Zebralight SC700d review
Table of contents
Zebralight is a Texas-based leading supplier of compact high intensity LED flashlights and headlamps. The review you’ll about to read about the Zebralight SC700d is one of their 21700 models which sounds extremely promising, and I’m very much looking forward to reviewing this little beauty. Let’s dive in and see how this beauty of an EDC flashlight performs!
What you’ll get:
- Zebralight SC700d flashlight
- Carton box
- Spare O-ring
Although it cost me quite a fair amount of money for the size, this review is already going to thrill me. I have long been looking to get a Zebralight for review, and here it is…. the Zebralight SC700d. Upon receiving the flashlight I am a little disappointed about the packaging, other, cheaper flashlights come with more accessories and higher quality packaging. Inside the box, you’ll find a pocket clip, 2 beefy spare o-rings, and a manual. Apparently, I read through it before I can continue the review!
|LED||CREE XHP70.2 Hi CRI|
|Modes||Many + different groups|
Handling of the light
I was kind of surprised seeing this 21700 light being soo tiny. It could definitely have been called the tiniest 21700 light I suppose. Wow. The second thing I noticed is the extreme lightweight. I know some people like to have their flashlights/torches as lightweight as possible, but to me, it feels a little too light. Maybe I’m just too much used to the heaver kinds of lights, with more heatsink, etc. So I’m very curious how this bad boy is going to hold up when temps are rising. The manual states it has built-in temp control, so I guess they will reduce the output considerably at a certain point. We’ll see soon.
Also, the switch is rather deeply recessed, which definitely can be a pro. And it’s okay when using it barehanded, but a con when using gloves. Fortunately, I don’t use gloves that much. So not really a con for me at the moment. The good thing about this is that it doesn’t accidentally turn on in your pocket! This is a problem with some sidelights with electronic side switches.
Take a look at the photograph below, and see the size in my left hand. I have mid-sized or even small hands.
- Yup, and very stable!
- Take notice. Once it is attached it is very very hard to move it around or to take it off. So you’d better make sure in which direction you want to attach it Before you clip it on.
Build Quality and Anodizing
As I mentioned earlier, it is extremely light. So light I am wondering how it will handle the heat it will produce. Besides these “feelings” the light is built very well. No blemishes on the anodizing could be found. There is however something I am not 100% happy about, and that is the prints. The brand is laser engraved looks like, and not just printed on the anodizing. When you look up close it isn’t very sharp. Besides the prints you can see in the pictures below, there is no other text anywhere on the flashlight.
The pocket clip seems to be of pretty high quality and feels really stiff. I am not afraid of losing this light when attached to my pocket.
Threads and O-rings
This light may have one of the best threads I have ever seen. This could be deceiving because the SC700d arrived with a large amount of lube on the threads. And at first glance, I thought the smooth unscrewing was because of a very beefy O-ring that made is feel smooth as silk, but it wasn’t the o-ring, but the lube. So I’m not 100% sure if’s the lube or just the awesome machining. Also, you’ll get 2 extra o-rings in the box for backup.
1 thing I noticed is that the body and head are made of 1 piece and that only the tail cap is separable from the body, and not the head. This makes it a little more difficult for modding, or if you ever need to replace the LED.
Another point of interest is the tail cap. See the pictures below. The tail-cap has some sort of micro springs (which seems to be a Zebralight thing after all) All these little stubs can be pressed in. On the driver side, you have the same micro springs. I personally have never seen them before. Zebralight has the following to say about it: “Beryllium copper springs in all pogo pins for extremely low electrical resistance”
LED, Lens Bezel and Reflector
The LED used in the Zebralight SC700d is a CREE XHP70.2 Neutral White, with 5000K. This is a bit above the average Neutral White to my understanding. But the interesting thing is the High Cri, and is supposed to be 90+. In-person, it seems a bit greenish compared to my other XHP70.2 lights.
