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Thread: Zebralight SC51 (XP-G R4) & SC50w (XP-E Neutral) 1xAA Reviews: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS +

  1. #31

    Default Re: Zebralight SC51 (XP-G R4) & SC50w (XP-E Neutral) 1xAA Reviews: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOT

    Quote Originally Posted by tandem View Post
    One notable difference is the lack of a strobe output in the H51's published specs unless I've missed that somewhere.

    Oops, ignore the above, I confused the SC50 with the SC51, according to Selfbuilt's review the SC51 dropped strobe mode, and published specs on the H51 also indicate no strobe output. Hmnn, that's a negative for bikers for the H51/SC51. I use strobe output on the LD10 all the time during the day for riding in traffic. it'd have been nice to optionally enable it.
    It's unfortunate that Zebralight left out the emergency mode on the new lights. They jumped on the maximum brightness mentality that's popular at the moment. There are six modes. How many people need all six modes? My H501 has 3 modes plus an emergency mode. I am very happy with those modes. Five modes plus an emergency mode would make the light more versatile. But no they have to listen to the whining morons who don't like emergency modes.
    Last edited by davidt1; 09-15-2010 at 11:20 AM.
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  2. #32
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    Default Re: Zebralight SC51 (XP-G R4) & SC50w (XP-E Neutral) 1xAA Reviews: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOT

    Quote Originally Posted by selfbuilt View Post
    Ok, but first with the BIG caveat that I don't trust tailcap current draws on max output. Even on my DMM's 10A scale, I know from previous testing the actual output tends to drop somewhat when doing these, suggesting a resistance issue somewhere with the DMM. That being said, here are the initial readings that I get with a Sanyo Eneloop NiMH:

    SC50w: 1.15A on max Hi (i.e. 107 Lm for the "w" version, 120 Lm for the cool white equivalent)
    SC51: 2.15A on max Hi (i.e. 200 Lm?)
    SC51: 1.05A on secondary Hi (i.e. 100 Lm?)

    Lumen estimates for the SC51 are simply based on the H51 numbers - I have no reliable info yet. But these numbers do seem reasonable for those potential specs.
    Thanks for the info Selfbuilt. That helps alot! Yes the internal resistance of the DMM may play a part, but at least we get some rough idea how much current is drawn.

    That being said, this means that the SC51 on high is roughly pulling 1C on a 2000M mAh Eneloop. Is there a Max/Safe discharge rate for an AA LSD Nimh, and is it safe to run for long periods of time? I am assuming Nimh to be very tolerant so am not expecting the cell to leak or vent, but would that high of a discharge rate shorten the life of the cell? Maybe this question belongs in the Battery section?

  3. #33
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    Default Re: Zebralight SC51 (XP-G R4) & SC50w (XP-E Neutral) 1xAA Reviews: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOT

    Quote Originally Posted by LiteShow View Post
    That being said, this means that the SC51 on high is roughly pulling 1C on a 2000M mAh Eneloop. Is there a Max/Safe discharge rate for an AA LSD Nimh, and is it safe to run for long periods of time?
    No doubt this belongs in the battery subforum but in general for the crop of newer high performance single AA lights the situation is bright indeed...



    Sanyo's information site suggests that even > 1C discharge rates will deliver good performance but it doesn't talk about cell longevity degradation. At 2$ a cell on sale for Eneloop/Duraloops, I simply don't care much if I get 300 cycles or 500 or even 100. Edit: Here at CPF Silverfox has a study where higher rate charge and discharges were performed to get a sense of cycle life.
    Last edited by tandem; 09-10-2010 at 12:23 PM.

