Note: Due to the impending death of geocities, the invaluable content on this page has been mirrored at http://www.theeshadow.com/carmod/JVXDriver/beam_comparison.htm


Attention: Nick has found a new web host. The official location of this page is: http://www.jvxdriver.com/beam_comparison.htm


Projectors, Shield Mod, & Lens Swap Comparison   (Aug. 2006)

The followings are some HID output comparison between various projectors in OEM form vs. shield mod vs. clear-lens swap. Projectors tested include '04 Honda S2000, '04 Acura TSX, '05 Lexus RX330, '03 Lexus SC430, '03 Audi A6, '04 BMW X5, '04 BMW 330xi, and '05 Acura TL. Beam outputs are taken at 25 feet and at 220 feet from a wall. I'm using a Philips 4300k D2S bulb that is about 4 years old. I will categorize each test by projector. I will use my S2000 projector with zTail shield mod as the standard for comparison, as it has overall sharpness (close and far), wideness, straightness, color, and brightness. The zTail S2000 projector is enclosed inside my passenger-side headlight. Each comparing projector is on the driver-side, in naked form (outside the headlight housing). So each projector should have an advantage over my zTail. (but do they?)

Shield Mod and Lens Swap
Here are some general information about lens and cutoff shield. Beam output/pattern is determined by two main factors: (1)lens and (2)cutoff shield. There are 2 different types of lens: clear and non-clear. Non-clear includes ripples, polk-a-dots, or textures lens. Clear lens gives sharper beam output than non-clear lenses. There are also 2 different types of cutoff shield: curve and straight. Curved shield produces a wider cutoff beam than a straight shield. A combination of shield mod and lens swap can alter your beam output and pattern.

Environment Setting
The environment where I took my pictures are pretty well lighted as noted by the surrounding stadium lights. As such, the HID beam outputs are somewhat blended with the stadium lights. The wall is painted with a flat off-white color. The dark pavement may make the area appear dark, but it's not. I chose this particular wall because it has a door and a corner and some other markings, which you can use for references when comparing beams. The door is 7 feet tall. I will center all beams around the door. The right side corner of the building can be used to reference the beam width. Some beams go all the way to the side wall while other beams stop before they reach the corner.

Pictures are taken at different time setting on different days. At one time, the stadium light was dying, as noted by the greenish white light. This makes the wall darker, and you can see my skylight. The building management replaced the bad bulb with a new bulb, as noted by the brighter white light. The brighter wall make my skylight less noticable. All pictures are taken using a Canon SD430 digitial camera on manual mode with IS0 100 and no-flash. This camera is good for daytime, but is very bad at night. I had to take several pictures just to get the most clear ones. So the pictures you'll see are not of high quality. In all the pictures, my car is parked 25 ft from the wall and 220 ft from the wall (+/- 2 ft). I took pictures at various angles and distants to give you an overall output and performance. When comparing at 220 feet, pay attention to the far wall ahead, foreground, the right side wall, left green bushes, and trash bin wall which is 50 feet from the car.



Test Standard: '04 Honda S2000 Projector with OEM Clear Lens and zTail Shield Mod
This is an s2000 with zTail shield mod. There are four features to this mod. 1) To make the beam more evenly straight, as the OEM beam appear to slope downward, especially on the upper right step. 2) To increase intensity along the cutoff as noted by the streak of light just below the cutoff step on either sides. This will make the beam more visible at long distant, making it stand out at night, especially when the car bounces up and down. Distractive, but so cool and unique. 3) To increase sharpness and color. I mean mutli-color, not just more blue. Depending on how you position the shield, the distant at where the sharpness take place can be increased/decreased as well as color. I want my beam to remain sharp at further distant along with the colorband. 4) To maximize flicker. The OEM S2000 by itself is already flickerous; I created a thin slit opening on the shield to create a rainbow prism of light, which create a Z shape pattern with a Tail of light. I termed it "zTail" for lack of a better word. The opening gap between the slit of light and the main cutoff beam adds more colorful flicker effect as the car bounces pass eye level. This does not cause glare at all. The slit is so thin to allow any useful light to glare other people. It is thinner than the blue colorband which is non-glaring. Only time you get glare is when you go under the cutoff line where you get full blast of light.


S2K clear lens

zTail shield mod using aluminum flash

Horizontal, vertical, and rotational alignment. This allow the shield to remain straight while move the shield up/down and back/forth.

Car parked 25 ft away. Picture taken at 10 ft.

Pictures taken at 7 ft. Car still at 25ft.

Both passenger and driver beams at 5 ft. Car is 25 ft away.

Car parked 25 ft away. Picture taken at 30 ft, from passenger side.

Viewed from driver side.

Car at 25ft, picture taken at 10ft

60ft from opposite wall. This angle shows how far my car is away from the wall.

Car parked 220 ft away. Picture taken from 220 ft. Even at this distant, the blue cutoff line is still concentrated. Note how the cutoff beam run along the green bushes along the left side. It's hard to see since the beam is shining on something dark. Keep this in mind when comparing with other beams. Also pay attention to the trash-bin wall which is about 50ft away. There's 6 parking spaces between my car and the wall.

This a map from Google's Earth. There's a built-in tool which allows you to draw a line and Google will determine the distant pretty accurately. That's how I determine my distant. The green spot indicate where I take my photo.



'04 Honda S2000 Projector: OEM Clear Lens and OEM Curve Shield
The OEM s2000 projector produces a fairly straight and sharp beam. What makes the s2000 unique is that it has a thick concentration of light along the cutoff beam. This makes its cutoff line very distinctive and visible at long distant and along side walls. However, note how the upper step becomes less sharp as it reaches the end on the right side. Also, the entire beam seams to slope down a little, as compared to my zTail beam which is completely straight. At 220 feet, the oem s2000 remains sharp in the center, but note the fuzziness on the trash bin wall at 50 feet from the car. This has to do with how the cutoff shield is positioned inside the projector. This can be easily fixed with a shield mod (see S2000 with Shield Mod below). The s2000 has variation of concentrated multi-colors in the center. You don't see it in the pictures at 25 feet, but in person, it is there. This is ideal for multi-color flicker. The S2000 has that reddish orange color that people try to get rid of in an attempt to obtain more blue. This only makes the beam less flicker. That used to be my style, but no more. That reddish orange color is the beauty secret behind the s2000.


