CRI.

    As a cross country skier and winter backpacker I know Norwegians really know their night ski headlamps!

  26. #26
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    Default Re: New Headlamp: Armytek Tiara A1 v2 XP-L vs Zebralight H53W or Other? 14500/AA or 1

    Glad you can easily wait, mountainwalker, 'cause the wait is killing me! I've got the 64c on order, because I prefer the slightly warmer tint and higher CRI for outdoor use. The lower output shouldn't be too big of a deal for me, though I am still considering getting the 64w so I can put them head to head to see the real world difference for myself.

    Often, the higher CRI and warmer tints produce more heat. The practical consequence for a ZL light will be a stronger step-down in still air, and longer runtimes.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Recommended 18650 Zebralight & Armytek for backpacking? Which batts & charger?

    Quote Originally Posted by mountainwalker View Post
    Terjee thank you very much for that spreadsheet! Exactly what I was looking for to navigate all the Zebralight models. Did you throw that together or was it a community effort? Great work.

    It's actually Zebralight official, linked straight off of the front page, with the big red "Compare all models"-button. For some reason a lot of people (myself included) seem to miss the big red button, and only notice the sheet after it's linked to here on CPF. ;-) I guess I've just discounted it assuming it would just link to a page showing all of them or something like that.


    Quote Originally Posted by mountainwalker View Post
    Do you know what the Mk IV H600 and H53 models will offer that the Mark III models don't? I can easily wait until mid-December.

    The big thing with the new lights coming out is more configurability. With the old version, you have High, Mid and Low, can toggle between H1 and H2 for the High, similar for M1 and M2, and L1 and L2. You can also configure the second level (H2, M2 and L2), but the core fo the UI is fixed; Click will always give you one of the high-modes, holding the button down for a bit will always give you one of the low modes.


    With the new lights coming out, you get more freedom in how you program them, so you could have single-click be low for example.


    (This might all sounds a bit confusing, but blame that on my explanation, it's actually very intuitive in use. A bit less so with programming, but use feels very natural and intuitive).


    There's also some changes in which LEDs are used, but this all depends on the models. The H600Fc for example, goes from 83-85 CRI and up to 93-95, lumens go from 800 to 1568, but tint-deviation also goes from 2 to 3 step (not good).


    Personally I don't really feel I need more than 800 lumens from a headlamp, so the major factors for me would be CRI, tint and UI.


    The spreadsheet has all the details so you can compare the models pretty efficiently. :-)


    Quote Originally Posted by mountainwalker View Post
    Are there any tradeoffs for the higher CRI "C" headlamps compared with the neutral "W" models? Appreciate your thoughts on my questions 1-5 above especially on how the C models differ from the W models aside from CRI.

    As a rule of thumb with C vs W, C has higher CRI, tends to be a bit warmer (4000k vs. 4500k) and tighter tint-variation, but W tends to offer a bit more lumens. The H600Fc is currently listed as offering more lumens than the H600Fw, but people have been wondering if that's a mistake in the spreadsheet.


    Quote Originally Posted by mountainwalker View Post
    As a cross country skier and winter backpacker I know Norwegians really know their night ski headlamps!

    Haha, yeah. While I tend to stay indoors during winter, night-time in mountains does bring a certain level of motivation to have quality lights. There's been quite a few time where things would have turned serious quite fast if I didn't have lights, but they saved the day. Darkness coming early during the winter-half of the year adds to this. A lot also try to not just bring what you need for when things go well, but also what you'd need if they don't. IE: If you expect to be home an hour or two before sunset, definitively bring 2 lights pr. person. ;-)


    Anyway, I'm no expect (yet?), as I've (so far) stayed clear of common brands like Pretzl and Nitecore for headlamps, so you'll find people here more experienced than me with those.


    And the questions above:


    Quote Originally Posted by mountainwalker View Post
    1) I'll check the spreadsheet terjee posted below, but in general, is there a tradeoff in lumens or runtime for higher CRI? So for example, would the higher CRI H53C trade lumens or runtime for the better color rendition? Is there any downside to higher CRI headlamps?

    You often loose some lumens when you go from W to C, and that's the primary tradeoff. Some also like the 4500k temperature more than 4000k temperature.


    While there are exceptions, it seems to me that there is a clear tendency that the more experienced people are, they'll:
    - Care less about lumens as long as it's enough (The C usually offers more than enough, so the even more of the W-series isn't an issue).
    - Care more about high CRI
    - Prefer warmer lights

    Or put differently; Newer people tend to prefer W, more experienced tend to prefer C, but that doesn't always make the C better. Each is just picking according to their own preference, and what's right for them at that point in time.


    I think my preferences are somewhat typical of those that's been into lights for a while, I prefer the C-type for almost all my uses, but there's an exception for day-time. I almost always use my lights in the dark of night, at home, during travel or in the woods, but if I'm looking into a deep hole in the middle of a clear and sunny day, I would prefer the look of a cooler light. That happens so rarely though, that I'm usually not making purchase decisions based on it.


    Quote Originally Posted by mountainwalker View Post
    2) How does the beam pattern on the H53C compare with the beam pattern of the H53W? For hiking, backpacking and running I like a beam pattern with a stronger center hot spot for distance with a flood all around it.


    3) How does the beam pattern on the High CRI H600Fc differ from the standard CRI H600w and H600Fw? Is there any tradeoff in lumens or runtime on the H600Fc?

    There's definitively people here better able to answer this than I am.