  4. #34
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    Default Re: Zebralight SC51 (XP-G R4) & SC50w (XP-E Neutral) 1xAA Reviews: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOT

    Quote Originally Posted by selfbuilt View Post
    For a full power strobe, there would be no additional cycle sequence within the constant output. In essence, you get very slow PWM - 2 cycles per second (strobe) instead of hundreds or thousands of cycles per second (PWM). If you had a light with a low output strobe, then I suppose it's possible that PWM could be used (although I would expect a low current would be far more likely).
    Some light does not disable pwm at full power, but uses 98% or 99% pwm for full power (IFE1 uses 62%, but they also did everything to spoil a good idea and good construction).
    No light that I have tested disables pwm for flashing modes, but they combines pwm with the flashing mode, sometimes lowering the pwm frequency.
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  5. #35

    Default Re: Zebralight SC51 (XP-G R4) & SC50w (XP-E Neutral) 1xAA Reviews: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOT

    Quote Originally Posted by davidt1 View Post
    It's unfortunate that Zebralight left out the emergency mode on the new lights. They jumped on the maximum brightness mentality that's popular at the moment. ... Five modes plus an emergency mode would make the light more versatile. But no they have to listen to the whining morons who don't like emergency modes.
    Although I didn't get into it in the review, I personally like 2Hz signaling strobe on the older SC50 series.

    I think the issue with all the modern ZL light is that a lot of people complained about the lack of a secondary Hi (i.e. they found primary Med too far away from primary Hi, especially on 14500/RCR). This is presumably why they partially removed it on the "+" modes (i.e. replaced with secondary Hi on 14500). I guess this is the progression of that thinking.

    To be honest, I do like the idea of the secondary Hi - it's probably secondary Med that I could most easily dispense with of all 6 modes. But that would clutter up the interface to have Strobe as secondary Med.

    As a personal plea, I hope other makers abandon the ever-present "tacticool" high freq strobes on consumer lights. I'm not going to try and incapacitate someone with a 1xAA or 1xAAA light. A nice slow signalling strobe (1-2 Hz) is ideal for the regular user, methinks.

    Quote Originally Posted by tandem View Post
    No doubt this belongs in the battery subforum but in general for the crop of newer high performance single AA lights the situation is bright indeed...
    Yes, this is definitely more an area for those with expertise in the battery forum. Personally, I wouldn't worry about ~1-1.5C discharge rate.

    Quote Originally Posted by HKJ View Post
    Some light does not disable pwm at full power, but uses 98% or 99% pwm for full power (IFE1 uses 62%, but they also did everything to spoil a good idea and good construction).
    No light that I have tested disables pwm for flashing modes, but they combines pwm with the flashing mode, sometimes lowering the pwm frequency.
    Interesting, thanks HKJ. Most of my lights with PWM don't seem to have it at full power - at least, I'm not able to detect it with my setup. What is your experience as to how common it is to still see PWM (98-99%) on full power?
    Last edited by selfbuilt; 09-10-2010 at 12:41 PM.
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  6. #36
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    Default Re: Zebralight SC51 (XP-G R4) & SC50w (XP-E Neutral) 1xAA Reviews: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOT

    Quote Originally Posted by selfbuilt View Post
    Interesting, thanks HKJ. Most of my lights with PWM don't seem to have it at full power - at least, I'm not able to detect it with my setup. What is your experience as to how common it is to still see PWM (98-99%) on full power?
    I can not really put a percent on it, but it happens. Here are a few examples: C2H: Max is 91%, Mr.Lite 98% and the IFE1: 62%.
    One reason to not reach 100% (i.e. no pwm) at full power is to save a few bytes in the program, I have not tried to program a microprocessor for a flashlight (But have done it for many other application) and do not really know if this is a valid reason (I would suspect not).
    As you probably have seen I can easily catch a fast pwm (100+ kHz), and with the setup I am using I can show it or filter it out when showing flashing modes or brightness. Filtering it out can be a advantage when looking for the actual brightness.
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  7. #37

    Default Re: Zebralight SC51 (XP-G R4) & SC50w (XP-E Neutral) 1xAA Reviews: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOT

    I've gotten some updates from Zebralight on the issues identified for the SC51 in the review:

    • The H51 and SC51 share the same circuit (a buck-boost, that has been heavily optimized since the original H50)
    • My engineering sample had a lower PWM, but the final shipping version should be close to those found in the SC30/H31 (i.e. twice what I found on the SC51).
    • ZL explains that they use lower freq PWM in the Low2 level for improved circuit efficiency. They claim to be able to filter out the visible PWM with the capacitor in the output stage, even though the PWM may still be detectable by oscilloscope.
    • The positive contacts used in the SC51 are simply from a new batch, which presumably explains the heightened sensitivity to flat tops. Nothing is changed in terms of positive polarity detection.
    • They purposefully toned down the 14500 performance to closer to the L91/NIMH for safety concerns on Li ions (protected or not).
    • ZL confirmed that parasitic drain is lower on the AA-series lights, compared to their other offerings. They say they will try to implement this feature on the SC30/SC60/H31 lights in the future.
    • One minor difference between the SC50 and SC51 that I didn't note - the threading is a bit thicker now - 1.25mm pitch. In addition to the same circuit, the SC51 and H51 also use the same thread, and tailcap.

    Last edited by selfbuilt; 09-12-2010 at 08:11 AM.
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    Default Re: Zebralight SC51 (XP-G R4) & SC50w (XP-E Neutral) 1xAA Reviews: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOT

    If the circuit is the same as the h51 does this mean its not meant to run on 14500?

  9. #39
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    Default Re: Zebralight SC51 (XP-G R4) & SC50w (XP-E Neutral) 1xAA Reviews: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOT

    Quote Originally Posted by selfbuilt View Post
    the final shipping version should be close to those found in the SC30/H31 (i.e. twice what I found on the SC51
    +1 for x2!

    I'm so blown away by the output and runtimes of the SC51 (and I've been blown away by the LD10R4 in real use) that I think I'll overlook the lack of strobe and figure one or two of these in to my buying plans. I sure hope the LD10 R4 and now the SC51 introduction are road signs pointing on more optimizations to come from these and other manufacturers.

  10. #40

    Default Re: Zebralight SC51 (XP-G R4) & SC50w (XP-E Neutral) 1xAA Reviews: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOT

    Quote Originally Posted by hazna View Post
    If the circuit is the same as the h51 does this mean its not meant to run on 14500?
    ZL also informed that they purposefully toned down the 14500 performance to closer to the L91/NIMH for safety concerns on Li ions (protected or not).

    So that would tell me that 14500 are supported ... but I suppose they may still not be officially supporting them. In any case, I don't see a problem - unless you need a magnetic spacer to make contact as mine did. I seriously do not recommend that, as those magnets are a real safety concern (i.e. they could potentially short the cell)
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  11. #41

    Default Re: Zebralight SC51 (XP-G R4) & SC50w (XP-E Neutral) 1xAA Reviews: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOT

    Did they give you any info on a possible release date? Or a neutral version?

  12. #42
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    Default Re: Zebralight SC51 (XP-G R4) & SC50w (XP-E Neutral) 1xAA Reviews: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOT

    If the performance on a Nimh and 14500 are the same, why would you use a lower capacity 14500 anyway?

  13. #43

    Default Re: Zebralight SC51 (XP-G R4) & SC50w (XP-E Neutral) 1xAA Reviews: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOT

    Quote Originally Posted by Brasso View Post
    If the performance on a Nimh and 14500 are the same, why would you use a lower capacity 14500 anyway?
    14500 weighs less than a NiMh bat, almost 1/2 as much.

    +1 for adding a low freq. strobe to second med. or better yet a programmable UI like IBS.

  14. #44
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    Default Re: Zebralight SC51 (XP-G R4) & SC50w (XP-E Neutral) 1xAA Reviews: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOT

    Quote Originally Posted by Brasso View Post
    If the performance on a Nimh and 14500 are the same, why would you use a lower capacity 14500 anyway?
    Umm a 14500 cell has 2.775 Wh of energy.

    A Eneloop has 2.4 Wh of energy.

    So technically a 14500 has more capacity than a eneloop.

    However the Nimh circuit may be more efficient than the Li-on circuit within the light.

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    Default Re: Zebralight SC51 (XP-G R4) & SC50w (XP-E Neutral) 1xAA Reviews: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOT

    Quote Originally Posted by davidt1 View Post
    But no they have to listen to the whining morons who don't like emergency modes.
    Hmmm, you have just directly insulted an awful lot of CPFers with that statement. I thought this forum had a policy of "attack the post, not the person" ?

