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Andrew Does a Headlight Comparison - H4 Halogen and LED

3096 Views 59 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  Chip
Here’s a comparison between three popular headlights. The Cibie and Koito H4 halogens (ECE) and the Nolden Gen 1 LED (DOT).

First is a comparison of what they would look like installed. The Koito has a flat face and the Cibie and Nolden have a rounded face. Rounded is classic, but I think the flat face goes well with the Defender’s boxy shape.

Here are some detail photos of the Koito H4. It’s available as a kit with a relay harness from Toyota (for the FJ60) as part # 81110-60P70. (Left shown installed in Defender bucket.)

It has a locking ring to hold the bulb instead of a clip.

Now on to a performance comparison.

First up is the Koito H4.

Low beam. Very uniform pattern. A little more focused than the Cibie and more light directly in front of the vehicle.

Low beam on wall. Diagonal part of the beam on the right goes up higher than the Cibie, which may be more useful for road signage.

High beam. Most uniform pattern of the three.

Next up is the Cibie H4. It’s NLA, but I thought it would be nice to include it because it’s been widely believed to be one of the best H4 halogens.

Low beam. Very uniform and wide pattern. Widest of the three. Sharp cut-off line.

Low beam glare. This image is overexposed, but it’s to show glare at the top of the lens. The Koito and Nolden headlights don’t have any of this top glare. I think it isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s something I noticed.

Low beam on wall

High beam. Bizarre spider web pattern. Probably a lovely match for a weird French car.

Lastly is the Nolden Gen 1 LED (DOT version).

Low beam. Bright and focused. Pretty wide horizontally, but most narrow of the three vertically.

Low beam on wall

High beam. Pretty much opposite of the low beam. The pattern isn’t as cool as the Cibie and not as uniform as the Koito.

Out of these three I decided I like the Koito H4 the best. I love the Japanese old school look and it’s higher quality than the Cibie. The Toyota kit is also a phenomenal deal.
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Would be interesting to see how the Retrobright compare in the same tests.

LED retrofits in H4 housings are a waste of time. The technology isn't there yet, and it may never be. Better to use a housing designed around LED from the beginning, or just stick with good halogen bulbs and lamps.
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White light of lower color temperature (“yellow”-er) is superior for the purpose of night driving. This is well studied over many decades and there’s a lot of material out there to read on the subject. However, the primary need of drivers now is more light, which often comes in sources which are of higher (“blue”-er) color temperatures. The trend toward blue tinted halogen lamps just highlights the ignorance (mostly innocent) and vanity of consumers.
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if I ever become an expert because of 7000 posts on a forum for a car just shoot me
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Those guys are on drugs. They work well. Brightness and beam pattern is good.
They're the rivet counters of lighting. The kind that has their own integrating sphere at home and interprets government lighting regulations with fundamentalist fervor.
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