AA light needed with details

luisdent

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Great news and bad news... I got my zebra lights.

Great news... The moonlight modes are superb. They are "slightly" different from each other which does show on the specs. The larger SC5w II seems to be the tiniest bit brighter at every setting and also has a brighter max mode. But even the moonlight and low are "ever" so slightly brighter.

I will say this, I definitely prefer the high CRI led in the II. It just seems more color accurate in temperature and rendering. They are pretty close, but it gives it a slightly more vivid and neutral color.

The bad... Which one do I keep?! ;) haha. They let me get two and return one, as i wasn't sure which led i would prefer. Frankly they're both fine. The neutral led looks almost identical to my quark aa which i love. The slightly higher CRI is a tiny bit better to my eyes, but the main different in the light would be the brighter bright mode.

The pros for the SC52w would be that it is "slightly" smaller, the lowest moonlight is "slightly" lower, and despite what I would have expected, i actually think i like the less knurled body. But frankly both feel great. I'm surprised that even though they aren't long enough to fully grasp in the whole hand, they actually allow a very nice hold/grip. I may even prefer it to a longer light. Maybe not as ideal for a police search type grip, but still not bad. but for a thumb on top grip (which is ideal for the power button) the grip is excellent.

The pros for the SC5w II would be the brighter bright mode, slightly more accurate colors, slightly longer runtime on moonlight (an extra month).

So they're both incredibly good. I'll do some night reading and test them outside and see which feels right, but I think i'd be happy with either. And the critical testing I've done has shown no hint of PWM. If it exists, so far I can't detect it even on moonlight. I'll see how it goes when i'm reading a book. That's when it would bother me the most. But I think it isn't detectable if there at all. Also awesome, the pocket clip. This thing isn't coming out of my pocket! Unless it bends over time, it is tight and feels great, and carries deeper than the quark, which I wanted. Tail standing is great too. This may just be the perfect little light i was looking for.

Even the mode changing isn't bad on default. Turn on for normal use, at night just hold for a second. It doesn't cycle too fast, so it's easy to get moonlight. And I don't detect any pre-flash at all. Win-win. :)
 

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Repsol600rr

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May 7, 2016
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344
Great news and bad news... I got my zebra lights.

Great news... The moonlight modes are superb. They are "slightly" different from each other which does show on the specs. The larger SC5w II seems to be the tiniest bit brighter at every setting and also has a brighter max mode. But even the moonlight and low are "ever" so slightly brighter.

I will say this, I definitely prefer the high CRI led in the II. It just seems more color accurate in temperature and rendering. They are pretty close, but it gives it a slightly more vivid and neutral color.

The bad... Which one do I keep?! ;) haha. They let me get two and return one, as i wasn't sure which led i would prefer. Frankly they're both fine. The neutral led looks almost identical to my quark aa which i love. The slightly higher CRI is a tiny bit better to my eyes, but the main different in the light would be the brighter bright mode.

The pros for the SC52w would be that it is "slightly" smaller, the lowest moonlight is "slightly" lower, and despite what I would have expected, i actually think i like the less knurled body. But frankly both feel great. I'm surprised that even though they aren't long enough to fully grasp in the whole hand, they actually allow a very nice hold/grip. I may even prefer it to a longer light. Maybe not as ideal for a police search type grip, but still not bad. but for a thumb on top grip (which is ideal for the power button) the grip is excellent.

The pros for the SC5w II would be the brighter bright mode, slightly more accurate colors, slightly longer runtime on moonlight (an extra month).

So they're both incredibly good. I'll do some night reading and test them outside and see which feels right, but I think i'd be happy with either. And the critical testing I've done has shown no hint of PWM. If it exists, so far I can't detect it even on moonlight. I'll see how it goes when i'm reading a book. That's when it would bother me the most. But I think it isn't detectable if there at all. Also awesome, the pocket clip. This thing isn't coming out of my pocket! Unless it bends over time, it is tight and feels great, and carries deeper than the quark, which I wanted. Tail standing is great too. This may just be the perfect little light i was looking for.