S2K oem curve shield; back view

S2K oem curve shield; front view

Car at 25 ft; picture taken at 5 ft

Car at 25 ft; picture taken at 5 ft

Car at 25 ft; picture taken at 25 ft

Picture taken at 30 ft; nice concentrated streak of light directly on the lower step; no so on upper step.

S2K oem above, zTail sk2 below; 25 ft away

Picture taken at 10 ft; oem s2k slope down on upper step and become soft on the side

Oem s2k is still sharp and visible at 220 ft; the blue and orange band is still visible. However, the upper step at 50 ft on trash-bin wall is faded; the concentrated streak of light is not directly below the cutoff.



'04 Honda S2000 Projector: OEM Clear Lens with Shield Mod (without tail)
You can do ALOT with a shield mod. You can modify the sharpness, straightness, color, and shape of your beam. Note how clean, sharp, and straight the beam is with a shield mod. Note the skylight shooting 45 degree upward. This is the result of openings in the bottom of the shield mod. This does not cause glare to oncoming traffic at all, and in fact, it is good for freeway overpass signs. This also makes my little car visible to SUV drivers who are higher than me. However, the skylight can be eliminated simply by covering up the opening at the bottom of the modded shield. At 220 feet, the modded beam is still sharp as well as the blue color band. Drivers closer the wall should see it clearly. On the second-to-last picture, note how sharp and straight cutoff beam on the trash-bin wall as compared to the oem S2000 beam from previous section.


S2K curve shield mod without tail slit; back view

Front view

Car at 25 ft; picture taken at 5 ft; good concentrated blue band

Car at 25 ft; picture taken at 5 ft

Front view; Car at 25 ft; picture taken at 25 ft

Left-side view at 30 ft, shield mod elimates downward slop on upper step

Passenger-side view at 30 ft with skylight. Skylight is not glaring because it doesn't shoot directly to oncoming traffic. It shoot up at overpass sign which is useful.

Without skylight. I covered up small openings below the shield. S2K beam is so sharp at this distant.

Car at 25 ft, picture taken at 5 ft; s2k shield mod above, s2k zTail shield mod below; good streak of concentrated light on lower step; good for distant range.

Front view comparison at 25ft; S2K shield mod above and S2K zTail below

Picture taken at 10 ft; note the rainbow color the zTail beam

Car at 25 ft, picture taken at 30 ft; very clean, straight and sharp

Car at 25 ft; picture taken at 60 ft; at this perspective, you can see the entire s2k beam, very wide and clean-cut.

Left-side view at 30 ft; you can see the beams cross onto the side building. The bright stadium light made the beam less visible. Note the concentrated streak of light on the lower steps.

Right-side view at 30 ft

S2K shield mod at 220 ft, blue color band is still rich and visible; At the 50 ft trash bin wall, the cutoff beam not faded like the oem beam shown above. The lower step stretches all the way to the side green bushes. You'll have to look closely at the screen to see it.

220 ft comparison of S2K shield mod vs S2K zTail



'05 Lexus RX330 Projector: OEM Polk-a-Dot Lens and OEM Straight Shield
The polka-a-lens on the RX330 makes the beam soft. The beam is straight, but it's not very wide. In the 4th picture, note how the beam stops short as it reaches the corner of the building, whereas the zTail beam continues onto the side wall. Further, the outer edges of the beam is not bright and sharp as compared to the zTail beam. At 220 feet, the RX330 beam is still visible, especially in the center. You can still distinguish the step pattern, but note the softness on the trash bin wall as compared to the zTail beam.


RX330 OEM Polk-a-Dot Lens. The will make the cutoff beam soft.

RX330 OEM straight shield

Car at 25 ft; picture taken at 5 ft; the multi-color band is softened

Left-side view from 30 ft; Beam does not spread to side building. Beam is softer

Right-side view from 30 ft; RX330 above vs. zTail below. Picture is out-of-focus.

Car at 25 ft; picture taken at 60 ft; at this perspective, you can seen the rx330 is softer and faded, especially on the sides; also the rx330 doesn't cross onto the side building like the zTail beam

RX330 OEM beam at 220 ft; beam is blur. At the 50 ft trash bin wall, it's also soft.

RX330 OEM vs zTail. zTail has good foreground.



'05 Lexus RX330 Projector: TSX Clear Lens and OEM Straight Shield
By replacing with a TSX clear lens, the RX330 beam becomes sharper and distinctive, especially in the center. However, on the outer edges, it is still soft and short. This has to do with its oem 'straight' cutoff shield. Note how the zTail beam continues onto the side wall where as the RX330 beam stops short at the corner of the building. At 220 feet, the center of the RX330 beam is still visible, along with the blue color band. However, the RX330 beam is soft on the side wall and against the trash-bin wall, as compared to the zTail beam on the bottom.


RX330 with TSX clear lens. This will give color and sharpness to the beam.

RX330 OEM straight shield

Car at 25 ft; picture taken at 5 ft; rich blue color band

Car at 25 ft; picture taken at 25 ft

Left-side view at 30 ft; Nice in the center but soft and faded on the sides.

Right-side view at 40 ft; The beam ends at the corner of the building.

Left-side view at 40 ft; RX330 above vs. zTail on bottom; Note how the zTail extend to the side wall; the zTail is sharper and has that concentration streak of light on lower step.

Car at 25 ft; picture taken at 60 ft; you can see the entire beam at this perspective; the zTail extend well onto the side wall.

Right-side view at 40 ft

Closeup view at 25 ft

RX330 with clear lens at 220 ft; cutoff beam is soft, but you can still see the blue color band; at the 50 ft trash bin wall, it is soft; although the RX330 is wide on the left side, it is not bright enough to appear on the green bushes.

