Zebralight H502 XM-L

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Zebralight H502 XM-L

Postby Smells_Familiar » May 11, 2012 11:33 pm

I've been running with a Fenix HP-10 thus far and it's great, especially for throwing really long distances...but as you know it's really spotty.

The H502 is a full flood, is extremely efficient, bright, runs on a single AA, and is inexpensive. This new light's specs are very impressive; check it out people. I'm going to order one in a few after they've had a chance to work out any bugs and strap it under my hp10 to have the best of both worlds.

Sure the combo isn't the brightest in the world but it's effective for my needs. I'd like to keep my light kit fairly low budget and stick with AA's (eneloops) for now and this combo seems perfect.

I'd definitely love to spring for a Rude Nora but it's too rich for my wallet right now, plus I don't feel I've gotten enough mileage out of my hp10 to justify that purchase anyway.

Check it out: http://www.zebralight.com/H502-AA-Flood-Headlamp-Cool-White_p_91.html

Inexpensive, super bright and efficient for a single AA, and check out those lighting modes! THREE MONTHS ON THE LOWEST SETTING!!
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Re: Zebralight H502 XM-L

Postby Martin Sluka » May 12, 2012 1:21 am

Smells_Familiar wrote:THREE MONTHS ON THE LOWEST SETTING!!


It means the rescue group will find your body very easy still after 3 months. :doh:

Seriously: this design is something genial: one may use it very simply as table lamp, as lamp in tent if you hang it on top of inner space, to use it in cave you don't need any special construction, etc.
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Re: Zebralight H502 XM-L

Postby NZcaver » May 12, 2012 6:36 am

I'm a big fan of nice single-AA powered headlamps and flashlights. Great for convenience. I wouldn't say $70 is inexpensive, but Zebralight make nice stuff. I have an earlier 1AA Zebralight, the H50 Q5 I think. Also with a very wide beam. I paid about $50 a few years ago, but the specs aren't quite as good as the H502 of course. My one and other Zebralight models have been discussed in several previous equipment forum topics.

Over the past year or so, I've noticed my Zebralight is developing a switch problem (twist-cap switch). Sometimes it will not turn on or change brightness settings reliably. It's rather annoying, and has effectively discouraged me from spending more money on a newer model Zebralight for now. However I did pick up a slightly larger and brighter little Fenix 1AA headlamp with a more focused spot beam, which works really well. Only problem is the rubber clicky switch on the end turns on too easily in my pocket. Guess I can't win. :doh:
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Re: Zebralight H502 XM-L

Postby rlboyce » May 12, 2012 6:50 am

It's going to be incredibly hard to say no to this one.
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Re: Zebralight H502 XM-L

Postby Caver John » May 12, 2012 7:46 am

Looks nice, in theory, and I'm sure it weighs nothing. Id still prefer an 18650 cell though for more duration. To me the only really usefull settings here are h1 and h2 which won't last 2 hrs. But if someone must use aa's then I guess it's good.
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Re: Zebralight H502 XM-L

Postby NZcaver » May 12, 2012 4:25 pm

Caver John wrote:Looks nice, in theory, and I'm sure it weighs nothing. Id still prefer an 18650 cell though for more duration. To me the only really usefull settings here are h1 and h2 which won't last 2 hrs. But if someone must use aa's then I guess it's good.

Zebralight also makes 18650 headlamps, but you can't run those off anything else. There are a bunch of CR123 headlamps too, for people who like those batteries. I prefer AA headlamps, and the H502 can also run on a 14500 3.6v lithium ion or lithium primary. [Edit - wrong!]

My biggest sticking point with the H502 is the 120 degree flood beam. My old H50 is also 120 degrees, and it really is too wide in my opinion. Zebralight makes an H51 with an 80 degree flood which I'd like to try. Slightly less bright than the H502, but I'd be mainly using the medium/low modes anyway. For some reason that one only runs on AAs, not 14500 cells.