    I'd also be interested in finding out why you think your preferences should take priority over mine ?

    I hate strobes with with a passion, so I'm happy to either not have them at all, or have them hidden away so well I can't accidentally activate them unless I specifically want them (which is probably the best compromise, but does complicate the UI).

    There are so many conflicting preferences amongst potential customers it is impossible for any manufacturer to satisfy everybody with just one UI (and yes, I include programmable lights in that statement). Of all my lights, I prefer the Zebralight style of UI.

    I guess the marketplace will have the final say (there are lots and lots of cheap lights that DO have strobes - some with a choice of more than one frequency)

    PS As soon as the SC51 is available I will be buying one, it looks very promising (and I like the two ZL lights I have now).

  16. #46

    Default Re: Zebralight SC51 (XP-G R4) & SC50w (XP-E Neutral) 1xAA Reviews: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOT

    detectable by oscilloscope
    So the production model's PWM can no longer be seen with the naked eye? If I wasn't looking for it with a ceiling fan test or something I wouldn't notice? I've since found out my would-be alternative to this light already has some other type of flickering anyway (& at a much higher cost), so I still welcome any improvement in this regard. Thanks for the updated specs.




    Quote Originally Posted by Gregozedobe View Post
    Hmmm, you have just directly insulted an awful lot of CPFers with that statement. I thought this forum had a policy of "attack the post, not the person" ?

    I'd also be interested in finding out why you think your preferences should take priority over mine ?

    I hate strobes with with a passion, so I'm happy to either not have them at all, or have them hidden away so well I can't accidentally activate them unless I specifically want them (which is probably the best compromise, but does complicate the UI).

    There are so many conflicting preferences amongst potential customers it is impossible for any manufacturer to satisfy everybody with just one UI (and yes, I include programmable lights in that statement). Of all my lights, I prefer the Zebralight style of UI.

    I guess the marketplace will have the final say (there are lots and lots of cheap lights that DO have strobes - some with a choice of more than one frequency)

    PS As soon as the SC51 is available I will be buying one, it looks very promising (and I like the two ZL lights I have now).
    Wish more companies could appease these competing interests like S.F. did with their M3LT & M3LT-S. Otherwise identical except for strobe. That's pretty rare though for obvious reasons. At least Z.L.'s listening, so our moronic whining IS working. Let's keep it up! And yes personal insults are sometimes okay- but only when you're really angry, about flashlights.

    Hey the heads don't unscrew on these right, just the tailcaps? So no swapping out with one of their headlights' bodies & using the SC51's head to avoid the whole clip situation?

  17. #47

    Default Re: Zebralight SC51 (XP-G R4) & SC50w (XP-E Neutral) 1xAA Reviews: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOT

    Quote Originally Posted by leon2245 View Post
    So the production model's PWM can no longer be seen with the naked eye? If I wasn't looking for it with a ceiling fan test or something I wouldn't notice?
    Well, ZL is hoping to have the PWM freq higher on the shipping version - as always, no guarantees.

    Personally, even at ~120 Hz (the Lo2 freq on the SC30/H31), I find PWM quite noticeable in use. But other report not finding it an issue at this level. Certainly no problem with 450+ Hz .... although detectable with a ceiling fan, I don't know anyone who complains about it in practice.

    Hey the heads don't unscrew on these right, just the tailcaps? So no swapping out with one of their headlights' bodies & using the SC51's head to avoid the whole clip situation?
    That's right, the head is a sealed unit - only the tailcap opens.
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  18. #48
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    Default Re: Zebralight SC51 (XP-G R4) & SC50w (XP-E Neutral) 1xAA Reviews: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOT

    Thanks for this great review!

  19. #49
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    Default Re: Zebralight SC51 (XP-G R4) & SC50w (XP-E Neutral) 1xAA Reviews: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOT

    Having higher PWM in the shipping version is good. Higher than 120hz would be nice, but personally, it's under 100hz where it's really annoying.


    And not having silly useless strobe and sos and such automatically makes a light more appealing than one with der blinkenlights.

