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Thread: Petzl NAO - high-tech headlamp review.

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* Szemhazai's Avatar
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    Buttrock Petzl NAO - high-tech headlamp review.

    NAO is the latest headlamp from Petzl - which brings together all the technological innovations of the past few years. Cree XP-G LEDís as a light source, 18650 Li-Ion cell as a power source, programming modes and charging via USB. Anything else? New Zephyr carrying system and "Reactive" - the system that automatically adjusts the light to your needs...

    Impressions

    Nice, relatively light (instead of 187 catalog it weighs 190g, but it's a small difference) it appears to be a lamp refined in every detail. No edges except for switch - the switch itself is large and very easy to use. "Eye of Sauron" - as some call light sensor, for certain will attract the attention of every customer .



    Read more =>> Petzl NAO it works !
    Last edited by Szemhazai; 07-29-2017 at 01:23 PM. Reason: Imageshack went down - article was moved to the Light-Test.info website.
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  2. #2

    Default Re: Petzl NAO - high-tech headlamp review.

    Thanks for another great review Szemhazai. I tried one of these in the store but it is nice to see some outdoor testing. I think for me I will stick with my Zebralight H600. I do like the reactive lighting but wonder if it would be something that I would use for a short time and then go back to manual mode. I am happy to see Petzel making some innovations again.

  3. #3
    Flashaholic* Szemhazai's Avatar
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    Default Re: Petzl NAO - high-tech headlamp review.

    I am going to test it on 140+ km trail race over next weekend - I will see how it really works . Only the battery problem is no longer an issue for me - but I'll know +/- what is the power usage in some real conditions.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Petzl NAO - high-tech headlamp review.

    Thanks for a great review.

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* Szemhazai's Avatar
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    Default Re: Petzl NAO - high-tech headlamp review.

    On last weekend we had some competition in mountains, so I took it with me

    As expected, in the clouds it switched lumen output to a minimum assuming that the amount of light is sufficient. Switching to manual mode did not improve the situation, because the array of light in front of your eyes does not help you in the observation of slippery rocks underfoot. I switched to Reactive Mode High and pushed forward without problems. Small drizzle does not interfere with the reactive system.

    The lamp fluently switches between the modes between flood and spot as needed – for most of the time I was using Reactive mode LOW, using 2400mAh battery in night competition environment, with the temperature about 4*C, the practical burn time was almost 8 hours. The headband is comfortable, but after 10 hours I’ve started to feel those two plastic adapters between headband and cords.

    In summary – it works fine, but without the spare battery I would curse it many times before sunrise .
    Last edited by Szemhazai; 09-17-2012 at 12:13 PM.
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Petzl NAO - high-tech headlamp review.

    What do the reactive modes do when you smear some mud on the sensor? I'm guessing it bumps up very high thinking zero lux is being returned.

    Thanks for the excellent review!

  7. #7

    Default Re: Petzl NAO - high-tech headlamp review.

    Nice review, as always!

    It would be nice to see a 3400mAh 18650 mod

    I love my Petzl Nao. This is the first headlamp which is really lets hendsfree use.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Petzl NAO - high-tech headlamp review.

    So after much debate and rweading reviews I finally ordered one, had a hell of a hard time as the first time it arrived they could not turn it on in the shop (Battery flat), and i refused to buy it if it would not go...evfentually they put some aaa in it and it worked like a trooper.
    Took it home and gave the recharge a good blast on an iPhone carger, put on the included head strapy thing and wow, this puts out some serious juice, have now downloaded software and plan to set it up to my specs.
    Only down side is once you turn it off, the light from the charge indicator is also very bright for a few secs so if you want instant off you are not going to get it.
    Sold my old headlight though - this is just too good!
    NovaTac 120P +Petzl NAO

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Petzl NAO - high-tech headlamp review.

    I bought one. Great headlamp. Hey, thanks for the review.
    Would you be able to explain exactly where did you solder the thermisor and which one did you use?
    More close-up pictures of the final soldered board and battery holder would be much appreciated.
    I am definitely doing the mod when I fell I got it right.

    By the way, Does anyone have good recommendations for the profile settings?
    I like the floody side so much!

  10. #10

    Default Petzl NAO - high-tech headlamp review.

    This makes me want to "need" a headlamp...

  11. #11

    Default Re: Petzl NAO - high-tech headlamp review.

    Hi guys,

    Petzl states in the literature that the battery alone(without the plastic container) is available but I haven't seen it sold anywhere except when packaged as part of the expensive pack. The literature says to reference part E36A20.


    I would hope this would drop the price significantly and allow an easier path for possible hacks.

    Also the literature states the battery is warranted for one year.

    chasm22

  12. #12
    Flashaholic* Szemhazai's Avatar
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    Default Re: Petzl NAO - high-tech headlamp review.

    I've done it... 2x Cree XP-G2 R4 3A tint
    Last edited by Szemhazai; 11-29-2012 at 04:43 PM.
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  13. #13

    Default Re: Petzl NAO - high-tech headlamp review.

    Great job. Beamshots please. Anxious to compare the difference with XPG.

  14. #14
    Flashaholic* Szemhazai's Avatar
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    Default Re: Petzl NAO - high-tech headlamp review.

    The difference in light output is almost invisible by naked eye, the spot is a bit smaller... More distinctive is the difference in the light tint (from some 6000+K to 5000+K ).

    High


    Low
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  15. #15

    Default Re: Petzl NAO - high-tech headlamp review.

    Thanks for sharing. In my opinion, I prefer the 3A tint.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Petzl NAO - high-tech headlamp review.

    Very nice tint... and longer runtime with the xp-g2.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Petzl NAO - high-tech headlamp review.

    Just picked up a Nao about two weeks ago and love it, especially when paired with the Petzl OS software. I was wondering if anyone has successfully made a spare battery yet or modded their original one for mah?

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Petzl NAO - high-tech headlamp review.

    A review on Amazon indicated the 315 Lumens is achieved as a sum total of the two separate emitters:
    Summary: Despite its short comings, this head torch is a game changer purely based on the software customisation. It produces an excellent light output for all but the more demanding spotlighting applications, and I wouldn't consider it for downhill skiing/snowboarding or mountain bike riding (you will need triple the output of this light). If you want a dual 150 + 150 lumen head torch with excellent diffuse light output and reasonable spotting capability (for a light and Petzl NAO Headlampcompact head torch), that is software customisable to exactly how you like, then this torch is for you.
    The beamshots posted above for High on reactive mode would appear to corroborate this. Is that an accurate assessment of this unit?

    Also BTW, a caveat for those that ski in avalanche terrain and use this, from another review:
    I then checked for interference with my avalanche beacons, and indeed found that close proximity to the beacons introduces a significant amount of noise.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Petzl NAO - high-tech headlamp review.

    Quote Originally Posted by TSellers View Post
    ...Is that an accurate assessment of this unit?
    Maybe only sort of...

    Downhill skiing and snowboarding are inherent go fast activities that many people find best accommodated by constant mode lights with high output flood AND throw capabilities. Downhill type mountain bike racers might feel the same way, but I find my NAO highly appropriate for the type of mountain biking I'm currently most interested in doing at night. Two hands stuffed into a set of Bar Mitts on a fat tired Salsa Mukluk "snow bike" can get pretty busy trying keep the thing moving forward AND right side up, which doesn't leave an appendage free to mess with a light mode switch on demand.

    I've been using my NAO for months and sometimes used to get annoyed when it changed modes unexpectedly, but I eventually learned to remember why it did what it did, I programmed it to do that! You can always select constant mode if you want, but I've come to appreciate the thing helping to preserve some of my dark adaptation vision by stepping down when I look down, glance over at a nearby tree or snow covered bush, exhale a big cloud of ice crystals in front of my face or crash.

    I couldn't find a dealer that would sell me just a spare shrink wrapped inner lithium plug-in battery, so I eventually bought another complete NAO Battery Pack (and belt mount kit too).

    If the NAO can be heard on an avalanche transceiver, I wonder it it might also be best to turn it off before activating a PLB nearby if the need arose? Thanks for the tip.

    The NAO may not be perfect, but it just might be more so than many other currently available headlights (YMMV).

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Petzl NAO - high-tech headlamp review.

    Thanks for the unbiased and insightful views on this. I wonder if the other manufacturers will follow suit with this technology, or if something else in terms of more refinements will be around the corner. My take is it might be unforgivable the way Petzl make the consumer eschew the use of a standard OEM 18650 of their choice. I did some quick math and if you were on a multi day trip and wanted to get the same 11.5 hours at 320 lumen that the Spark SX5 would give you with the optional belt pack containing 4 18650's, you'd need 8 extra battery packs for the Petzl, so your total investment would be up to $640.00 for the Petzl and you'd be close to 1 Kilo in weight as opposed to 350g for the Spark setup at around $150.00 or so.

    Regarding the beacon, the reviewer did say if the beacon was kept 3' from the light it should be OK. Ditto with the noise he saw in his pictures. I think I'll be going with a Spark due to the RFI shielding that is inherent to their construction, and of course other factors such as price and hinge. I have had bad luck with hinge designs in the past from breakage to simply flopping downward and that's a reason Zebralight and Spark caught my attention to start with.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Petzl NAO - high-tech headlamp review.

    Nice review, Thank you!

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Petzl NAO - high-tech headlamp review.

    Great review! I bought a Nao back in mid Oct and love it. Sure it has it's flaws (namely the fog issue discussed above and also when breathing), but that stuff is expected from a first generation product. I'm not quite sure how Petzl and others will rectify the reactive/fog issue, but it sure would be nice if the sensor could detect that you are in a foggy/humid environment, and compensate for it. Things to look forward to I guess..

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    Default Re: Petzl NAO - high-tech headlamp review.

    Great post about this product! I wish I had seen it when I was doing my initial research. I do photography, outdoor concerts etc and this comes in really handy when breaking down my gear after a show when there is no power in the field. I got a Petz NAO headlamp also for a friend of mine and they loved it. When I was doing research I found this place linked here..... first post link removed.... that was really great about talking with me more on the product before making my purchase. They have great customer support, check them out! I can't say enough good things about the headlamp. I am so paranoid about leaving my photo gear behind that trying to see in the dark makes having one of these a pure pleasure.Ty
    Last edited by Bullzeyebill; 02-06-2013 at 10:29 PM. Reason: First posts links are suspect for spam

  24. #24
    Flashaholic* AnAppleSnail's Avatar
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    Default Re: Petzl NAO - high-tech headlamp review.

    The air force detects fog (contrails) with a laser. On the ground you'd need a different system: if an offset laser looks like a point to a sensor, no fog. If it looks like a smear or a line, there's fog.
    My biggest light-hog is my camera.

  25. #25

    Default Re: Petzl NAO - high-tech headlamp review.

    Fantastic review as always. Great reading. Thank you

  26. #26

    Default Re: Petzl NAO - high-tech headlamp review.

    My NAO have a pretty nice tint of light, but the manufacturer does not claim to use selected LEDís, so as usual it may depend on the series.
    Thanks for this fine review. I'm very interested in the Nao, but I'm hesitant only because I wonder if the nice, less-bluish tint shown in this review is the same tint emitted by all Naos. Can anyone confirm this? I'd rather get a headlamp that doesn't have a harsh blue "cool white" tint.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Petzl NAO - high-tech headlamp review.

    Quote Originally Posted by beamon View Post
    ...I wonder if the nice, less-bluish tint shown in this review is the same tint emitted by all Naos. Can anyone confirm this?...
    The tint of my NAO also appears similar to to the shots in the review, quite pleasant. I too was concerned about the possibility of receiving something with a tint as blue as Petzl is known for in lights like their TIKKINA (2), and was quite relieved to receive a NAO with a more neutral tint (they seem to be doing better in their newer/higher end lights).

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Petzl NAO - high-tech headlamp review.

    I have a NAO and I liked it so much, I gave one to my dad. I did compare the tints and I there is a difference. Mine looks more like the photos of the review. While his has a slightly green tint to it. They were bought about 3 months apart.

  29. #29

    Default Re: Petzl NAO - high-tech headlamp review.

    Thank you, jmm244 and Ggmesquita, for your responses. I'm relieved! Iím now just waiting for a good sale on the Nao.

  30. #30

    Default Re: Petzl NAO - high-tech headlamp review.

    Thanks for the review... I just got the Petzl Nao and I am already frustrated that Petzl did not just use a standard battery case so we can slide in an 18650 of our choosing... They could have EASILY put that 100KOhm NTC thermistor in the battery case and not attached to their battery. Sure it might get rid of the AAA emergency battery option, but they could easily sell a battery shell with no 18650 in it as a spare for AAA emergencies.

    Now I am looking to immediately upgrade the OEM battery to an AW18650 3400mAH. But I will be trying to figure out a way to move the electronics to the small space in the battery case, and using standard metal prongs so I can easily slide in and out the 18650 battery. This way, I can charge my batteries using my Xtar charger with good cc/cv algorithm. Plus it will be easy to bring a bunch of charged 18650's to swap out with when needed rather than trying to carefully pull out theMolex 5264-3P connector.

    The headlamp itself is awesome!!!!! LOVE IT, hate their proprietary battery setup.... grrrrrr!!!!!
    Last edited by HistoryChannel; 03-08-2013 at 05:03 PM. Reason: corrected typos

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