RX330 /w TSX lens and oem shield vs. zTail; you can see the zTail beam on the left side along the green bushes. You'll have to look closely to see it.



'05 Lexus RX330 Projector: TSX Clear Lens and Modded Curve Shield
By adding a modded curve shield along with a clear lens, the RX330 beam becomes wider, straighter and also sharper across the entire beam. In the 13th and 16th pictures, note how the rx330 beam stretches to the side wall, just like the zTail. It has too much blue, which may look good up close, but at futher distant, the color band will be softer. That's why you need to test your beam at various distant. Note how sharp and distinguish the beam is on the trash bin wall. In the last picture, rx330 is on top and zTail is on the bottom. Note how the RX330 upper step runs along the side walls.


RX330 with TSX clear lens to increase clarity.

RX330 with zStep shield mod. How you align and position the shield will affect output.

Car at 25 ft; picture taken at 40 ft; The stadium light makes the beam less intense than it really is. With a curve shield, the RX330 beam stretch onto the side building.

Right-side view. Car at 25 ft; picture taken at 40 ft. Beam is sharp and straight. Rich blue color in the center.

Front view at 25 ft.

Close up shot at 5 ft. You can see the entire blue band all the way to the end. It looks thin but it's there.

Close up shot at 10 ft.

Shield is re-positioned to obtain multi-color; very nice.

Another angle at 5 ft; car still parked 25 ft.

At this angle, you can see that concentrated streak of light stretched to the side wall.

At this angle, you can see that rich, thin and sharp blue color band, ideal for flicker effect as the car bounces.

Front view at 25 ft.

Left-side view at 40 ft; at this distant, you can barely see the colors on the cutoff, but in person it's clearly visible.

Right-side view at 30 ft; while some people want more diluted blue color, I like it thin and concentrated.

Modded RX330 vs. zTail at 25 ft. Picture is blur. Keep in mind that the RX330 beam overlap the zTail beam, making it less clear.

Left-side view at 40 ft. At this angle, you can see that heavy streak of light on the RX330 right-side step. See how it crosses onto the other building. The skylight is coming from the zTail, not the RX330.

Right-side view at 30 ft.

Car at 25 ft; picture taken at 60 ft. At this perspective, you can see the entire beam spread.

Modded RX330 beam at 220 ft.

RX330 on top and zTail on bottom; Note how the RX330 run along the side building. Note how the zTail run along the green bushes.



'03 Lexus SC430 Projector: OEM Textured Lens and OEM Curve Shield
The textured lens on the sc430 makes the beam very soft and less colorful. In fact, it has multi-color just like the s2000. However, the textured lens softens and mixes the colors. Thus it is not as flicker like the s2000. However, it's is very wide and bright. Like the oem s2000, the beam appears to be slopping on the outer edges. At 220 feet, the oem sc430 beam is barely visible and very soft, as compared to the zTail beam.


SC430 OEM textured lens. In terms of clarity, it's worse than polk-a-dot or ripple lenses.

SC430 OEM curve shield; can't be removed or bent.

Car at 25 ft; picture taken at 5 ft. Multi-color band is obscurred by the SC430 soft lens.

Front view; car at 25 ft; picture taken at 25 ft; straight and bright, but very soft

Left-side view at 40 ft; you can see the beam spread onto the side building; but it's very soft. The stadium lighting further make the beam appear faded.

Right-side view at 30 ft.

SC430 on top vs. zTail on bottom; SC430 appear to slop down as compare to the zTail perfectly straight beam.

Car at 25 ft; picture taken at 60 ft; at this perspective, you can see the sc430 slop downward on the left side. Both beams have about the same width. Picture is over-exposed.

SC430 OEM beam at 220 ft. So soft, you can barely see the slent step.

SC430 OEM beam on top vs. zTail beam on bottom; zTail beam stand out better; you can clearly see the concentrated blue color band; good foreground; nice spread to the left side on the green bushes.



'03 Lexus SC430 Projector: TSX Clear Lens and OEM Curve Shield
There's a big different with a clear lens swap; very sharp and distinctive. The entire beam is more noticable. Lots of blue in the center. At 220 feet, the cutoff beam is still sharp and visible. The blue color band is more disperse on the sc430 as compared to the concentrated blue band on the zTail beam.


TSX clear lens swap for better clarity.

SC430 with TSX clear lens; still using oem curve shield.

Left-side view; car at 25 ft; picture taken at 40 ft. The sc430 beam now stand out better; very sharp and straight; now you can clearly see the beam spreads onto the side building.

Right-side view at 30 ft; nice thick blue color band in the center

Closeup view at 5 ft; entire picture is blur, as noted by the door hinges; otherwise very nice

5 ft at another angle; you can see the spread on the side wall; a bit too much blue in the center for me. This can be adjusted by re-positioning the lens away from shield.

By re-positioning the TSX lens, you get a more thin and concentration blue color band.

Front view; car at 25 ft; picture taken at 10 ft; I aim the beam higher so you can see the bottom portion of the beam which is chopped off, due to a shield on the lens holder which limited foreground output. This is for safety reason. HID beam is meant to give better output at further distance. A very bright foreground will cause your pupil to close, thus you can't see light at further distance. This defeats the purpose of installing HID projector. When it come to safety, oem sc430 and oem acura tl have the best design. But I'm more interested in look.

Front view comparison; car at 25 ft; picture taken at 10 ft; SC430 on top vs. zTail on bottom; SC430 has too much blue, but can be reduced and condensed simply by re-positioning the lens.

Left-side view comparison at 40 ft; very clean on both beams.

Car at 25 ft; picture taken at 60 ft, showing entire beam spread.

Modded SC430 at 220 ft; blue color band clearly visible; sharp and clean on the trash-bin wall too.

Comparison at 220 ft; clear lens SC430 on top vs. S2K zTail on bottom.



