Spark ST-6 460NW Cree XM-L

Discuss caving lights, packs, helmets, clothing, etc.
For rope and vertical equipment, go to the On Rope! forum.
Cave electronics enthusiasts can also visit the Communications and Electronics Section forum.

Moderator: Moderators

Re: Spark ST-6 460NW Cree XM-L

Postby LukeM » Jul 25, 2011 11:17 am

Something to keep in mind...Apparently Spark has a new all-flood XM-L headlamp in development. The SD5.

See here: http://www.taschenlampen-forum.de/spark/4765-neue-spark-sd5-serie.html

Looks like it'll be 2x14500/2xAA/3xAAA. Very interesting.
User avatar
LukeM
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 705
Joined: Jan 30, 2008 2:53 pm
Location: Albany, NY
Name: Luke Mazza
NSS #: 59317
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Syracuse University Outing Club
  

Re: Spark ST-6 460NW Cree XM-L

Postby NSS8921 » Jul 25, 2011 11:59 am

Luke, regarding the XML SD5 Series - interesting, but I don't care much for the built-in magnet. And I am consolidating to 18650 batteries, so I am going with the ST6 460NW. But thanks for the heads-up!

John
NSS8921
Prolific Poster
 
Posts: 109
Joined: Sep 15, 2009 11:14 am
NSS #: 8921
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Dogwood City Grotto
  

Re: Spark ST-6 460NW Cree XM-L

Postby rlboyce » Jul 25, 2011 12:09 pm

Yes, I've been waiting for more info on the SD5 and Zebralight's upcoming H502. The SD5 looks like it might be directional flood. These two should blow previous lights of a similar design with different emitters out of the water. For some reason though, I'm still partial to lights designed around 18650s, but these upcoming lights will undoubtedly be excellent lights in their own right.

John, after doing as much research as you have on the ST6 and you're still interested in the light, I have no doubt you'll be happy if you purchase one. The ST6 has been around for a little while now, and subjected to many thorough reviews from knowledgeable people. The overwhelming consensus I've seen is that it's a great light for the price. The H600 might retain the classical Zebralight look, but looking at some of Zebralight's vague specs for it, it sounds like it's going to be nearly identical: http://bit.ly/kC1f6q. The one thing going for the H600 is that it's going to have a turbo mode of 750 lumens... significantly more than the ST6. Looks like it's going to be available in September, so if you aren't in desperate need for a new light it's really not that long of a wait if want to see if the H600 is going to be slightly cheaper or better performing.

Luke, I am curious, what is your opinion of a Stenlight? Does it bother you that a Stenlight constrains you to one beam shape without the ability of a quick interchange of beam angles?
Happiness can be measured in mud/in².
User avatar
rlboyce
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 727
Joined: Jan 22, 2010 7:26 pm
Location: Chambersburg, Pennsylvania
Name: Ryan Boyce
  

Re: Spark ST-6 460NW Cree XM-L

Postby LukeM » Jul 25, 2011 3:07 pm

rlboyce wrote:Luke, I am curious, what is your opinion of a Stenlight? Does it bother you that a Stenlight constrains you to one beam shape without the ability of a quick interchange of beam angles?


TBH, I've never witnessed a stenlight in operation first hand. It's not as popular around here as it is in TAG. From what I've seen of beamshots and whatnot it does seem like it would bother me a bit, but that it has a more balanced beam than what the ST-6 has, with less harshness in the middle. It also offers the possibilty of switching out optics to find a better combination.

If I had to choose only one beam in a headlamp I would look for a plenty wide, center-biased flood, so basically an ~80 degree soft edged flood with a soft-edged hump of higher brightness in the middle where my vision will tend to be focused. A bare emitter is actually quite good too, offering a wide beam with a smooth gradient from bright to dim. As it stands, I have a DIY light partly because a Sten both a) didn't offer enough beam options, and b) is rarely up to date as far as emitters go.
User avatar
LukeM
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 705
Joined: Jan 30, 2008 2:53 pm
Location: Albany, NY
Name: Luke Mazza
NSS #: 59317
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Syracuse University Outing Club
  

