Malkoff/Zebra Lumens question

W

WYlightGUY

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List,

My son took his/my favorite light off to API (8+ year old Zebra SC53w) and now I am faced with the terrible dilemma of shopping for something to keep my foursevens Quark 2AA tactical company.

I want to keep the AA or 2xAA format, a neutral color (4000k or so), clicky interface and a good moon setting. High CRI is not a priority, but I want excellent throw and decent runtimes. 300 or so lumen seems reasonable. <= $200 is the budget.

I see Zebra still has the SC53w neutral (max 330 Lum) and now a SC5w MkII neutral (max 407 Lum).

My question involves trying out a Malkoff.

I see an MDC HA 2AA offering (max 210 Lum), or a 1AA (max 90 Lum).

The Malkoff is twice as expensive...but has half or less light intensity. Folks on the forum love this brand...but am I missing something? Is the Malkoff that much of a better light that I should choose it over the Zebra given this spec?

Side Note: I was following a thread here that suggested legoing a Malkoff build using: "MXX dropin, VME head and MDC 2AA body." I have never built a light. Is it that easy to just buy these three parts and screw them together?

Sorry for the ramble. I really appreciate the advice.
 
kerneldrop

kerneldrop

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If you take pride in supporting a small USA business that gives you their phone number, email address and physical address, and sells durable/rugged/reliable Merican Made lights then treat yourself to a Malkoff. You'll either pass it down or it'll be sold at your estate sale. I don't care for fancy interfaces because I never remember how to use them or change them. I like point and shoot flashlights.

Get the Zebra if you could care less about all that.

Yes, you simply screw the dropin into the VME head and screw the VME head onto the body. Ask for 2 of the cooper wave washers so that contact is rock solid.

1643036964350
 
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D

defloyd77

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The Malkoff is one tough, American made S.O.B. That's it's biggest appeal.

The Zebras are more compact, higher output and more versatile in regards to outputs.

They're kind of apples and oranges really. If you value reliability over all else, go Malkoff. The Zebra is honestly the better EDC of the 2 with it's smaller size and versatility.
 
O

Owen

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I use Malkoffs and Zebralights pretty much exclusively, but they are very different.

Zebralight are more compact, more versatile, have better anodizing, much better regulation, and higher potential brightness due to the emitters they use.
They mostly have larger spots with spill that's bright relative to the spot.
Some downsides are that they can also be glitchy, have little heatsinking, and the switches and lens aren't accessible.

The Malkoff MDCs are going to be more robust, with overkill heatsinking, better protected electronics, and easily replaceable switches and lenses. Their 4000K SST-20 won't win any awards for output, but its tint and color rendition is going to trump that of anything Zebralight uses, IMO.
They have more concentrated spots that will throw farther relative to their output than the 10 and 12° of ZL's AA lights.
Main downsides are that they're poorly regulated and very large.

You already know what you're getting with Zebralight.
Malkoff's lumens ratings are all over the place.
With the notable exception of lowlow on the 1xAA, though, the MDCs will initially be brighter than spec'd, but continually dim in all modes as battery voltage drops, since they are not current regulated(the only way around that is to use the newer li-ion AAs and 3V R123s that maintain constant voltage).

I like the durability, servicability, and tail-mounted clickies of Malkoff lights, so mostly stick with those for handheld use, and Zebralight for headlamps.

And, yes, it's that simple to build your own with a dropin and VME head, but you're going to have a single mode light.
 
W

WYlightGUY

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Thanks for the replies.

I would love to go with a Malkoff, but I am not sure how to build one with similar specs to the Zeb Sc5w MkII (single AA or 2AA would be great). This would be my first try. I do need the hi/moon settings, though.

Could someone with build experience show me what pieces I need? Thanks! Sorry for the noob building questions.
 
kerneldrop

kerneldrop

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I would love to go with a Malkoff, but I am not sure how to build one with similar specs to the Zeb Sc5w MkII (single AA or 2AA would be great). This would be my first try. I do need the hi/moon settings, though.

Just get the Zebra since you are trying to match the Zebra specs. You'll be happier since specs are your priority.
The only Malkoff with a moon mode is the 1xAA.
 
W

WYlightGUY

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Well...upon further inspection it appears Zebra (and Malkoff) are all sold out/backordered on their AA lights. Understandable due to all the supply chain woes.

Guess I will not be obtaining a new torch anytime soon (unless someone has a lead on one with the specs i am looking for).

Thanks for the help everyone.
 
kerneldrop

kerneldrop

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I'd take a serious look at this one...it'll ship today, runs off 3v or rechargeable. Order abunch of battery station CR123s, and and some rechargeables and you have an excellent light. 415 lumens high, 15 lumens low. Nice warm beam.

Chuck Norris uses Elzetta.

 
W

WYlightGUY

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Thanks Kern!

That looks to be an excellent torch. I don't have experience with CR123s. I assume when you mean "rechargeables" you mean recharging batts of that size. That would require a charger obviously. Do you have a recommendation for that too? Sorry. FNG here.
 
kerneldrop

kerneldrop

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Thanks Kern!

That looks to be an excellent torch. I don't have experience with CR123s. I assume when you mean "rechargeables" you mean recharging batts of that size. That would require a charger obviously. Do you have a recommendation for that too? Sorry. FNG here.

Yes, 16340 size. The Alpha will handle 3.7v or 3v.

I wouldn't overthink or overcomplicate battery chargers...XTAR/Nitecore is popular. Illumn has a Nitecore in stock for $10. Charges 1 battery at a time.

These 3 volt batteries have a USB port to recharge: https://www.illumn.com/16340-keeppo...MIoZ72jf7K9QIVJeeGCh1DnAniEAQYAiABEgJz9PD_BwE

Elzetta sells this one that is 3.7 volt: https://elzetta.com/product/16340-battery-kit/

Then you can take the rest of your budget and get a USA made Peak El Capitan in AA 219b 4000K. It'll run off any battery type and will last forever.
It's a twisty. 2 lights that'll be all you ever need.
 
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B

Bob_McBob

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Well...upon further inspection it appears Zebra (and Malkoff) are all sold out/backordered on their AA lights. Understandable due to all the supply chain woes.
Bear in mind "back ordered" with Zebralight often just means a short delay before it ships. If you actually want to buy an SC53 I would send them an email to check the lead time.
 
kerneldrop

kerneldrop

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Well...upon further inspection it appears Zebra (and Malkoff) are all sold out/backordered on their AA lights.

You're in lucky because all of Malkoff's smaller lights are in stock.
I really like the MDC CR123 light...but 3 lumens is the low mode. That's the gem in the MDC lineup for me.
The MDC 2AA is like a mini-baton. It's built like a tank.

So if you need a light today, you have excellent USA made choices with Malkoff/Elzetta/Peak

 
W

WYlightGUY

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Yes! I just received the email from them.

Went ahead and picked up a 4000k MDC HA 2AA. This form factor is much like my Quark, I need a belt clip, and I prefer the AA power source.

Thanks for the advice everyone. I am now part of the Malkoff family.
 
kerneldrop

kerneldrop

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Yes! I just received the email from them.

Went ahead and picked up a 4000k MDC HA 2AA. This form factor is much like my Quark, I need a belt clip, and I prefer the AA power source.

Thanks for the advice everyone. I am now part of the Malkoff family.

You'll really like that light. Post back when you unbox it.
 
neutralwhite

neutralwhite

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Yes! I just received the email from them.

Went ahead and picked up a 4000k MDC HA 2AA. This form factor is much like my Quark, I need a belt clip, and I prefer the AA power source.

Thanks for the advice everyone. I am now part of the Malkoff family.
welcome to Malkoff.
 
D

defloyd77

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You're in lucky because all of Malkoff's smaller lights are in stock.
I really like the MDC CR123 light...but 3 lumens is the low mode. That's the gem in the MDC lineup for me.
The MDC 2AA is like a mini-baton. It's built like a tank.

So if you need a light today, you have excellent USA made choices with Malkoff/Elzetta/Peak


I honestly wish the MDC AA had a 3 lumen low instead of .3 lumens and the medium was like 20 lumens or something. Personally, if I'm limited to 3 modes, I'd rather skip moonlight, it just gets in my way.
 
kerneldrop

kerneldrop

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I honestly wish the MDC AA had a 3 lumen low instead of .3 lumens and the medium was like 20 lumens or something. Personally, if I'm limited to 3 modes, I'd rather skip moonlight, it just gets in my way.

I'm right there with you. I don't have a use for moonlight...as you said, it just gets in my way.
It sounds fun and neat to have, but I never use it.
I have two lights where low can be programmed from .02 lumens and I have them turning on at 4 and 6.
 
ledbetter

ledbetter

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Did someone say skip lowlow? This older aa can run 3v which ups output a little on all levels. Good for killing old primaries, but still prefer it with aa.I once basically only used aa lowlow and low an entire camping trip and had extra batteries for nothing. Enough light if it’s dark enough and your eyes have adjusted. Plus the lowlow varies a lot in the five I’ve personally handled.
E527B883 AAB6 4660 A6D7 67174FCF630A
 
this_is_nascar

this_is_nascar

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I use Malkoffs and Zebralights pretty much exclusively, but they are very different.

Zebralight are more compact, more versatile, have better anodizing, much better regulation, and higher potential brightness due to the emitters they use.
They mostly have larger spots with spill that's bright relative to the spot.
Some downsides are that they can also be glitchy, have little heatsinking, and the switches and lens aren't accessible.

The Malkoff MDCs are going to be more robust, with overkill heatsinking, better protected electronics, and easily replaceable switches and lenses. Their 4000K SST-20 won't win any awards for output, but its tint and color rendition is going to trump that of anything Zebralight uses, IMO.
They have more concentrated spots that will throw farther relative to their output than the 10 and 12° of ZL's AA lights.
Main downsides are that they're poorly regulated and very large.

You already know what you're getting with Zebralight.
Malkoff's lumens ratings are all over the place.
With the notable exception of lowlow on the 1xAA, though, the MDCs will initially be brighter than spec'd, but continually dim in all modes as battery voltage drops, since they are not current regulated(the only way around that is to use the newer li-ion AAs and 3V R123s that maintain constant voltage).

I like the durability, servicability, and tail-mounted clickies of Malkoff lights, so mostly stick with those for handheld use, and Zebralight for headlamps.

And, yes, it's that simple to build your own with a dropin and VME head, but you're going to have a single mode light.

Thanks for this post. While I love my 1st gen Mag drop--ins, this has convinced me that I want no parts of an actual Malkoff flashlight.
 

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