'03 Lexus SC430 Projector: S2000 Clear Lens and Shield Mod (without intensity increase)
SC430 and S2K projectors have interchangable parts. While the SC430 has a better reflective bowl, the S2000 has a better lens. Mating the better half of the two in addition to a shield mod, the output is very good. This is a regular shield mod without intensity increase. Note the lower step is not concentrated. It gradually becomes less intense as it reach the side.


Car at 25 ft; picture taken at 5 ft; Rich blue color band.

Front view at 25 ft; straight, sharp, and clean.

Right-side view; car at 25 ft; picture taken at 30 ft; Wide and straight

Left-side view at 30 ft; Note, there's no concentrated streak of light below cutoff on left side.



'03 Lexus SC430 Projector: S2000 Clear Lens and Shield Mod (Increase Intensity)
With a little shift in the position of shield and reflective bowl, an increase in intensity can be achieved. Note the concentrated streak of light on the lower step. If you enjoy driving down the street with a distinctive and noticable wide beam spreading from side to side, then this trick will guarantee it.


Front view; Car at 25 ft; picture taken at 25 ft; With intensity increase; note the concentrated streak of light on left side

Right-side view at 30 ft; the concentrated streak of light will penetrate even at far distant; this is ideal if you want to see your beam spread and bounce on the road; this will set your beam apart from other OEM beams.

Close comparison between SC430 on top and zTail on bottom; Car at 25 ft; picture taken at 5 ft. Very nice and thin blue color band; good streak of concentrated light on left side step

Front view at 25 ft

Right-side view; car at 25 ft; picture taken at 30 ft; both beam are straight, clean, sharp, and evenly spread below cutoff.

Left-side view at 40 ft; stadium light overlaps beams on the side building, making cutoff less visible; otherwise, very visible.



'04 Acura TSX Projector: OEM Clear Lens and OEM Curve Shield
The TSX oem beam is characterized by its sharp, wide, and straight beam. It doesn't slope down like the oem s2000 beam. It also has a rainbow effect above the cutoff beam, and a blue flair on the upper step. The rainbow effect is caused by the double indentation on its cutoff shield. The blue flair is caused by the design of the projector bowl. This can be eliminated by a shield mod. These rainbow effect and blue flair is only visible to the driver within 50 feet. At long distance, it is no longer visible.


TSX with OEM clear lens

TSX with OEM curve double indentation shield.

Front view; car at 25 ft; picture taken at 25 ft; There's a rainbow band above the cutoff, as well as blue flair on the right upper step.

Closeup shot at 5 ft, lacking color on the cutoff

Closeup shot at 5 ft; the TSX is really good, even though it doesn't show it here.

Left-side view at 40 ft; very wide and fairly sharp

Right-side view at 30 ft;

Right-side view comparison at 30 ft; TSX on top vs. zTail on bottom; TSX is as wide and sharp as zTail

Left-side view comparison; car at 25 ft; picture taken at 50 ft; at this distant, you can see the entire beam spread; very nice.

TSX beam at 220 ft; lacking color, but remains sharp; on the trash-bin wall at 50 ft, it is sharp like the zTail beam. However, it is not as bright as zTail; note the TSX beam doesn't show up on the left side on the green bushes.



'04 Acura TSX Projector: OEM Clear Lens with Shield Mod
A shield mod will eliminate the rainbow effect. Depending on how the shield is positioned, the blue flair is still visible and the beam pattern slops upward like a happy face. It is still sharp and wide as the zTail beam. With minor adjustment to the shield position, the flair is reduced while maintaining the sharpness, wideness, and straightness. At 220 feet, the TSX modded beam still maintains its characters.


TSX with zig-zaq shield mod. The shield has to be perfectly straight and horizonatally flat to get a nice straight beam.

Another angle showing shield

Car at 25 ft; picture taken at 30 ft. TSX shield mod above vs. S2K zTail shield mod on the bottom. TSX is sharp and wide as the zTail. However, it is not straight. It has smile face. I intentionally tip the shield forward, which causes the beam to slope upward. This can be easily fixed by re-adjusting the shield.

Car at 25 ft; picture taken at 60 ft; at this perspective, you can see the entire TSX beam slope upward and also the huge flair.

Left-side view at 40 ft; I tilt the shield perpendicularly straight, which results in a straight beam. Nice and sharp beam. TSX has a good amount of concentrated blue on the center, but begin to flair up away from the center.

Right-side view comparison. The TSX appear to have more definition than the zTail, but that'only because it overlap the zTail, making it less distinctive.

TSX alone at 30 ft; shield repositioned to reduce flair

Close-up shot at 5 ft.

Close-up shot at 5 ft. All blue color band, lacking purple.

Shield re-adjusted to get extra purple and reddish orange.

Comparison between TSX and zTail; the TSX shield is re-positioned to reduce the flair. The flair is very hard to eliminate, but is do-able.

Car at 25 ft; picture taken at 60 ft; at this perspective, entire beam spread can be seen. TSX beam above is very straight, sharp, and clean. As wide as the s2k zTail below.

TSX shield mod at 220 ft; beam remains very sharp and distinctive, even with that stadium light just above it. The stadium light is broken, hence the greenish color.

TSX vs. zTail; on the TSX, note how the blue color band is softened and flairy, whereas the zTail has a more concentrated blue band. If you look closely, you can see the cutoff along the green bush.



'03 Audi A6 Projector: OEM Fresnel Lens and OEM Straight Shield
The Audi A6 oem beam is narrow and has uneven cutoff beam as well as uneven spread below cutoff. Its fresnel lens gives softness to the cutoff and hides its true color. It is not as bright as s2k. On the A6, notice there's a concentrated streak of light on the sides, but it is well below the cutoff line, whereas on the s2k, the streak of light is directly on the cutoff line, making the beam really stands out and visible at further distant.


Audi A6 with OEM ripple lens; this type of lens softens the cutoff beam

At this angle, you can see the ripples in the lens.

A6 OEM straight shield. There's actually a little curve in the center.

Car at 25 ft; picture taken at 30 ft; Beam is very soft and not bright; the ripple lens dissolves the otherwise nice blue color band; it also has irregular hot spread and beam is not evenly spread below the cutoff.

Closeup shot at 5 ft; the A6 has lots of color, but they're all softened. Doesn't look too good.

Car at 25 ft; picture taken at 30 ft; at this angle, you can see that the beam is very short. The left side of the beam doesn't reach the end of the building, and the left side of the beam stop short at the corner.

Left-side view; Car at 25 ft; picture taken at 40 ft; The beam doesn't cross the side building; very blurry.

Left-side comparison view; A6 on top vs. zTail s2k on bottom. zTail clearly stand out; it is straight, wider, sharper, and brighter. Camera fails to pick up the intensity different.

Right-side view; A6 on top vs. s2k zTail on bottom; The A6 appears to have lot of blue, but it is really a diluted blue when seen in person.



'03 Audi A6 Projector: TSX Clear Lens and OEM Straight Shield
By adding a clear lens,the cutoff become much better with nice color and sharpnesss in the center. Due to its straight shield and projector shape, the beam is still narrow and uneven. The streak of concentrated light is still well below the cutoff line on the sides.


A6 with TSX clear lens; this will give clarity and definition to the otherwise soft beam

This angle shows clarity of the lens.

A6 oem straight lens.

Front view; Car at 25 ft; picture taken at 25 ft; Big different when compare to the ripple lens shown above; Beam is much sharper and you can see the multiple color along the cutoff. Beam is not evenly distributed below the cutoff.

Car at 25 ft; picture taken at 5 ft; Nice purple and blue color; Image is kinda blur, as noted by the door hinges.

Another angle at 5 ft

Left side view; Car at 25 ft; picture taken at 40 ft; at this angle, you can see the entire beam spread, which is still short; the clear lens doesn't make much different in terms of wide. Because of the OEM shield, the cutoff is sharp in the center, but become soft toward he the sides. Note the streak of light on the two sides which are not directly below the cutoff. They are sloping downward.

Right-side view; car at 25 ft; picture taken at 30 ft

Comparison view; A6 on top vs. zTail on bottom. A6 has good concentration blue/purple color along the center of the beam. A6 has two streak of light which are sloping downward beneath the cutoff, wheras the zTail have them directly on the cutoff, which makes the s2k beam more visible as you drive down the road

Right-side view; car at 25 ft; picture taken at 40 ft; at the angle, you can see a big different in spread between A6 and zTail.

A6 with TSX clear lens at 220 ft. Beam remains sharp and visible; you can still see the blue/purple color band.

Comparison at 220 ft; A6 on top vs. zTail on bottom. Both look good; A6 is less intense when seen in person. zTail has really good forground



'03 Audi A6 Projector: TSX Clear Lens and Curved Shield Mod
With a clear lens and a curved shield mod, the A6 beam is now straight, colorful, and sharp. I discover that curve shield mod increase the A6 width only by a little, unlike on other projectors. This has to do with the design of the A6 projector bowl, which directs light toward the center and not to the sides where the curved shield re-define the final output. Beam looks great and perform better than oem A6, but still doen't match zTail s2k.


A6 with TSX clear lens and curved shield mod

Front view

Z-shape curve shield; doesn't work with A6 projector to increase width as you'll see below. This is due to the design of the projector bowl which doesn't throw light to the outside edges of the shield.

Front view; car at 25 ft; picture taken at 25 ft; Has good concentration of blue and purple color band on cutoff. Flair on upper step is eliminated.

Close-up shot at 3 ft;

Left-side view; picture taken 25 ft from center of beam; blue/purple band covers most of the entire beam

Right-side view at 10 ft; car at 25 ft; Lots of color along the cutoff line.

Right-side view at 30 ft; car at 25 ft; at this angle, you can see the entire beam; the beam is still short; the curve shield mod doesn't help with increasing width. The design of the projector bowl is the culprit.

Comparison view at 30 ft; modded A6 vs. zTail sk2 on bottom; both beams look straight; A6 has irregular hot spot while zTail is more evenly distributed.

Left-side comparison at 40 ft; car parked at 25 ft; at this perspective, you can see that the A6 has a very short width in comparison to the zTail s2k which stretch onto the side wall. The A6 curved shield mod helps increase the concentration of light along the side cutoff line. This will make the beam more visible along wall as you cruis down the road.

Comparison view at 220 ft; A6 on top vs. zTail on bottom; A6 looks very similar to zTail, however, s2k is wider and more intense

A6 by itself at 220 ft; forground is not that bright; however the A6 curve shield mod helps increase brightness along the cutoff, as witness by the light along the green bushes which is lacking with the OEM straight shield. Look closely and you'll see the contrast of the bush and the beam.



'04 BMW X5 Projector: OEM Fresnel Lens and OEM Straight Shield
The X5 projector has good spread of light in the center and is fairly straight, but has a narrow and soft cutoff line. It is not as bright as seen in the picture. A bigger lens doesn't mean brighter output. The X5 projector has a textured reflective bowl, which is partly the culprit. Of the projectors tested, the RX330 and TL have the cleanest and purest reflective bowl I've seen.


BMW X5(e39) projector with OEM ripple lens and oem straight shield

At this angle, you can see the ripples in the lens which make the beam soft

X5 OEM straight shield; there's actually a curved identation in the center; but not a fully curve to produce wide beam

Front view; car at 25 ft; picture taken at 25 ft; X5 has a mixture of nice reddish orange and blue color in the center however the ripple lens softens the color as well as the cutoff line; it get even softer on the sides.