    In general though, I'd expect the C vs W to be comparable, I don't think an average user would notice a huge difference without a side-by-side comparison. Better if someone more else fills in the details I think, all of our ZL headlamps are the floody ones.


    For the F vs. non-F though, I'd really like to show you this:


    http://www.fonarik.org.ua/products_t...-H600w_mk2.jpg


    Not my shot, but it illustrates the difference quite well, although maybe a bit exaggerated by the whiteout.


    Largely a personal preference, but if at all in doubt, I'd say get the F-version for a headlamp. It'll help avoid "bouncy ball"-effect when running, give better peripheral vision, work better indoors, and in general be a better solution for almost all use-cases (personal opinion though!). If I need something to throw far (inspect path ahead and so on), then I'd much rather use a handheld flashlight as a side-thing.


    Often tradeoffs are "A works better for this, B works better for that" and so on, but for headlamp I feel F really is better for almost *my* whole range of uses, from indoors to woody to more open areas.


    Quote Originally Posted by mountainwalker View Post
    4) I thought of the Eneloop Pro only because Zebralight tested run times for the H53W with the Pros and in general I want the best performance possible for a headlamp that I regularly use in the outdoors, and for short trips generally carry a spare AA. Before the Eneloops, I would use Energizer Lithium and still would use Energizer Lithium in very cold conditions. Do the Eneloop Pros offer cold weather performance close to Energizer Lithiums?

    According to data sheets and marketing material, I'd say that it approaches that of the L91 lithiums, but doesn't quite match it. Check out this for example, and search for temperature:
    http://www.panasonic-eneloop.eu/pdf/...at_2015_LR.pdf


    Also this:
    http://www.produktinfo.conrad.com/da...P_PRO__4ER.PDF


    Experiences people have shared go a bit either way.


    I'd definitively trust Eneloops over Alkaleaks in cold weather, and also over other NiMHs. I'd be fine going out on a cold day with Eneloops in a light, but I'd also definitively bring L91 backup batteries.


    Cold weather is somewhat special though, since "everything" can suddenly become harder, especially if it's really cold. Want to actually change to the L91 backups? Can be surprisingly hard if the battery cap is frozen stuck, and your fingers are freezing cold.


    Could be an idea to have a backup-light with L91 already in perhaps, or have the backup light in an inner pocket, so it's kept above freezing.


    Quote Originally Posted by mountainwalker View Post
    5) Anyone have runtime stats on the H53W on regular AA Eneloop compared to the Eneloop Pro?

    Not that I'm aware of, but you can find a pretty good approximation using HKJs battery comparison: http://lygte-info.dk/review/batterie...comparator.php


    If you find the battery drain that most closely resembles what you see with the Pro for the level you're interested in, and then compare with the "regular" eneloops, it should give you a pretty decent idea of what to expect.


    Personally I tend to always go with 18650 for my primary lights, both headlamp and flashlight. I haven't had any major problems with temperature, but Bergen is a bit warmer than the rest of Norway. It's worth noting that the VTC5A are rated for usage down to -20C for discharge:


    http://www.accushop.at/images/produc...18650VTC5A.pdf


    I would expect the performance to be less than at "room temperature" though, but at the same time, at higher output levels, there's a significant amount of heating going on as well.


    Please do keep in mind that a bunch of this is influenced by personal preferences, although I do think I'm fairly typical. There's still the issue that I clearly prefer Fc-versions for headlamps for example, while someone else might strongly prefer non-F and colder LEDs.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: New Headlamp: Armytek Tiara A1 v2 XP-L vs Zebralight H53W or Other? 14500/AA or 1

    Quote Originally Posted by Keitho View Post
    Often, the higher CRI and warmer tints produce more heat. The practical consequence for a ZL light will be a stronger step-down in still air, and longer runtimes.
    This is a good point!

    Flip-side of it also holds true; High mode on a W and C version might have comparable runtimes, but the W putting out more lumens. So downside for the C is that if you reduced the W to a lumen-level comparable to the C, it would probably offer you some more runtime.

    The difference isn't large enough for me (runtime of C is enough, and after enough it's not important), but I could see it as a major point for other users, such as ultralight hikers for example.

  29. #29

    Default Re: New Headlamp: Armytek Tiara A1 v2 XP-L vs Zebralight H53W or Other? 14500/AA or 1

    Quote Originally Posted by Keitho View Post
    Often, the higher CRI and warmer tints produce more heat. The practical consequence for a ZL light will be a stronger step-down in still air, and longer runtimes.
    Thank you Keitho. Could you please elaborate? Do you mean that the higher CRI and warmer tints extra heat will cause the unit to drain faster in still air? How would this bring about longer runtimes except in cold winter air?

  30. #30

    Default Re: New Headlamp: Armytek Tiara A1 v2 XP-L vs Zebralight H53W or Other? 14500/AA or 1

    Quote Originally Posted by terjee View Post
    Flip-side of it also holds true; High mode on a W and C version might have comparable runtimes, but the W putting out more lumens. So downside for the C is that if you reduced the W to a lumen-level comparable to the C, it would probably offer you some more runtime.

    The difference isn't large enough for me (runtime of C is enough, and after enough it's not important), but I could see it as a major point for other users, such as ultralight hikers for example.
    How much of a % difference in run times would you expect for running a W at a comparable lumen level to a C? If we are talking single percentage points (say 1-5% more run time), that's negligible, if we are talking double digits (say 20-30% more run time), that's significant.

    Are there any good photos out there of Zebralight W versus C with similar beam patterns?

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