Head torch showdown

Discussion in 'Gadgets & Tech' started by Stuart f, Nov 8, 2019.

  1. Stuart f

    Stuart f Summit Camper

    So it’s time to shed the weight that burdens my trusty black diamond icon and hopefully upgrade in the process
    After reading on here I have narrowed my search to hopefully either the
    Zebra light h600w MK IV
    Or controversially
    Fenix HM65r superraptor+
    Obviously you guys will know better but they both work out at near £100 by the time you have necessary batteries and chargers but the fenix does weigh slightly less
    Could do with opinions on ease of use and reliability please

    Stu
    Lempo likes this.
  2. gixer

    gixer Thru Hiker

    Both good torches Stu

    Personally i prefer a warmer tint, so the H600w with it's 4500k tint snatches it for me
    I'm a bit of self confessed torch snob though :whistling:

    Tint aside, i've got serveral Fenix torches and a fair few ZL's
    The Fenix have been the most reliable, but i've only had a 2 ZL failures (sounds bad but at last count i've got 20 ZL's :bag:)

    As a comparison 3 out of the 3 Olights i've had have failed
    Teepee and Stuart f like this.
  3. Teepee

    Teepee Thru Hiker

    I've got the ZL IV H600w and love it. Other than the poor elastic for the heaband that used to be a lot better, I struggle to see how it could be much improved.

    The beam spread and colour are perfect IMO, so are the power levels. It's a great bit of kit, and it's better than the MkIII. Running LG HG2's, I'm constantly getting 2 weeks runtime before the cells drop below 3.5v and that with all the light I need at low or high medium. It's very rare I use High power, and never miss a spotlight.

    The Fenix; it looks V good. I'm not convinced by the dual lamps though and really don't like the 3 second lock idea. Does it take button tops? The Zebra's don't need them. Whilst the abilty to recharge in the lamp might be handy, I can't recall a time I'd have needed it and TBH, charging out of a dedicated charger never sits well with me.

    The clincher for me though is does the Fenix lock when the battery terminal is unscrewed slightly? It's habit for me to turn the lamp off by doing this. It means I never accidently turn it on, and it stays waterproof and safe in the day.
    gixer likes this.
  4. Stuart f

    Stuart f Summit Camper

    From the videos I have seen, the fenix has a partial cover over the buttons but, agreed, the lack of ability to unscrew the cap to totally protect from accidental activation, is a big drawback. Hello bless you but the case that can come with it of course, but then you add more weight and it loses it’s only advantage over the h600.
    Reliability is key for me and I’d be interested to know if the h600 has a “step down” when in medium power settings for some time.
    Thanks for the comments. That’s you and Gixer on team zebra.
    Any fenix fans??
  5. Teepee

    Teepee Thru Hiker

    I'm not certain what you mean, but am guessing you mean for some extra run time when the cell is pretty depleted; yes, it steps down consecutively through all the levels setting as the cell voltage drops through the low voltage limit of each level. This voltage is very low when it drops out of the mediums, far lower than I like to run cells. It's hit low low a couple of times and the cell struggled to take a charge.
  6. paul

    paul Thru Hiker

    Had.my 600 for 6 years. I wont trust any other brand. For me the Answer to any head torch question is ZL.
    Chiseller likes this.
  7. gixer

    gixer Thru Hiker

    Big Fenix fan as well, i think they make really good reliable torches
    I've got several and they're great

    I've got a LD01 that i must have had for going on 10 years
    It's been on my works keyring
    It's been dropped, stood on, driven over by a fork lift and banged about, still works great
    Anodising it THAT good it's barely even got a patina on it

    I've got a TK35 that must be 8 or 9 years old
    Again it's lived a tough live, it was my freediving light for a while (salt water), it's rolled about in my my car boot for years, the kids used it as a camping light and i still rate the beam quality that much it's my preferred MTBing torch
    Still going well

    I've got a TK70, TK75, HP11, TK21
    Bought my Mum a TK41 i trust the brand that much
    More recently i bought a CL26R

    So yep, i'm a Fenix fan, they're innovative great, reliable torches
    Only things i don't like about Fenix is
    1/ Tint, no choice on tint and Fenix tend to be more towards white
    2/ For some reason their torches are a nightmare to tailcap crack
    My TK75 is barely hanging by a thread before it isolates the battery, same with nearly all the other Fenix's
  8. MartinK9

    MartinK9 Section Hiker

    Zebralight with Fenix USB rechargeable batteries. :D
    Chiseller and Stuart f like this.
  9. Shewie

    Shewie Administrator Staff Member

    Love my H51, nearly ten years old
    now and it’s never let me down. I try not to use a light if I can help it, I prefer to fumble in the dark if I can. I hardly do any night walking so it only really gets used around camp on the mid setting, or trying to find camp after a late arrival.
  10. Teepee