Close-up view at 5 ft;

Left-side view; car at 25 ft; picture taken at 30 ft; beam looks good in the center, but begin to fade quickly on the sides; beam is very short; light is not evenly spread below cutoff

Front view comparison at 25 ft; X5 on top vs. zTail s2k on bottom; X5 is fairly straight, but lacking color, sharnpess, and intensity

Right-side view at 30 ft

Close-up coomparison view at 5 ft; zTail s2k is very colorful; the x5 overlaps the zTail beam, making it less sharp and less rich in color (see zTail beam by itself above)

Left-view comparison; car at 25 ft; picture taken at 25 from center of cutoff; at this perspective, you can the zTail stretch onto side wall while X5 barely reach the corner; on the left side, zTail has that concenration of light below the cutoff while x5 is softened.

Car at 25 ft; picture taken at 60 ft



'04 BMW X5 Projector: OEM Fresnel Lens and Curve Shield Mod
A curve shield mod adds more blue to the cutoff. However, note that the curve shield didn't increase the width. The spread is about the same width as OEM above. The culprit is the convexity(less curve) of the 3" lens. A less convexed lens produce narrow beam. A more convexed lens, like the TSX lens, along with a curve shield will help increase the width. See "X5 with TSX lens and Curve shield" section below.


X5 projector with curve shield mod and OEM ripple lens

I replaced OEM straight shield with a curve shield to increase width, but the X5's less convexed lens restrict the width increase; you will need a curve shield along with a more convex lens like the TSX lens (see X5 /w clear lens and curve shield)

This angle show how I mount the moded shield.

Right-side view; car at 25 ft; picture taken at 30 ft; curve shields helps with color along cutoff, but doesn't increase width; ripple lens soften cutoff

Left-side comparison view; car at 25 ft; picture taken at 40 ft; zTail looks clean, wider, and has even spread below cutoff

Right-side view; car at 25 ft; picture taken at 40 ft;

X5 with curve shield and oem lens at 220 ft; beam is soft but visible; limited forground lighting

X5 vs. zTail S2K at 220 ft; s2k is much brighter and better foreground



'04 BMW X5 Projector: TSX Clear Lens and OEM Shield
The TSX clear lens help sharpen the cutoff beam. The x5 lens is 3" in diameter while the TSX lens is 2.5". The TSX lens will not fit in the X5 lens holder. Further, the spacing of the TSX lens has to be closer to the shield to get the optimal output. I use Handi-Tak rubber adhesive which can be pressed into any shape and size. It can be reshape and resize as often as you like. Plus it hold thing together. This works great as it allow me to easily adjust the lens spacing for optimal focus. Excellent for testing purpose.



X5 (e39) with TSX clear lens

At this angle, you can see that the smaller TSX lens are held by 3 handi-tak rubbers; I find this rubbers very useful

Clear lens with OEM straight shield; shield is semi-curve but not fully arched.

Car at 25 ft; picture taken at 25 ft; very clean, sharp, colorful, and concentrated in the center, but note how it quickly dissolved on the sides; this has to due with the oem straight shield

Left-side view from 220 ft; at this angle, you can see how the more convexed TSX lens helps the beam spread onto the side building; too bad the oem straight shield fail to give it definition; a curve shield will solve it (see section below)

Car still at 25ft; picture taken at 5 ft; very nice and clean in the center; note, x5 beam is not intense when seen in person

Right-side view; Car at 25 ft; picture taken at 30 ft; I re-positioned the TSX lens to give the beam more more.

Close-up at 5 ft; by repositioning the lens, you can achieved more concentrated blue; you can get even more, but blanded blue, but that's not my kind of thing

Close-up shot at 3 ft;

Front view comparison, X5 on top vs. zTail S2K on bottom; At 25 ft, you don't see the entire beam spread, as such, the x5 look as though it is as wide as S2K; look very clean on both beam, but s2k is more intense and colorful.

Left-side comparison, Car at 25 ft; picture taken at 40 ft from center on beams. zTail beam stretches all the way to the side wall. You can barely see the X5 cross the side building.

Car at 25 ft; picture taken at 5 ft;

Car at 25 ft; picture taken at 5 ft from wall and 25 ft from center of beam;

X5 with TSX clear lens and OEM straight shield at 220 ft; lacking color and inttensity

X5 vs zTail at 220 ft; Note the intensity of the zTail on the trash bin wall in comparison with the X5.



'04 BMW X5 Projector: TSX Clear Lens and Curve Shield Mod
With a clear lens swap and a curve shield mod, the X5 output is really nice, sharp, straight, and wide. On the X5, it takes more than just a curve shield to get wider output; a curved shield with a less convexed lens (eg X5 oem shield) will not give you wider beam; you would also need a more convexed lens, like the TSX lens. The new beam now looks like my zTail s2k. However, it is not as intense as my s2k and doesn't have that concentrated streak of light on the lower step.


Top view of X5 with TSX clear lens and curved shield for maximum output

Side view; TSX lens is held mid-air with handi-tak rubber; to be used temporarily for testing

Top-side view so you can see how the shield is being positioned

Front view; car at 25 ft; picture taken at 25 ft; very clean, sharp, and good concentration of blue color band

Left-side view at 40 ft; at this angle, you can see beam spread onto the side building; if it wasn't for the stadium light, the beam would be more visible.

Close-up shot at 5 ft; really nice and rich blue color band

Front view at 25 ft; This time, I re-positioned the shield to achieve those reddish orange and purple color.

Close-up shot at 5 ft; car at 25 ft; good concentrated multi-color band.

Car at 25 ft; picture taken at 60 ft; at this perspective, you can see the entire beam spread; very nice, wide, and even. A combination of more convexed TSX lens and curved shield help increase the width.

Comparison view; car at 25 ft; picture taken at 35 ft; modded X5 beam looks just like zTail minus the tail and minus the intensity. This shows that bigger lens doesn't mean more intensity than smaller lens.

Left-side comparison; car at 25 ft; picture taken at 40 ft; Look exactly the same in width and sharpness. S2K has that streak of concentrated light on side cutoff which is lacking on X5.

Right-side comparison at 10 ft; The blue color band on X5 seem duller in comparison to zTail which is more colorful; This is because X5 is dimmer.