Anybody compared the 4200k neutral white LEDs with 5100k cool white LEDs for caving? Cool white is slightly more efficient, but I'm thinking the neutral white might be a nicer light. :shrug:
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Re: Zebralight H502 XM-L

Postby brngk » May 12, 2012 5:16 pm

Neutral white gives a more "natural" looking feel to things, for example, if used outdoors foliage will look more like it does in daylight.
The cooler, or whiter whites, however are often brighter and they sort of white wash everything, which will have a secondary effect of
making things "seem" brighter. That being said, a friend of mine said he liked the blue tint from the CW's for some of his cave photography
because of the tint it gave pictures. Personally, I figure since my light use is principally outside NW it is (ST6-460 in the mail as we speak).

This youtube review of the two ST6s gives a pretty good idea of the color differences. Fast forward about 3/4 through the video.
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Re: Zebralight H502 XM-L

Postby Smells_Familiar » May 12, 2012 5:57 pm

NZcaver wrote:I prefer AA headlamps, and the H502 can also run on a 14500 3.6v lithium ion or lithium primary.


Unfortunately, the H502 isn't compatible with the 14500. Zebralight's wording must be easy to misread as I misread it the first time too. It can take a lithium primary though.

NZcaver wrote:My biggest sticking point with the H502 is the 120 degree flood beam. My old H50 is also 120 degrees, and it really is too wide in my opinion.


Humph, I hadn't considered it may be too wide. I haven't used a full flood in a cave before, let alone a 180 degree flood. In your opinion, what is it about the really wide beam makes it less desirable? Is it a lack of shadows?

NZcaver wrote:Anybody compared the 4200k neutral white LEDs with 5100k cool white LEDs for caving? Cool white is slightly more efficient, but I'm thinking the neutral white might be a nicer light. :shrug:


I tried my back-up-to-my-back-up-light in a cave two weekends ago. It's a hand held Quark with a neutral head on it and I liked the tint better than my cool white HP-10. The difference isn't as big of a deal in cave as it is above ground (unless there's lots of pristine pools or major color variations) imo, but I still prefer the neutral white tint over cool. My next headlamp will be a neutral tint hopefully.
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Re: Zebralight H502 XM-L

Postby NZcaver » May 12, 2012 6:34 pm

Smells_Familiar wrote:
NZcaver wrote:I prefer AA headlamps, and the H502 can also run on a 14500 3.6v lithium ion or lithium primary.


Unfortunately, the H502 isn't compatible with the 14500. Zebralight's wording must be easy to misread as I misread it the first time too. It can take a lithium primary though.

You're right! My mistake. :doh: Must have only been the earlier models that did that. Pity.

NZcaver wrote:My biggest sticking point with the H502 is the 120 degree flood beam. My old H50 is also 120 degrees, and it really is too wide in my opinion.


Humph, I hadn't considered it may be too wide. I haven't used a full flood in a cave before, let alone a 180 degree flood. In your opinion, what is it about the really wide beam makes it less desirable? Is it a lack of shadows?

Mine is nominally a 120 degree flood but it feels like 180 and for me that's way too wide. A lot of the beam is wasted, unless you like the glare on your nose and pretty much the whole front of the body. Not to mention when you're chatting to other cavers and the light is always in their eyes even if they are to the side of you. I suppose it would be OK for being seen outdoors at night from wider angles, and for lighting up your body if that's important to you. I do carry and use these small headlamps a lot outdoors and pretty much anywhere, so I'm not just thinking caving. I think 80 degrees would be plenty wide enough for me.

Thanks to you and brngk for your info on cool white versus natural white.
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Re: Zebralight H502 XM-L

Postby rlboyce » May 12, 2012 6:59 pm

NZ, I own a H600w which has an 80 degree spill (12 degree spot). 80 degrees is more than sufficient, but at the same time, I think it would be better if it were more like 100 degrees. Sometimes it feels like tunnel vision, most notably when what you are looking at is directly in front of you. 80 degrees was actually narrow enough for me to be disappointed when I first got the light, but now it doesn't really bother me at all. Overall, it's still an exceptional light.

I used a cool white tint Apex before switching to a Zebra, and I found the change to a neutral tint to be a great improvement. Brown looks brown now. : ) In addition, I could almost swear that it has affected me psychologically too. Caves seem to have somewhat less of an otherworldly feel to them than what they did before... I feel closer to the surface with this light, as strange as that may sound.
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Re: Zebralight H502 XM-L

Postby Smells_Familiar » May 12, 2012 7:29 pm

NZcaver wrote:
Smells_Familiar wrote:Humph, I hadn't considered it may be too wide. I haven't used a full flood in a cave before, let alone a 180 degree flood. In your opinion, what is it about the really wide beam makes it less desirable? Is it a lack of shadows?

