I just did my first attempt at programming a Zebra beyond just changing the sub-levels. Didn't seem as complicated as reading some of the posts on here made me think.
Yeah, it sounds worse than it is. The main advantage of their method, I think, is that I remember how to do it after a year. The Anduril (and HDS) stuff is perfectly good, but I can't remember how to, say, set the temperature limit, without referring to the manual and figuring out, with practice, how that whole click - buzz - click thing works. Compare to: click a bunch until the brightness changes, then double or triple click to adjust.
My biggest complaint about the whole interface, that programming doesn't fix, is that click (turn on) followed by click-click (switch level) is WAY too often interpreted as triple-click strobe. I never want strobe. Shouldn't require so long a pause between click and click-click to avoid it. But, whatever. I also hate deep-carry clips with a passion, yet others seem to love them... no light is perfect.
Brand loyalty is definitely a thing, but I think a lot of critics of loyalty are equating their different preferences in design compromises, with actual flaws. That's certainly the case with the Apple/Android eternal debate. Sure, ZL isn't perfect, but I'll generally take their compromises over the choices of other companies, if asked to name a favorite brand.
I'm a fan of the current clip on the SC53. IDK if it is "professional", but it looks good, and doesn't wear out my pockets, given my non-professional amount of usage (a couple of clip cycles a day, on the 10% of days I carry it vs something else, and when I clip it vs having it just in a pocket). I'm also used to pens with metal clips, where if you want to be nice to your shirt pocket, you kind of lift the tip of the clip while un-clipping (can be two handed depending on dexterity, nail length, and fabric). It's just natural, after years of fountain pens, and a combo of knitted and woven shirt fabrics of different thicknesses.
Just got my new SC53cNs in! Wow, these are nice. Way better tint than the (perfectly OK) LH351s. In comparison, the 519 4k is a nice ivory (so a tiny bit of yellow, no green?) vs a greenish tint (only visible in direct comparison) on the SC31 Pro LH351 that I also just got.
This is my third 519 light, and I've tried 3k, 3.5k, and 4k. 3k is a bit warm, even for me, though I have a couple of even warmer lights that I enjoy (esp. for power outages). Somewhere 3.5-4k I do think is a perfect: warm enough to look good at night, cool enough to look good during the day. I would have ordered the Emisar as a dual-tint 3k,4k but wasn't an option at the time. I'd probably lean to 4k being "perfect". 3 is clearly too warm, and 5 is clearly too cool (for looking good in all common conditions).
The 53 isn't nearly as bright, of course, and I have to agree that, unless the NiMH cell is like 80-100% charged, H1 and H2 are as identical as makes any difference. I programmed G6 to be H4-M1,M2-M3,M4-L1 and G7 as an "alkaline friendly" M1-M2, M3-M4, L1-L2. G5 if I need it as bright as possible.
Given the fit issues I'm hearing about 14500s, I'm just not inclined to bother. I don't want a crushed 14500, just too dangerous. That, and the spring grinds the bottom of the battery more than I really like for the thinner metal of lithiums. I'm more comfortable using alkalines, also, since the spring tailcap is easy to clean, should a leak ever happen. The pogo pins would probably be destroyed. (I know, I know, but I just like alkalines sometimes)
I do wish the circuit was as efficient as the sc5, but, hey, I love the size and the smooth, curved, un-knurled finish of the SC53. It's still, AFAIK, a good bit more efficient than my second favorite, the Lumintop Tool AA. Haven't measured efficiency percentages, but the specs from reviews seem to show more lumens for more minutes.