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    Default Re: Zebralight SC51 (XP-G R4) & SC50w (XP-E Neutral) 1xAA Reviews: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOT

    I've been away for a while from here, but it's very nice to see that you still are keeping up the great work.
    As always, awesome review Selfbuilt!

    And holy crap, what kind of output on a regular AA. Seems like I chose the right time to look for another light.

    A small request if you have the time. Since the light is so tiny, it would be nice to see it together with other recent popular AA-lights in the review(your regular comparison pics you usually have are great to judge the sizes). I was kind of surprised when I googled and couldn't find any good comparison pics anywhere with the SC50/51 and other popular AA-lights like D10, Quark AA, Fenix etc etc. Seems like the SC50 hasn't reached the popularity as the previous mentioned lights, yet.

  21. #51

    Default Re: Zebralight SC51 (XP-G R4) & SC50w (XP-E Neutral) 1xAA Reviews: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOT

    Quote Originally Posted by Lobo View Post
    A small request if you have the time. Since the light is so tiny, it would be nice to see it together with other recent popular AA-lights in the review(your regular comparison pics you usually have are great to judge the sizes). I was kind of surprised when I googled and couldn't find any good comparison pics anywhere with the SC50/51 and other popular AA-lights like D10, Quark AA, Fenix etc etc. Seems like the SC50 hasn't reached the popularity as the previous mentioned lights, yet.
    A good point:



    Added to the review (I'll leave you guessing which is the SC51 and which is the SC50w ... ).
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  22. #52
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    Default Re: Zebralight SC51 (XP-G R4) & SC50w (XP-E Neutral) 1xAA Reviews: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOT

    Thanks!

    Damn, it's as short as a quark mini. Think you just pushed me off the fence there with that pic. =)
    Can't wait til the sc51 is available(and hopefully with the standard zebralight headband).

  23. #53
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    Default Re: Zebralight SC51 (XP-G R4) & SC50w (XP-E Neutral) 1xAA Reviews: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOT

    I keep wanting to like Li-ion cells (maybe the TK12 and 18650's will convert me yet) in single cell lights so I was staring at the review charts of nicely flat regulated SC51 output on Hi-1 and Hi-2 on AW Protected 14500 cells (good job!) until finally I noticed that output and runtimes on High-2 are more or less the same for Sanyo Eneloops and AW Protected 14500's. The AW cells provided 10 minutes more runtime but at what appears to be a negligible drop in output compared to the Eneloops.

  24. #54
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    Default Re: Zebralight SC51 (XP-G R4) & SC50w (XP-E Neutral) 1xAA Reviews: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOT

    If you want to like Li-ion cells, it's best to try them in a light that is optimized for them, unlike the SC51 which is most definitely not.
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    Default Re: Zebralight SC51 (XP-G R4) & SC50w (XP-E Neutral) 1xAA Reviews: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOT

    I happen to agree about the desirability of having a signaling flashing mode available but well hidden. However, I would never refer to other posters who hold a different opinion as "whiners." That kind of language/behavior is just obnoxious and uncalled for, imo.
    Last edited by pae77; 09-15-2010 at 12:19 PM.
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  26. #56

    Default Re: Zebralight SC51 (XP-G R4) & SC50w (XP-E Neutral) 1xAA Reviews: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOT

    Quote Originally Posted by pae77 View Post
    I happen to agree about the desirability of having a signaling flashing mode available but well hidden. However, I would never refer to other posters who hold a different opinion as "whiners." That kind of language/behavior is just obnoxious and uncalled for, imo.
    +1

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    Default Re: Zebralight SC51 (XP-G R4) & SC50w (XP-E Neutral) 1xAA Reviews: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOT

    Quote Originally Posted by Lobo View Post
    I've been away for a while from here, but it's very nice to see that you still are keeping up the great work.
    As always, awesome review Selfbuilt!
    I've been away too - for the last 10 days.

    Excellent review! This new ZL seems extraordinary...
    Resistance is futile...

  28. #58

    Default Re: Zebralight SC51 (XP-G R4) & SC50w (XP-E Neutral) 1xAA Reviews: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOT

    Quote Originally Posted by DM51 View Post
    Excellent review! This new ZL seems extraordinary...
    Yes, it certainly is upping the ante for the 1xAA realm!