Re: Spark ST-6 460NW Cree XM-L

Postby Cody JW » Jul 25, 2011 3:11 pm

Looks interesting. I wonder if there is a way it can be hard mounted?? Also I wonder how sturdy the piece is that holds the light to the straps ??
It only takes one person to surrender a dog to a kill shelter ,but it takes many to rescue it.
User avatar
Cody JW
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 905
Joined: Oct 24, 2007 10:16 am
Location: Indianapolis In. USA
Name: Jeff Cody
NSS #: 23961
  

Re: Spark ST-6 460NW Cree XM-L

Postby rlboyce » Jul 25, 2011 4:00 pm

Yes, the Sten definitely has more flexibility in terms of beam angles. You can do things to the lens to tweak the beam of the ST6, but it's no where near as versatile or easy as the Sten. It's funny you say a bare emitter; supposedly, the reflector in the ST6 is easily removed creating the bare emitter effect. Also, there's supposed to be some kind of adhesive material called DC Fix you can place on a lens to smooth out a hotspot, creating something similar to a Sten beam.

I think I've done enough praising now of the light, especially since I haven't actually tried one myself yet. : )

I don't know about hard mounting. I don't know if it's been done with Zebralights, but if you can do it with Zebralights then you should be able to do it with Sparks too. Unless you wanted to spend a lot of time and money, I imagine that at best all you could do is eliminate the headband, not the silicone holder. I suppose two aluminum clamps could be mounted, but without searching for a solution I'm not sure if these would have to be custom made, and easy adjustments to the position of the light might not be possible.
Happiness can be measured in mud/in².
User avatar
rlboyce
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 727
Joined: Jan 22, 2010 7:26 pm
Location: Chambersburg, Pennsylvania
Name: Ryan Boyce
  

Re: Spark ST-6 460NW Cree XM-L

Postby NZcaver » Jul 25, 2011 6:39 pm

rlboyce wrote:I don't know about hard mounting. I don't know if it's been done with Zebralights, but if you can do it with Zebralights then you should be able to do it with Sparks too. Unless you wanted to spend a lot of time and money, I imagine that at best all you could do is eliminate the headband, not the silicone holder. I suppose two aluminum clamps could be mounted, but without searching for a solution I'm not sure if these would have to be custom made, and easy adjustments to the position of the light might not be possible.

I use the Zebralight H50 as my secondary helmet light (and also my general use/backpacking headlamp). It came with multiple silicone holders, so I drilled small holes and zip-tied one onto the front of my helmet below the mounting for my Apex. When I go caving, I simply switch my Zebralight from its elastic headband holder to its helmet holder. It works well.
User avatar
NZcaver
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 6364
Joined: Sep 7, 2005 2:05 am
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Name: Jansen
NSS #: 50665RL
  

Re: Spark ST-6 460NW Cree XM-L

Postby rlboyce » Jul 25, 2011 7:21 pm

NZcaver wrote:I use the Zebralight H50 as my secondary helmet light (and also my general use/backpacking headlamp). It came with multiple silicone holders, so I drilled small holes and zip-tied one onto the front of my helmet below the mounting for my Apex. When I go caving, I simply switch my Zebralight from its elastic headband holder to its helmet holder. It works well.

Sounds like a quick and simple solution to me, more or less what I had in mind.

I notice you mentioned a mounting for the Apex. How do you achieve this? Were you able to do it in a warranty-friendly way?
Happiness can be measured in mud/in².
User avatar
rlboyce
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 727
Joined: Jan 22, 2010 7:26 pm
Location: Chambersburg, Pennsylvania
Name: Ryan Boyce
  

Re: Spark ST-6 460NW Cree XM-L

Postby NZcaver » Jul 26, 2011 12:41 am

rlboyce wrote:I notice you mentioned a mounting for the Apex. How do you achieve this? Were you able to do it in a warranty-friendly way?

Image Image Image

More info in this post. I now have a new helmet (another HB Olympus in red), and that crappy little Gerber LED on the side has long since been retired in favor of the Zebralight mounted under the Apex.
User avatar
NZcaver
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 6364
Joined: Sep 7, 2005 2:05 am
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Name: Jansen
NSS #: 50665RL
  

Re: Spark ST-6 460NW Cree XM-L

Postby rlboyce » Jul 26, 2011 8:14 am

Thanks NZ. Looks like those screws and straps do the trick quite well. I've recently been noticing the elastic doesn't always hold the light on the helmet very well.

