The Coolest Headlamp Ever? The Petzl Zipka 2 Plus

The Coolest Headlamp Ever? The Petzl Zipka 2 Plus

[amazon B0027GYMRM thumbnail] Whether it is pre-dawn, after sunset or a nighttime project every photographer eventually finds themselves having to work with their gear in the dark. Many of us have become headlamp junkies as a result. There is no substitute for a small and convenient light source that aims where you look. But the choice of headlamp has been a tradeoff between power, long battery life, size and functionality--until now. Petzl has just released what may be the coolest headlamp ever. Read on for my full review of the Petzl Zipka 2 Plus headlamp...

Once upon a time all headlamps were fairly bulky with straps and battery packs. For all night projects there are still times when these "big boys" are the right tool. But most of the time if all you need is to work with your camera gear in the dark or find your clothes in a tent a much smaller light would be handy. So it was great when several years ago Petzl introduced the original Zipka--featuring a retractable elastic cord so the entire light was the size of a contact lens case and fit easily in your pants pocket. The elastic also made it possible to attach the light to your wrist and use it for close work when you didn't need an entire area lit.

But the original Zipka wasn't all that bright and it was missing one very important feature for photographers, amateur astronomers and others who wanted to work while keeping their night vision--a red light option. It's bigger brothers featured a flip-down red lens, but they had full elastic straps which made them too bulky for most pockets and instead required an entire zipped enclosure on your belt. Petzl did introduce a replaceable colored lens set for the Zipka Plus, but good luck finding and replacing the lens in the dark.

Enter the new Zipka 2, available in a basic and a Plus version. The Plus version is the cat's meow. First it is bright. Rated at an amazing (for a tiny headlamp) 50 lumens when used in bright mode it can also be used in an economy dimmer mode. And like the Plus it has a flashing white light. All around a great combination. But the real improvement is a second red LED which can be turned on independently and either kept on solid for night time close work or switched to flashing for emergency use. For $40 on Amazon you can get the Petzl Zipka 2 Plus headlamp in either Green or Gray. For anyone serious about working in low light conditions it is a no-brainer.

[amazon B0027GYMRM full] (FCC-Disclosure: No animals were harmed in the writing of this blog entry, and I paid for my headlamp, along with all the others I've collected over the years--David)