Mine is nominally a 120 degree flood but it feels like 180 and for me that's way too wide. A lot of the beam is wasted, unless you like the glare on your nose and pretty much the whole front of the body.


Hayoooooooo! I meant to type 120 degrees instead of 180. I think my mind defaulted to 180 for some reason. Yeah, 180 would be craaa-zzzy. However, there could be a fairly small Sadomasochist market for a light like that come to think of it...
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Re: Zebralight H502 XM-L

Postby Jeff Bartlett » Jul 10, 2012 7:08 am

Jumping in late here, but after using my Zebralight H501 as a helmet-mounted backup for two years (purchased July 2010) I wanted to vouch for the caveworthiness of the Zebralight designs. I know those of you considering the H502 -- as I am -- may hesitate due to the variety of unfriendly environments that caving lights are exposed to.

I've worn the H501 on my helmet for literally every caving trip since then (approximately 110 trips and 600 hours in-cave) and it has proven far more reliable than what my initial expectations were. It has been submerged in water many times, between ear dips and falling water in multi-drop caves, it has been exposed to plenty of mud/grit and it has spent multiple weeks in the high-humidity, notoriously corrosive environment of Lechuguilla. It has been accidentally left in my car in a pile of wet gear. It has been dropped, bashed into rocks, etc. My only complaint is that it sometimes manages to turn on in my backpack on the hike to the cave, but the H502 appears to address this problem by recessing the push-button.

Keep in mind, both my Stenlight and my wife's Stenlight have recently been repaired for magnet corrosion that compromised the function of each light's switch, so I find the persistence of a $60 headlamp in the same conditions to be impressive. It's also significantly lighter than most lights in this range, and the small form factor makes it comfortable to mount on the front of a helmet below (or above, which is where I keep mine) my Stenlight. In fact, it's small and light enough that it's my light of choice for backpacking trips.

The H501 is an 80-degree flood, which is just about perfect for use as a camp light, video light, etc -- imagine a carbide caplamp without the hotspot in the center. However, this obviously has its disadvantages, and I don't use it as a primary (or for, say, hiking or running at night) because I find I move tentatively without a bit of throw. The H502 is a 120-degree flood, though, so I'm curious to see if that is indeed too much. Obviously the trend in the boutique caving lamps is to have a completely unlensed LED as well, so I may give it a shot.

edit: potentially better photo of how the Zebralight sits above my Stenlight is here.
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Re: Zebralight H502 XM-L

Postby Scott McCrea » Jul 10, 2012 7:44 am

I have had similar experience with the H501. Certainly caveworthy and a good value. I put a small piece of clear packing tape over the bulb for mud and scratch protection. However, I put mine under my Duo (main light). That way, when I'm sketching, I point the Duo up for looking around the passage and the Zebra, on medium, down for looking at the paper. Less eye strain when looking from bright paper to dark passage and back, over and over again.
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Re: Zebralight H502 XM-L

Postby Martin Sluka » Jul 10, 2012 12:31 pm

Jeff Bartlett wrote:My only complaint is that it sometimes manages to turn on in my backpack on the hike to the cave, but the H502 appears to address this problem by recessing the push-button.


Any Zebra has permanently off switch - just turn the cover 1/4 of round.

Temperature of light: As I use LED from first time white LEDs were available (and they were really "blue" in that time) I may say more and more the light is warmer (yellow) the MY ability to see details in shadows and the peripheral vision is better. The same the intuitive guess of distance. So I prefer warm white and wide angle.
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Re: Zebralight H502 XM-L

Postby NZcaver » Jul 10, 2012 6:37 pm

Martin Sluka wrote:
Jeff Bartlett wrote:My only complaint is that it sometimes manages to turn on in my backpack on the hike to the cave, but the H502 appears to address this problem by recessing the push-button.


Any Zebra has permanently off switch - just turn the cover 1/4 of round.

I found the same problem with my little 1 AA Fenix, and came up with the same solution. :woohoo:

I'm still a little bummed that the twist on/off switch on my Zebralight H50 Q5 is no longer reliable.
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