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming...
Happiness can be measured in mud/in².
User avatar
rlboyce
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 727
Joined: Jan 22, 2010 7:26 pm
Location: Chambersburg, Pennsylvania
Name: Ryan Boyce
  

Re: Spark ST-6 460NW Cree XM-L

Postby NSS8921 » Jul 29, 2011 7:00 am

I just received my Spark ST6 460 NW. Here are a few initial comments:

- It is bright and the color is where I like it. For reference, I find the Fenix HP10 too blue, although I still use it.
- The central beam with the clear lens is much broader than the Fenix HP10. Spill is good and artifact-free. Before seeing it in person, I thought the diffuser would be necessary but now I will cave with the clear lens first. This may very fit Luke’s preference ‘If I had to choose only one beam in a headlamp I would look for a plenty wide, center-biased flood, so basically an ~80 degree soft edged flood with a soft-edged hump of higher brightness in the middle where my vision will tend to be focused’.
- With the diffuser, the beam is a flood of roughly 50 degrees. This looks like a nice beam for caving. It actually looks better than the 80 degree beam from the Zebralight H60w.
- The reflector is easily removed and results in an approximately 80 degree flood (with the clear lens), much like the Zebralight H60w except brighter. I think this could be useful for underground photography.
- I have not checked waterproofness. I will probably apply a nice stiff silicone grease to the lens o-ring first.
- Bulkier than the Zebralight H60w, especially in the cooling fins area.
- Weight with 18650 battery is 124.5 g. without strap and 171.5 g. with strap. For comparison, the Zebralight H60w with 18650 battery is 81.5 g. without strap and 106.0 g. with strap.
- The holder is snug and only time will tell if it remains that way.
- Price was $90.01 after discount and shipping was free.

Overall, I am impressed and can’t wait to check it out underground.
NSS8921
Prolific Poster
 
Posts: 109
Joined: Sep 15, 2009 11:14 am
NSS #: 8921
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Dogwood City Grotto
  

Re: Spark ST-6 460NW Cree XM-L

Postby LukeM » Jul 29, 2011 7:36 am

:kewl:
User avatar
LukeM
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 705
Joined: Jan 30, 2008 2:53 pm
Location: Albany, NY
Name: Luke Mazza
NSS #: 59317
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Syracuse University Outing Club
  

Re: Spark ST-6 460NW Cree XM-L

Postby rlboyce » Jul 29, 2011 9:36 am

Very nice!!! Thanks for the review (and taking the plunge)! I can't wait to hear how it lights up passages and rooms, and what setting you find you use the most.

I wonder if you are the first caver to use one of these? :question:
Happiness can be measured in mud/in².
User avatar
rlboyce
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 727
Joined: Jan 22, 2010 7:26 pm
Location: Chambersburg, Pennsylvania
Name: Ryan Boyce
  

Re: Spark ST-6 460NW Cree XM-L

Postby NSS8921 » Sep 8, 2011 8:55 am

I used my Spark 460NW in medium to fairly large passages in the Culverson Complex last Sunday. First I used it with the reflector and clear lens – very nice. Due to passage size, I used the medium-high setting. Next I removed the reflector to try the flood effect. It also was nice but to get it comfortably bright, I used the high setting. I didn’t use the diffuser this trip because in home tests, it seems to really dim the light.

The Spark was mounted below my HP10 and a small diameter bungie secures it in place and keeps it from rotating.

I intend to use it primarily with the clear lens and reflector the next time I cave, but I will try the diffuser lens.

I am very pleased with this light – it is the best LED light I have used. Now, if only it was focusable…

John
NSS8921
Prolific Poster
 
Posts: 109
Joined: Sep 15, 2009 11:14 am
NSS #: 8921
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Dogwood City Grotto
  

Re: Spark ST-6 460NW Cree XM-L

Postby brngk » Sep 8, 2011 6:53 pm

Thinking hard on this one, especially with rude nora coming out this month (but the price difference will probably settle that for me).
I was wondering if anybody had thought about making a blade attachment for this light ... doesn't seem like it would be THAT difficult,
only problem I could foresee is it rotating freely in a metal casing, but I suspect there might be a way around that.
brngk
Occasional Poster
 
Posts: 33
Joined: Sep 16, 2009 7:49 pm
  

PreviousNext

Return to Equipment Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot]