I demand a dual-LED Zebralight Headlamp

Wurkkos

Would you buy a dual-beam one-piece Zebralight? (public vote!)


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    28

Shorty66

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Hello,
from other threads and my own experience neither a pure Flood headlamp, nor a combination of spot and spill will cover all tasks a typical headlamp-user encounters.

Other manufactures (especially caving-specific) do produce lights with multiple emitters, covering flood and spot independently. Sadly, those lights are a lot more expensive than Zebralights and they miss the typical tubular Zebralight one-piece design. Most often they are made for a very specific purpose which justifies the higher costs as the requirements are often pretty steep.

Zebralight could easily build a headlamp which is more suited for the typical user than those specific lights. I would love to see a dual beam design in Zebralights typical tubular shape - just add another pure flood LED to a H51.

The UI would need to allow the user to choose 100% spot or flood and anything in between. I imagine, that a selector-ring could be a could idea for that light, but zebralight will come up with a convenient solution.
 
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uk_caver

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I love twin-beam lights, not least because tailoring beamshape to a task often allows much more efficient use of power.

Personally I don't see a need for a continuously variable blend - 4 settings ranging from full flood to full spot would seem about the maximum necessary to me, and I'd wonder about the durability/waterproofing of a continuous control.

There is the question of how best to get simple but flexible control in compact fashion for a ZL-style light.
Possibly a single button with good tactile characteristics with clearly distinguishable soft/partial and stiff/full-depth presses could work. Brief partial presses for power cycling and brief full presses for beam blend cycling. Long partial press for off. Long full press to (reversibly) toggle full spot (or full both?).

If they did make one with a UI like the above, I'd be happy to give one a test.
 

Bolster

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I probably would not buy a dual beam headlamp, as my need for spot/spill or throw from a headlamp is very seldom--although I realize this would be a boon for many of you who need both. However, I definitely WOULD buy an interchangeable bezel ZL (preferably with good o-ring waterproofing) that would allow me to swap out from flood to spot/spill on the rare occasion I need it, or to fine-tune the flood between 120 and 60 degrees--that would be handy. Of course, if a dual beam ZL were available and got rave reviews...I'd probably change my mind and buy one, simply because I'm a headlight nut.

Still, I'd prefer the bezel option, for keeping costs low and for keeping the headlamp as small as possible. An interchangeable bezel is sort of the poor-man's dual beam headlamp...you can convert the light to the beam shape you want, but not on-the-fly.
 
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Mooreshire

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I probably would not buy a dual beam headlamp, as my need for spot/spill or throw from a headlamp is very seldom--although I realize this would be a boon for many of you who need both. However, I definitely WOULD buy an interchangeable bezel ZL (preferably with good o-ring waterproofing) that would allow me to swap out from flood to spot/spill on the rare occasion I need it, or to fine-tune the flood between 120 and 60 degrees--that would be handy. Of course, if a dual beam ZL were available and got rave reviews...I'd probably change my mind and buy one, simply because I'm a headlight nut.

Still, I'd prefer the bezel option, for keeping costs low and for keeping the headlamp as small as possible. An interchangeable bezel is sort of the poor-man's dual beam headlamp...you can convert the light to the beam shape you want, but not on-the-fly.

Right... all you have to do is take off your headlamp, dig around in your pack for the bezel, make sure the threads are free from mud or sand, and then either blind yourself with glare off your hand as you attach it or try to attach it in the dark. Meanwhile your buddy reached up and switched his lamp to the needed beam shape, saw what there was to see, and moved on. ;) I'm just poking fun of course and really I understand where you're coming from, although I don't think a removable bezel would work for me.

I would consider buying pretty much any quality dual beam headlamp, and ZL sure does make nice lamps... but I'm not sure how it could still be a single piece, with an easily accessible switch, et cetera. I'd have to see it first.
 

Bolster

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Right... all you have to do is...
Oh, go on! LOL. My turn to massively over-exaggerate the difficulty of a dual beam lamp: You have to carry around this huge expensive brick on your forehead, you get confused trying to figure out which beam you want, the wrong one is always on, the UI is frightfully complicated, you blind yourself when you get the wrong beam, etc etc etc. ;)

If you've not changed a bezel on a headlamp, take it from me, it's not the harrowing experience you depict. Here's how it works for me: I set the beam to moonlight (no blinding), unscrew the existing bezel, reach into my pocket (clean, no mud, no sand) and put on the alternate bezel. Takes a few (agonizing, horrid, unendurable) seconds.

Funning aside, what makes a dual-beam attractive is when you NEED two beams, where you must RAPIDLY switch back and forth. I recall one job where I really, really needed that, and would have loved a dual beam light. It was spreading blow insulation in an attic; I needed to see how wide the insulation spread was, up close (flood) and I needed to see that it wasn't covering up the vents at the edge of the attic (spot). Clearly, an interchangeable bezel wouldn't do the trick here, as I needed to switch back and forth rapidly. (Fix was to grab a spot handheld). So, yes, dual-beams have their place (especially for outdoor sports, it would seem) and ZL should make one! The question was whether I would buy one, and for my uses, probably not. Unless it was so nifty I couldn't pass it up. But it would be an unnecessary luxury for me, as I can generally supply spot with a handheld.
 
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AnAppleSnail

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I used to have a Petzl with an excellent diffuser. No glare from this, just spot or flood with a flick of the thumb. The level of mix could be controlled by positioning the sliding diffuser partway across the LED. But it died one day, and I've never recaptured the usefulness of that lovely diffuser.It served a similar purpose to dual beam lamps, and while its blends weren't much good on a white wall, you should be shot using a blended beam that close anyway.
 

rojos

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A question for anyone with a manufacturing background: how many units would ZebraLight have to sell of a brand new model for it to defray the R&D and new tooling costs and be profitable? 500 units? 1000 units? more? less?

Anyone have any ideas?
 

rojos

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Presumably it depends what they might be able to charge for a new and relatively novel light.

Lol. I guess if R&D and tooling cost $9,000 (a number I picked out of thin air), and they charged $10,000 per unit, they could turn a profit by selling one unit.

But I was hoping for a response more along the lines of this:

Typical R&D and tooling costs for flashlight "X" would be about "A" dollars.
Typical direct and indirect manufacturing costs for flashlight "X" would be about "B" dollars.
The market price for flashlight "X" would be about "C" dollars.
Based on A, B, and C, they would need to sell "D" units of flashlight "X" to break even.

Or something to that effect.
 

Mooreshire

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Oh, go on! LOL. My turn to massively over-exaggerate the difficulty of a dual beam lamp: You have to carry around this huge expensive brick on your forehead, you get confused trying to figure out which beam you want, the wrong one is always on, the UI is frightfully complicated, you blind yourself when you get the wrong beam, etc etc etc. ;)

If you've not changed a bezel on a headlamp, take it from me, it's not the harrowing experience you depict...

Alas, you've unfortunately described my ideal-beam-shape-mode-hunting process quite accurately... I certainly do end up wearing a giant lamp with a confusing UI and I do have to cycle through several different (often blinding) modes/beams until I find the one I need. :D

Clearly I should get a Spark SD6 so I can try out the bezel approach for myself! As if I needed an excuse to buy more headlamps. ;)

how many units would ZebraLight have to sell of a brand new model for it to defray the R&D and new tooling costs and be profitable?

Good question. I'm also curious about this.
 

whiteoakjoe

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I really like my flood Zebra, and I guess for my uses (walking in the woods, as a work light under a hood, lighting up a camp) I just can't imagine anything better. I tried a Fenix with a diffuser attachemet and did not like it. So I voted no, because I just don't want to mess with something that works so well for me. But I could be wrong and eat my words if someone came out with a really good system. But I dont see how it could be done without making it so much more complicated it would not just be as easy to put a spare light in my pocket for use as a thrower. (with the big plus of some added security of an extra light if one is lost or quits)
 

Bolster

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Alas, you've unfortunately described my ideal-beam-shape-mode-hunting process quite accurately... I certainly do end up wearing a giant lamp with a confusing UI and I do have to cycle through several different (often blinding) modes/beams until I find the one I need. :D

Which brings up an interesting psychological question: sometimes people are less happy with more choices. It's hard to believe, but the effect shows up every once in awhile in psych research. Would the ability to shape a beam as desired (whether through blending dual emitters, or through beam modification filters)...actually make people less happy with the results? Personally, I would say no, I want the control and the ability to mix the beam until I'm happy with spread and throw. But still...is it possible that such ability would still not satisfy the consumer, despite the added control?

At any rate, glad I could help provide you with a thin justification for buying another light. And I want to thank you for pushing me ever closer to contemplating a big-boy dual beam light. The more I think about it, the more examples I can conjure where I really would like to switch back and forth...I can hear that giant sucking sound near my wallet again...
 

Shorty66

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I dont think, that the UI on a dual beam headlamp needs to be confusing: I would use two magnetic "selector rings", one for brightness and one for beamshape. Magnetic selector rings are waterproof and easy to operate.
You would have stepless brightness and beamshape control.

Edit: I am one of the persons which is less happy with more choices if it comes to a Headlamp UI: I very much liked the 3 mode Zebralights with the addition of the double click to change each mode. But i dont like how the newer zebralights offer to further program h2 in 6 different ways. Thats just a bit too much for me and i dont realy see the need.
Still, while a stepless design offers a lot more options in theory, its still really easy to use and i dont think anybody would be overwhelmed by that.
 
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Esko

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Which brings up an interesting psychological question: sometimes people are less happy with more choices. It's hard to believe, but the effect shows up every once in awhile in psych research. Would the ability to shape a beam as desired (whether through blending dual emitters, or through beam modification filters)...actually make people less happy with the results? Personally, I would say no, I want the control and the ability to mix the beam until I'm happy with spread and throw. But still...is it possible that such ability would still not satisfy the consumer, despite the added control?

The Zebralight UI is already quite complicated. Or should I say - unnecessary complicated.

I would like to change the title: "I demand a dual-LED Zebralight or Spark Headlamp". First, we could take the best parts of the user interfaces:

Short click = turn on high (or switch off)
long click = turn on low
hold the switch = toggle between the modes

Simple as that. No unnecessary double-clicks (or multi-clicks) that they have currently.

Now we can add the second led and use the double click for that addjustment. Flood -> flood+throw -> throw -> flood etc. Mode memory might be a good choice for this selection.

This would actually be a less complicated user interface than Zebralight has now. It is easy tell someone, that (s)he can toggle between the modes by holding the button, and toggle between the leds by double-clicking. With current user interface I need to explain that there is the first set of low-med-high (hold the button), but then there is another brighter/dimmer set of low-med-high (first double click, then hold the button) - confusing and unnecessarily complicated for non-flashaholics.

And, of course, there would be the even simpler solution. Use one button for the current tasks, and another button for the flood-throw adjustment.
 

uk_caver

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I'm not personally sure about stepless controls - the only useful aspect would be the ability to have more than 3 or 4 levels without having an overly-long selection sequence, but if selection was by a dial, it'd be easy to stepped control with some little-used levels being quick to spin past. For me, such levels would include really dim ones, and maybe a bright one close to max power but with meaningfully longer runtime.

As for beam blends, I think I'd find a continuously variable blend annoying, since I'd end up spending time tweaking it when there was no practical need to.
I know the kinds of blends I use and want, and there are not many of them.

Though possibly it would be an useful and/or impressive feature to some, and I suppose even with continuous hardware there's the possibility of having software-based stepping as an option.
 

Shorty66

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I dont really need stepless controls, either. I would just like dial controls as they allow you to have many modes and still reach the right mode fast.
Stepless would also need a more complicated driver design.

I think some dial like the e+lite from petzl would be great. Perhaps the beampattern doesnt have to be continously variable - three or four blends might be enough.
Those could also be activated via a button.

I still think a momentary mode would be very cool. I think it would be good idea to activate a momentary mode by pushing the beam-blend-button while the light is of.
 

ToddM

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Which brings up an interesting psychological question: sometimes people are less happy with more choices. It's hard to believe, but the effect shows up every once in awhile in psych research. Would the ability to shape a beam as desired (whether through blending dual emitters, or through beam modification filters)...actually make people less happy with the results? Personally, I would say no, I want the control and the ability to mix the beam until I'm happy with spread and throw. But still...is it possible that such ability would still not satisfy the consumer, despite the added control?

That's really true, in the end I think it depends on the user and how user friendly the interface is. If it takes me 3 minutes and 2 hands to find the settings I want to use then that's going to annoy me. On the other hand if I can program say 4-5 combos that fit my need and quickly cycle through them that's a different story. I still really only want one button on my headlamp, I use one with gloves too much so having small or multiple buttons is a pain. However I'd love to have a dual LED (flood/spot) setup where I could program the options I want. A simple low/high for flood/spot, and then perhaps a couple combos would be more than enough, but I wouldn't want to have to switch through 10-15 levels/combos to get what I wanted either.

I think there's also the less is more sometimes too, especially when it comes to durability and reliability. Which I feel is why Surefire typically steers away from complicated interfaces and overly complicated designs/options/etc. They know their most important users need absolute reliability and ease of use.
 

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