    FYI, having EDCed the SC50w for the last month or so, I can report I am still pleased with its performance. But the SC51 does have an improvement in terms of switch timings that isn't immediately obvious: it doesn't move through the modes quite as quickly.

    This is important, as I find sometimes on the SC50w I still don't hold the button down long enough to get only Min, and instead get treated to Max output when I release too early. It usually happens when I have dark-adapted eyes and I'm trying to avoid it cycling up to Med by holding too long - an unpleasant surprise to get hit with Max, to put it mildly.

    As such, I'm glad to see the SC51 gives slightly more time before cycling on a press-hold. The difference isn't huge - and I can't quantify it - but I can tell the difference if I let the lights cycle through a few rounds repeatedly. The SC51 cycles through them slower than the SC50.
    Last edited by selfbuilt; 09-16-2010 at 09:44 AM.
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  29. #59
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    Default Re: Zebralight SC51 (XP-G R4) & SC50w (XP-E Neutral) 1xAA Reviews: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOT

    Quote Originally Posted by selfbuilt View Post
    Yes, it certainly is upping the ante for the 1xAA realm!

    FYI, having EDCed the SC50w for the last month or so, I can report I am still pleased with its performance. But the SC51 does have an improvement in terms of switch timings that isn't immediately obvious: it doesn't move through the modes quite as quickly.

    This is important, as I find sometimes on the SC50w I still don't hold the button down long enough to get only Min, and instead get treated to Max output when I release too early. It usually happens when I have dark-adapted eyes and I'm trying to avoid it cycling up to Med by holding too long - an unpleasant surprise to get hit with Max, to put it mildly.

    As such, I'm glad to see the SC51 gives slightly more time before cycling on a press-hold. The difference isn't huge - and I can't quantify it - but I can tell the difference if I let the lights cycle through a few rounds repeatedly. The SC51 cycles through them slower than the SC50.

    That's a small but significant improvement IMO. Low mode for me is used very often and after 4 months of EDC use with the SC50, I still make the occasional mistake (especially if I am in a big rush) in letting the switch go too quickly when attempting to start in low - blinding my night adapted eyes with high mode. With the extra time between modes, that's a welcome feature indeed. Of course the other way to absolutely guarantee I start in low is to cover the front of the light (and leaving a small crack) when turning it on. I can then check the output and making it sure it is on low before uncovering it.

    I do wish that Zebralight could find a way to keep the strobes (fast and slow speeds) in there - maybe add some sought of hidden modes somewhere (accessed by a sequence of long and short presses). I have used strobes with my EDC a few times in the past for either getting people's attention form a distance or at the scene of a traffic accident to warn other drivers. Plus, strobes add a little cool factor too IMO. OK, I know this topic about having stobes in lights is highly subjective and I don't want to start yet another debate about it. However, if strobes can be hidden away until when needed and not interfere with regular use, I think that would be ideal.

  30. #60

    Default Re: Zebralight SC51 (XP-G R4) & SC50w (XP-E Neutral) 1xAA Reviews: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOT

    Quote Originally Posted by LiteShow View Post
    Low mode for me is used very often and after 4 months of EDC use with the SC50, I still make the occasional mistake (especially if I am in a big rush) in letting the switch go too quickly when attempting to start in low - blinding my night adapted eyes with high mode. With the extra time between modes, that's a welcome feature indeed.
    Agreed. Note that the difference with the SC51 is subtle (I hadn't noticed at first). But it does seem to lead to less accidental middle-of-the-night blindings (at least for me).

    Plus, strobes add a little cool factor too IMO.
    Yeah, nothing impresses non-flashaholics like a strobe mode. I do like the slow strobe of the SC50w, but would also like a secondary Hi (as a battery saving measure for relatively high output). Not sure how to implement "hidden" modes with this design, though.
    Full list of all my reviews: flashlightreviews.ca. Latest hobby: whiskyanalysis.com. New: Selfbuilt's MID-RANGE MYSTERY BOX Sale
    Gratefully accepting donations to my battery fund.

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