Even the mode changing isn't bad on default. Turn on for normal use, at night just hold for a second. It doesn't cycle too fast, so it's easy to get moonlight. And I don't detect any pre-flash at all. Win-win. :)
Glad they're working out for you. I was actually doing a runtime test on my 53c and after it starts stepping down from h1 then it becomes pwm like and is detected by waving the light fast. But this as at the very tail end of the run after its dropped out of regulation. I havnt had a clip bend yet. Not to say it wont if you hook it on something wrong but I haven't had an issue yet. Otherwise yeah, they pretty much just work.
 

luisdent

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Glad they're working out for you. I was actually doing a runtime test on my 53c and after it starts stepping down from h1 then it becomes pwm like and is detected by waving the light fast. But this as at the very tail end of the run after its dropped out of regulation. I havnt had a clip bend yet. Not to say it wont if you hook it on something wrong but I haven't had an issue yet. Otherwise yeah, they pretty much just work.
yeah. I'm actually less worried about pwn on bright modes and more worried on modes where i would be reading or focusing on something for a bit. but I'd still rather not have any as i hate it. lol. but I'll mess with them a while and see how it goes.
 

Repsol600rr

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yeah. I'm actually less worried about pwn on bright modes and more worried on modes where i would be reading or focusing on something for a bit. but I'd still rather not have any as i hate it. lol. but I'll mess with them a while and see how it goes.
Its only after it drops out of regulation. Not really something that applies to normal use if you change the battery before it gets really dim
 

luisdent

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yeah, i'm pretty pumped about the ui. i have it set to turn on moonlight lowest mode. two clicks is low/med for general use and hold activates high... dope.
 

luisdent

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unless something is wrong, i think the sc5w ii is sort of a gimmick.. it claims 550 lumens for 3 minutes and then 407 lumens after that in h1 mode. I have the sc53w right next to it rated at 330 lumens... First, the mkII drops from brightest to reduced h1 mode in about 10-15 seconds every time. brand new batteries. So it doesn't even give 3 minutes. Second, even after it drops to the reduced h1 lumens, the 330 lumens of the other light is brighter. Noticeably. So, either something is wrong, or the specs are WAY off. It acts like it starts, realistically, around 400 something lumens and drops to about maybe 250 after 10 seconds. where the other light stays at 330 constant.

Maybe i'm doing something wrong, but if this is in fact the case, i'd stick with the other light. Any insight on why this might be?
 

kerneldrop

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was that sarcasm?

We're still going off of a black ops profession.

I'm not sure on the Zebra light issue above. They are quality lights that are highly regarded. At least the other one meets your needs.
I don't think you would have been as happy with Peak on moonlight. Zebra just makes sub-lumen easy. .
 

luisdent

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Aug 29, 2010
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We're still going off of a black ops profession.

I'm not sure on the Zebra light issue above. They are quality lights that are highly regarded. At least the other one meets your needs.
I don't think you would have been as happy with Peak on moonlight. Zebra just makes sub-lumen easy. .
ah yes. well unfortunately I'm not at liberty to discuss my profession.......

regarding moonlight mode, i read in bed last night to test. they were roughly the same, but i prefer the slightly more floody sc53w. at low lumens the spill is a bit smoother by the tiniest fraction. the are not much dimmer than my quark, only a bit. frankly, i wish they had an option for half the lowest output, but i can't complain. they're some of the lower out there. i can always add a diffuser to get a touch less.

regarding the two lights, the high cri has definitely grown on me and i prefer it without question. it's almost like looking through a plastic window and then looking through a well costed glass window. relatively speaking it isn't that much difference, but it does seem like it is literally clearer vision with the colors being rendered so well.

if the dip of the high mode weren't so fast i think I'd keep that light. I'm curious if it's the batteries, but i don't know why it would be. aa are 1.5 volts. nimh are 1.2 volts, so it shouldn't be a brand new battery not being able to provide the necessary voltage... but maybe it is? no idea.

the fact that i can use aa when needed, i wouldn't mind if the brightest mode is only available with nimh. that's what i will be using once i get my eneloops. and i have the flexibility to use aa if needed. but if the high mode is truly never longer than 15 seconds, it seems useless as the other light would have a continuous mode that is noticeably brighter. so I'm just trying to figure out what's going on there. if the sc53w had the same led i would have already returned the mkII. but the mkII is supposed to be brighter than the sc53w even after it drops from turbo...?
 