The reflector is made of aluminum and has an Orange Peel coating. The Lens is clear and has some kind of coating, maybe UV/AR coating?
The stainless steel bezel finishes it all off.
Flashlight manufacturers mainly show dimensions in millimeters.
- SC700d length : 107 mm
- SC700d head dia: 38 mm
- SC700d width body : 27 mm
- Weight Zebralight SC700d empty: 97 gr
Size comparison with the Astrolux FT02 (21700), Lumintop BLF GT Mini (18650), Lumintop ODF30 (26650). You can see it is not only lightweight, but it is also very small!
And the other picture next to 18350 lights, the Sunwayman V10R Ti and the Reylight Triple Ti.
The Zebralight uses its own dedicated user interface. They have been using and updating this throughout their lineup in the past years.
Standard mode group, from off:
- Press and Hold: Low Medium High.
- Single-click: High
- Double click: Medium
- Three clicks: Strobe
- Four clicks: Battery capacity tester
- 5 clicks: mode group 5 (standard mode group)
- 6 clicks: mode group 6
- 7 clicks: mode group 7
Standard mode group, from on:
- Press and Hold: Low Medium High.
- Single-click: Off
- Double click: go to sub-level (if you are in High, and you do a double click it will go to the sublevel High 2)
- Three clicks: Strobe
- Four clicks: nothing
- 5 clicks: nothing
- 6 clicks: nothing
- 7 clicks: nothing
Other info from Zebralight.com
- Light Output
- High: H1 3000 Lm or H2 1458 Lm /945 Lm /583 Lm
- Medium: M1 192 Lm or M2 52 Lm (/25.2 Lm /11.6 Lm
- Low: L1 2.1 Lm or L2 0.32 Lm/0.12 Lm /0.04 Lm
- Operating Voltage Range: 2.7V – 4.3V
Yes.. by doing a triple-click from the Off position. Double click to cycle through the different modes.
- Beacon Strobe Mode: 0.2Hz Beacon at Low / 0.2Hz Beacon at H1 / 4Hz Strobe at H1 / 19Hz Strobe at H1
Not electronic. But you can twist the tail-cap about a quarter and you have it mechanically locked out.
Not by default… The SC700d is not a tactical flashlight where Momentary on is a required setting IMHO. If you’re simply looking for a tactical light, check out our list of some great tactical flashlights, currently available.
Not visible with the naked eye at least!!! Great
Programming the Zebralight SC700d (G6 and G7 hidden mode groups)
From the factory, the Zebralight SC700d is set to its standard Mode Group 5 (G5). The above functionality and data refer to this mode group. You can’t customize the output for H1 M1 and L1 in G5. But you can adjust the sublevel brightness, meaning H2 M2 L2…
However, there are 2 other (hidden) mode groups, called Group 6 (G6) and Group 7 (G7). Both can be customized to your liking. For example, instead of going from High to Low, you can change the outputs from Low to High. or even use 3 of the same output levels.
To change to a certain mode group simple click from the OFF position the amount that corresponds to the number of the mode group. It doesn’t matter in which group you were, simply do 5, 6 or 7 clicks from OFF to activate the group.
- From Off: click 5 times to activate mode group 5: (standard)
- From Off: click 6 times to activate mode group 6
- From Off: click 7 times to activate mode group 7
Programming output in the mode groups:
Let’s say you want to change the output of a specific mode in Group 6:
- Click 6 times from the Off position to activate Group 6.
- Then go to the output mode you would like to change (by press-and-hold the switch…..or do a double click to go to a sublevel, eg. H2 M2 L2).
- Once you selected the mode you’d like to adjust, do 6 double clicks to enter the customization setting for that output (don’t do 6 single clicks, but 6 double clicks).
- You can customize the output by doing double clicks (to increase the brightness in incremental steps)… or triple clicks (for decreasing the current brightness)
- When you are at the desired brightness for that mode, just do a single click to turn the Zebralight off. The mode is now memorized!
- Repeat for the other modes you would like to change.
Tip: don’t do a single click during the customization process because it will turn the light off and memorize the last output setting. Then you’d have to start all over again!
The Zebralight SC700d doesn’t use 186500 or AA batteries, but rather (unprotected) 21700 lithium batteries. This is the first flashlight Zebralight made that takes 21700 batteries. The battery I bought with the flashlight was a Samsung INR21700 40T for max Amps. It is supposed to be able to push more than 30 Amps which is insane. But the Zebralight doesn’t use that much of current, fortunately, but I didn’t want the battery to be the weakest point and had therefore chosen the famous INR21700 40T while buying the Zebralight.
Parasitic drain Zebralight SC700d:
- 0.02mA = 23.5uA (Thanks Terry for helping me out on this)
Measured with a Samsung INR21700-40T in a homemade 50cm integrated sphere.
I used a Convoy S2+ with a steady 137 lumens for calibration…And using a professional lux meter called: Hagner E4-x for testing. I double-checked the output with a cheaper Skytronic LX-101 lux meter and both were extremely close. About 1% difference from each other! The numbers below are from the Hagner.
- High mode H1): 2740 lumens (7.86 Amps)
- Medium mode (M1): 165 lumens (0.28 Amps)
- Lowest mode (L1): 2 lumens (0.01 Amps)
Zebralight’s lumens are 3000 – 192 – 2.1 lumens. So they are higher than I measured, but not extremely much. Only about 10%, and you wouldn’t notice a 10% difference in output! The Amps I measured with a Fluke 77III so I can’t measure very low amps.
Edit: updated October 2021
Measured Lumens again, with a Samsung 50G
|High||2847 lumens||2662 lumens|
Edit: updated October 2021
Measured at 5 meters distance, indoors, with a Hagner E4X. The battery used: Samsung G50 21700
- Total throw: 13.975cd / 236 meters / 259 yards
Measured inside a carton box. Lux was calculated first to percentage and then to Lumens. 100% is 2740 lumens according to my earlier Lumen test.
Within 20 minutes it drops to about 900 lumens. This output continues to 107 minutes before dropping to 26 lumens. The light keeps running at 26 lumens till I turned off the flashlight. The battery was at 2.75 Volts after taking out at the 150 minutes mark. I believe it would be able to run a little longer, but at this Voltage, this was enough in my opinion. The most important numbers can be seen from the graph below!
Runtime: 107 minutes.. I would call this the actual runtime.
Passing the 2,600 lumens it’s not the brightest LED flashlight, but more powerful than 99% of the flashlights currently on the market I would add. Check out the comparison beamshots below. The names have the tested Lumens, not the claimed lumens.
Camera settings: Canon EOS 5D mark ii 50mm, ISO 1600, F4, 1/4 second shutter speed, 5000K
You can definitely notice a greenish tint when you do whitewall hunting. But when you are out in the field, you’ll observe much more vibrant colors.. Not only due to the greenish tint, but also because of the Hi CRI (high color rendering index).
Please look at the pictures above and see the difference in colors and output. All of the flashlights were set to their highest output settings.
Overall conclusion of the Zebralight SC700d
- High quality flashlight and components
- Hi CRI
- Nice pocketable size
- First 21700 zebralight
- Long runtime in High
- Very bright for its size
- Not cheap!
- Greenish tint (outdoor its just fine)
- UI: Single click to High is not my favorite (you can of course set it in a different mode group to get around this “con”.
- Prints are not very sharp
- Carton box looks a little cheapish
Overall Rating: Excellent
Having this light now for a couple of weeks, and although the UI is not my favorite (single click to high) it is, however, a good performer and good looking and a great size. The SC700d passed all the tests and I’m quite impressed with its performance. Almost 2 hours of 900 lumens output from a single 4000mAh battery, that is quite impressive in my honest opinion! Plus I started understanding how to program the different output modes, so you don’t have to see High with a single click. As of 2019, this is definitely one of the best flashlights on the market! Period.