Car at 25 ft; picture taken at 60 ft;

Modded X5 vs zTail S2K at 220 ft; very similar pattern;

Modded X5 at 220 ft by itself; note the foreground intensity as well as the intensity at 50 ft trash bin wall.



'04 BMW 330xi ZKW(e46) bi-Xenon Projector: OEM Clear Lens and OEM Straight Shield
The 330xi ZKW projector features a high-beam mechanism which allows it to act as lowbeam and highbeam. It is useful if you need a highbeam. My headlight has separate highbeam, so this feature is not for me. In either cases, this comparison page is for lowbeam only. The 330xi has a 3" clear lens which produce a sharper, more colorful, better intensity, and cleaner cutoff, especially in the center. However, its OEM 'straight' shield and less convex lens produce a narrow and uneven beam, and it is very soft on the sides.


An '04 BMW ZKW clear lens bi-Xenon projector. The projector body is made of plastic!

The projector has a very thin, straight cutoff shield. The shield is attached to a high-beam mechanism which create a chopping action, causeing the shield to go down, and produce high beam.

This is a 3" clear lens with a single notch on the rim to prevent the lens from rotating on the lens holder. Note the bottom of the lens, there's a horizontal indentation which cause light to bleed above the cutoff.

Car at 25ft, picture taken 40ft away on the left side. Cutoff very clean and colorful in the center, but quickly softened and faded on the sides.

Car at 25ft, picture taken 40ft away on the right side. Only look good in the center. Beam is very short.

Car at 25ft; Picture taken at 25ft. Picture doesn't show the entire beam. The cutoff beam has some flair just like the TSX.

Close-up at 5ft. Really nice and sharp slant cutoff. The reddish-orange on the lower step is beautiful. Only bad part is the side.

Comparison with S2K zTail. Car at 25ft, picture taken at 40ft. BWM 330 zkw beam is more colorful in the center, but it has some hot spots. zTail S2K beam is much cleaner and evenly spread, and sharper throughout the entire cutoff.

Car at 25ft, picture taken 32ft behind car. This angle show hows quickly the 330xi beam become faded and soft on the side.

.Car at 25ft, picture taken at 40ft on the right side of car. On the center of the door, is a white paint over someone's grafitti. That not part of the beam.

Car at 25ft, picture taken at 25ft. zTail beam is brighter and more evenly spread.

Closeup shot at 10ft. Look really nice up-close for both beam.

Car at 25ft, picture taken at 50ft, showing entire beam spread.

330xi ZKW beam vs. zTail S2K at 220ft. Both beam is clearly visible. Note how the 330xi beam doesn't run along the side wall like those other projectors.

330xi ZKW beam alone at 220ft. Note the foreground is not a bright as S2K, and the cutoff beam at the 50ft trash beam wall is very soft, compared to the S2K which is brighter and sharper.



'04 BMW 330xi ZKW(e46) bi-Xenon Projector: TSX Clear Lens and OEM Straight Shield
As with other projectors, I swap out the ZKW clear lens with a TSX clear lens, and keeping the OEM straight shield. The TSX lens is smaller, but more convexed. A more convexed lens should yield a wider beam, but as we have learned (in X5 section above), it take more than just having a more convexed lens. A combination of curved shield mod and convexed lens will yield a wider evenly spread beam. So the images below should look very similar to the oem ZKW beam.


The TSX lens is smaller. So I temparorily use 3M sticky rubber to hold the lens in place. This rubber is a good product to help me easily test and adjust the lens for focusing purpose, but one should use circular carboard rings for spacing.

At this angle, you can see that the TSX lens is placed closer to the oem straight shield.

Closeup shot at 5 ft. Car is parked 25ft away. Very nice and colorful in the center, just like oem ZKW lens.

Car at 25ft, picture taken at 23ft. Look good in the center, but quickly become faded on the side. The flair above the cutoff beam is more noticable than compare to oem ZKW lens.

Car at 25ft, picture taken at 40ft from center. At this angle, you can see the entire beam. Beam is so nice, sharp, and colrful in the center, but the sides is not so pleasing.

Comparison pictures between lens swap 330xi and zTail S2K. Remember taht zTail beam is enclosed inside the headlight while the 330xi is in nake form outside the headlight.

Car at 25ft, picture taken at 25ft. The slant step on the 330xi is twice in height compared to the zTail step.

Car at 25ft, picture taken at 40 ft at an angle from the left side of car. This angle show how the zTail beam spread onto the side wall. It's more clearly visible and sharper.

A closeup shot at 10 ft.

Another close-up shot at 10 ft at an angle. The TSX lens swap produce a rich deep blue in the center.

Car at 220ft, picture taken at 220ft. TSX lens swap 330xi still look sharp at 220ft.

330xi with TSX lens swap at 220ft. Foreground is not a bright as S2K. Also at the 50ft trash bin wall, you don't see the cutoff line and it's less bright.



'04 BMW 330xi ZKW(e46) bi-Xenon Projector: TSX Clear Lens Swap and Curved Shield Mod
Besides doing a TSX lens swap, I also added a curved shield mod. A combination of more convexed lens and curved shield give a much wider beam and sharper cutoff along the entire beam, not just in the center. The 330xi ZKW projector has a high-beam mechanism which attached to the oem shield. The highbeam switch will lower the shield to expose more light above the cutoff. If you do a shield mod, you'll have two choices. You can remove the oem shield which will disable the high-beam mechanism, or you can do a curved shield mod ONTO the oem shield like I did.


BMW 330xi projector with TSX clear lens and curved shield mod. TSX lens is held against projector lens holder using 3M sticky rubber.

At this angle, you can see the curved shield. A curved shield along with a more convexed lens help increase beam width.

I attached the modified curved shield onto the oem movable shield. There are two clips on the oem shield which holds the add-on curved shield tightly.

Car at 25ft, picture taken at 30ft. Referencing OEM 330xi beam, this beam is wider, flatter, yet maintain color and sharpness in the center.

Car at 25ft, picture taken at 40ft. Nice purple color in the center.