Repsol600rr

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There is a way to get that hicri led in the sc53. Its the sc53c. Thats what I have. I'm also pretty sure if I remeber the right the highest mode of the sc5 variant is only availble on nimh becuase even though a brand new regualar battery has a bit more voltage it cant deliver the current and eneloops can, and that output is all about current. The turbo should run its stated length with a fresh nimh battery. But after a few activations it probly wont anymore. It is kinda gimicky but I can be useful for some applications. I didnt feel it necessary so I got the sc53c. I still prefer the leds from the 52 series (both the 52d and 52w if I'm honest) but it much prefered the 53c to the 53w.
 

Repsol600rr

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Wait I think I misread this. Both of yours are the W model. Which means they should both be the same led. The C model used a different led with higher cri. So all that happend here is the tint lottery worked out for your preferences in the sc5 more than the sc53.
 

luisdent

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There is a way to get that hicri led in the sc53. Its the sc53c. Thats what I have. I'm also pretty sure if I remeber the right the highest mode of the sc5 variant is only availble on nimh becuase even though a brand new regualar battery has a bit more voltage it cant deliver the current and eneloops can, and that output is all about current. The turbo should run its stated length with a fresh nimh battery. But after a few activations it probly wont anymore. It is kinda gimicky but I can be useful for some applications. I didnt feel it necessary so I got the sc53c. I still prefer the leds from the 52 series (both the 52d and 52w if I'm honest) but it much prefered the 53c to the 53w.
i saw that model, but it doesn't seem easily available and discontinued.

the burst mode could still be usefull even with 15 seconds in some situations. but I'm debating betwen that (presumably longer with nimh) and the high cri led, or a brighter bright mode in general with the other light...
 

luisdent

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well, I'm a bit disappointed. i was almost set to keep the sc53w, when i decided to compare the tints again to see if it was just a warmer tint maybe. it seems to me the mk2 i got has a more natural tint, and yet it doesn't look cooler per se. maybe just less green? even though comparatively i wouldn't say it looks green at all. it's just not "warmer". they're both neutral and look excellent, but the mk2 just looks like it wipes away the tiniest bit of haze from a lens. maybe it's the slightly tighter hotspost plus the tint. i don't know. not a big deal either way, both are nice, just trying to finalize my pick....

however, to test this i simply shut of a light here at work and tried reading a poster on white paper to sort of see how they compare. to my astonishment, the sc53w was flickering like a bat out of hell. i turned it off and on a few times and it flickers to differing degrees, but clearly and unacceptably visible. no pwm my %#$. call it what you want, that thing flickers like hell. enough that i noticed it without even looking for it.

what's odd, is that a) i didn't notice it last night comparing, and b) the mk2 doesn't "seem" to exhibit any flickering at any setting. if i had to guess it is either due to heat control, or battery regulation somehow. that makes me think the mk2 will show it at some point. I'll test more, but man what a bummer. i would have been ok with pwm i didn't notice, but this is like the battery was about to die or something. but even the light's battery check says it is full. :-/ and i was really starting to like the feel and ui. i have no desire to bash them based on pwm or equivalent regulation. but this was unmistakable and distracting and i know it would bug me big time.

UPDATE: upon further testing, all modes except the highest seem free of any visible pwm type flicker. i can see it with my camera at some lower levels, but it isn't obvious to the eye. on high it is visible easily and recordable.

on the mk2 it is on the moonlight mode 2 and no other mode is obviously detectable. so i can visually see it on those few modes and verify with a camera but everything else seems faster than is visible or non existent. very strange. why those two very different modes and amounts?

check it out yourself.
pwm?
pwm2
 
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Repsol600rr

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Sounds like perhaps dirty contacts or simply a battery that cant keep up. What batteries are you using? Also the battery meter on them isnt particularly great. It was only ever good in the litium capable models for some reason.
 

luisdent

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I wish I played the piano

Well that was random :p

Sounds like perhaps dirty contacts or simply a battery that cant keep up. What batteries are you using? Also the battery meter on them isnt particularly great. It was only ever good in the litium capable models for some reason.