    Teepee Thru Hiker

  11. craige

    craige Thru Hiker

    I think my zebralight is the H51, I like it a lot. Using a nitecore NU25 now though and it does just as well for my purposes, the red light that I never thought I'd use is actually pretty good too and I can recharge it with my power bank instead of carrying a spare battery which is nice.
  12. Stuart f

    Stuart f Summit Camper

    I read the below on a review site. Hope this helps explain what I mean by step down

    Fenix HM65R has one serious thing that must be mentioned. Namely, there is stepdown in all modes. And if for Turbo-High this is completely logical and natural, then downer – it is surprising . For brightnesses like of 200-300 lumens it is logical to expect full stabilization. I don’t like it, but I’m not ready to say right away that it’s terribly bad – I see the logic of such a decision.

    What I mean is that the human eye adapts, and in reality, the brightness of the HM65R, due to the slowness of this decline, is perceived as relatively as staying at the same level. Until some point, of course. And after this moment, you can rewind the modes again and turn them on at the same initial brightness.

    + Less battery drain when the brightness drops.
    + As I said, the brightness drops for a long time: 1 \ 2 hours for turbo \ high flood light and in many situations you turn off the light even before the brightness drops significantly. + If you wish, you can return to the same initial brightness when you feel that you still lack it. – after all, this is not full stabilization – since the eyes are already accustomed to a lower brightness, it can be uncomfortable for the eyes after “zeroing” and scrolling to the initial brightness. here, as I said – the brightness in a high spot falls for an hour. You can return to the same brightness 4 times.
  13. gixer

    gixer Thru Hiker

    Teepee likes this.
  14. gixer

    gixer Thru Hiker

    That's tough reading Stu, is it translated?

    The H600 also has auto stepdown
    Personally i'm not as fan, i'd much prefer a torch that maintains it's set level until the battery runs down

    The early H600 and SC600 do this, that's part of the reason i still use them
  15. Teepee

    Teepee Thru Hiker

    I've have never noticed it dropping in medium power modes (which tend to get used most) and it's spent hundreds of hours lighting outdoor buidlings/bothies etc. It's been used all night many times.
    Is this certain? Don't they step down in High due to thermal management, and that wasn't as good in the earlier versions?

    I'd prefer to save the circuitry and avoid an 18650 forehead fire than eek out a few more lumens. I've cooked an MJ1 cell in it on high, they can run very hot. I suppose that step down would be more noticable in other uses eg. riding a downhill, but that makes the downhills more fun anyway. :)
  16. Stuart f

    Stuart f Summit Camper

    Oops thought it was.
  17. Stuart f

    Stuart f Summit Camper

    Looks like the zebra light gets the most fans . Any recommendations re battery and charger?
  18. Teepee

    Teepee Thru Hiker

  19. MartinK9

    MartinK9 Section Hiker

    If you're not worried about high beam:



    I use this set up with the zebralight, and my powerbank to recharge.
  20. Fossil Bluff

    Fossil Bluff Ultralighter

    Mmm, the Zebralight is an amazing torch but ‘kinell it gets hot when it’s on full whump.

    Just sayin’

    See Fogstar for batteries.
  21. gixer

    gixer Thru Hiker

    Yes mate, 100% they step down dependent on battery voltage

    *Edit
    Just checked the ZL H600 website

    Automatic stepping down from High to Medium, and from Medium to Low when battery capacity is low
  22. Stuart f

    Stuart f Summit Camper

    The Acebeam looks a fantastic torch but still think the zebra light looks the best option for me even though I would prefer to have a red light as I have used one in the past for night walking and it’s worked well. In the past when canoeing at night, I’ve found that using a light meant missing everything that wasn’t directly in the beams path so I can also understand the principle of step down in normal usage ( not just to conserve battery)as eyes will adjust to lower light if done gradually.
    Given the battery life in medium settings if the h600, I can’t see me needing to recharge in the field if I take a spare though Martin K9 has a viable option for longer trips. Tempting
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2019
  23. Whiteburn

    Whiteburn Thru Hiker

    Another vote for the H600W, after 3 years of use the only 'fault' I can find is that it's too easy to over do the high output & drain the cell too quickly; I always carry a spare cell in a Cohgans Match Box, easier to change a cell than mess with recharging IMO, also carry a Petzl e-lite as back up & for camp use.
    cathyjc likes this.
  24. Teepee

    Teepee Thru Hiker

    That's what I said. :D

    It's the 'stabilization' thing I've never seen, where the output steadily drops at a set rate because your eyes become acustomed to it.
  25. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    Zebralight fan here :angelic:.
    I too just carry a spare battery.
    I wanted as light as possible set up and went for the CR123 battery option as the weight of the battery is a major component of the total.
    I don't do a lot of night time stuff but if I need - then spare batteries are the most efficient way to go, IMHO.

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