Currently just testing with brand new name brand alkaline AA batteries. I realize NiMH will be better in many ways, but I wouldn't expect them to change the issues I'm having...? I'll give them a shot.

A few more updates. First, I figured out a workaround for the brightness difference between the lights.

If I set the mk2 to group 7 and then manually adjust the brightness of the double click setting to the second to last brightness setting (highest before going turbo)... when I do this, it still starts bright and then drops to the third brightest setting, but if I then double click (while it's already on) and switch back and forth between the two sub mode brightness settings it stays on the brighter sub mode indefinitely.

Seems very strange. It's as though if I use the highest brightness is drops off to the third highest brightness and skips the 400 lumen mode. But I can trick it into the second brightest mode and it stays there...? odd.

But it works, which means a few things. First, even without NiMH batteries, the mk2 IS brighter even on a relatively constant mode, and the color rendering it better, and the moonlight mode is oddly lower. I didn't realize there was ONE MORE moonlight mode on the mk2 that went lower. So it now matches, if not beats the sc53w in lowest moonlight mode. They're so close that it's hard to tell if either is brighter or dimmer or if it's just the beam shape giving the impression one is or not.

SOOOooooo. I'm not giving up hope. I've decided if I keep one it will be the mk2. It has all the benefits of both lights and i haven't notice as much PWM-type flicker. In fact the only mode I can really notice it on is the 3rd? moonlight mode, which I don't really even need. So, I think I'll see how it goes using it reading and doing tasks for a while. If it starts acting up or something, it will go back. If I don't notice any flicker I'll just not use that moonlight mode 3 or whatever, or see if it improves or changes with NiMH.

Otherwise, i'm already in love with this thing. The color rendering is a step up from my quark aa, the size is great, the side button has turned out to be awesome because the clip doesn't rotate like the thrunite, so I can always easily know where it is. And it feels more obvious as well. Also, it has a good tactility while not being as loud as the button on my quark. Added bonus.

So to look at my original criteria:
- aa batteries or possibly rechargeable if extra batteries can easily be obtained - CHECK!
- deep carry pocket clip that holds onto a pocket well- CHECK!
- tail stand possible- CHECK!
- at least reasonably neutral tint and high quality light- CHECK!
- superlow moonlight mode - CHECK!
- low/medium mode for general use- CHECK!
- reasonable bright mode for short use if needed- CHECK!
- no pwm- INDETERMINATE!
- bright strobe- CHECK!
- tail/tactical style button, no side button - NOT A PROBLEM LIKE OTHER SIDE BUTTONS I'VE USED - CHECK!
- high quality materials- CHECK!
- relatively slim shape (no bulky head) - CHECK!

All but ONE item met, and that one item very well might work out to be OK, although not technically free of flicker in a critical sense. But I'm willing to overlook that if it simply doesn't distract me in normal use.
 

luisdent

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Aug 29, 2010
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I thought I'd write one last post on the zebralight...

So I returned the sc53w and kept the sc5w mk2. Absolutely love it.

As I mentioned before it hit every single point on my list except maybe one or two things. However, I can say pretty confidently now that I've been reading every night with the lowest moonlight mode, and i love it. I haven't detected any PWM type flickering on the moonlight 1 or 2 modes during intense reading sessions even when i think to look for it.

While I haven't been critically examining the other modes, I use the highest mode and second highest mode (not the turbo brightest mode), and I haven't noticed any flicker there either. All of this so far has been on alkaline AA.

The side button has worked out very well. It has zero issues of the thrunite archer. It is easy to find every time due to the design. It's fairly quiet, easy to press, not a problem at all. So everything about this light is perfect.

Lastly, I got my eneloop pro batteries today, and even straight out of the box the eneloops allow the turbo mode to remain active for longer. I haven't tested the length, but it was sufficiently longer than the alkaline, so it meets my needs, as I'd probably never use that mode for more than a short period anyway.

So thanks to everyone for the help, especially those who pointed me towards zebralights ;) ;)
 
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