At this angle, you can see the cutoff extends to the side wall, however it's very weak.

Here's a center shot at 25ft. Camera could not take entire beam spread at this distant. 330xi is weaker in comparison.

Here's a side comparison with zTail S2K. Car at 25ft; picture taken at 5ft from center. 330xi beam is wide as zTail.

Comparison with zTail S2K. Car at 25ft, picture taken at 40ft on left side. zTail S2K is brighter overall and has more definition along cutoff thanks to its concentrated streak of light along the cutoff line.

Car at 25ft, picture take at 5ft from an angle. Picture is a little blue. 330xi beam has nice rich blue/purple color.

Car at 220ft, picture taken at 220ft. Modded 330xi beam on top. You can still see the blue color band. Note how the cutoff beam run across the side building. This was lacking on the OEM 330xi beam.

Modded 330xi beam alone. Note the trash bin wall at 50ft, the cutoff line is visible which was lacking on 330xi OEM. Compared to the zTail S2K, it is less bright.



'05 Acura TL bi-Xenon Projector: OEM Ripple Lens and OEM Semi-Curve Shield
Upon examining the TL projector, it is very similar to the X5 in structure; however, the TL has a clearer and cleaner reflective bowl. The TL lens is almost the same size as the BMW X5 and BMW 330xi in term of diameter (3") and same curvature shape (convexity). The TL is also bi-Xenon which act as a lowbeam and highbeam. It's shield a semi-curve and the lens is ripple just like the X5.


Side view of TL projector

3" ripple lens. Has similar diameter and convexity as X5 and 330xi lenses. A ripple and less convexed lens will yield a soft and narrow beam.

TL has a movable shield which flip down, yielding a high beam. The shield is semi-curved.

Car at 25ft, picture taken on left side at 40ft. Colorful and bright in the center, but softened. Sides are very blur and soft.

Car at 25ft, picture taken on right side at 40ft. Good concentration of light in the center. Multi-color but softened by ripple lens.

Closeup shot at 5ft while car at 25ft.

Closeup comparison with zTail S2K. Car at 25ft, picture taken at 5ft.

Car at 25ft, picture taken at 40ft on left side. At this far angle, zTail beam stand out better, has more definition along the cutoff, and wider.

Closeup comparison at 5ft, showing right-half of cutoff.

Car at 25ft, picture taken at 25ft. Showing partial beam spread. TL beam is sloping downward a little. zTail is straight and even.

Car at 25ft, picture takend at 40 ft on right side of car. TL has a big hot spot that look like a spaceship. zTail S2K is more evenly spread and run along the side cutoff line.

Car at 25ft, picture taken at 27ft. TL is softer on side and narrower.

Car at 25ft, picture taken at 60ft.

Car at 220ft. TL on top.

TL by itself. There's no distinctive cutoff line on the trash bin wall at 50ft.



'05 Acura TL bi-Xenon Projector: TSX Clear Lens Swap and OEM Semi-Curve Shield
The TL lens is less convex, just like the X5 and 330xi. As such, it will limit the wideness. By adding a more convexed lens like the TSX, the cutoff should be wider and cleaner. However, the wideness is also depended on a curved shield as well. This was the case with the X5 and 330xi which has a straight shields. Doing a TSX lens swap on those projector didn't improve beam width. Since the TL has a semi-curve shield, the wide should increase with the TSX lens swap.


Since the TSX lens is smaller in diameter and convexity, it will require a different spacing from the cutoff shield. This is accomplished with layer of spacers which is made of cereal box. Simply trace out the lens and cut it. I used 12 cereal box spacers, which give you a deep purple color in the center. 13 spacer if you want the beam to be more yellowish-orange. 11 spacer if you want more blue

This is how it look from the inside. Essentially, you spacing the lens closer to the cutoff shield. I use 3M sticky rubber to temporarily hold the lens against the spacers. I can easily remove the sticky rubber to add more or less spacers during testing.

This is how the projector look at from the front with the TSX lens and spacers.

Car at 25ft, picture taken at 40 ft from left side angle. TSX lens swap help with sharpess and width. Lens is correctly spaced to get nice purple color. Also, note the 'spaceship' concentrated light in the center. The more convexed TSX lens help spread the spaceship wider. If you reference the OEM TL beam, you can see the difference.

Car at 25ft, picture taken at 25ft. Beam is slope downward just a little.

Closeup shot from right angle at 5ft while car is at 25ft. Nice reddish purple colors in the center.

Comparison with zTail S2K. Car at 25ft, picture taken at 40ft from left side. At this angle, you can see the entire beam spread. Note how the TL beam is now much wider and has more definition.

Car at 25ft, picture taken at 30ft. The TL now reaches the end of the wall, and is also brighter. zTail S2K is still sharper. TL is sloping downward a little. A shield mod will fix that as you will see later.

Car at 25ft, picture taken at 10ft from center. TL is now as wide as S2K, but has less definition.

Car at 25ft, picture taken at 60ft. This angle show the entire beam spread. TL is sloping downward a little, as most OEM beams are. Shield mod easily fix that.

TL with TSX lens beam at 220ft. The purple color band is still visible. Note the cutoff on the trash bin wall at 50ft.

Comparison to zTail at 220ft. The TL foreground brightness is as bright as zTail S2K, only difference is that the S2K cover more immediate area.



'05 Acura TL bi-Xenon Projector: TSX Clear Lens Swap and Fully Curve Shield Mod
In addition to doing a lens swap, I also do a curved shield mod. The new shield is more curved than the OEM semi-curved shield. The shield mod helps make the beam straight and even, whereas the OEM shield produce a downward sloping beam. The TSX lens is about 2.5" in diameter whereas the TL lens is about 3". The TSX lens has to be placed closer to the shield. I added 12 spacers, made of cereal box. The lens is carefully center and held in place temporarily using Handi-tak rubber for testing. This section is divided into three parts. In the first part, I use 11 spacers, which yield a blue color band. In the second part, I use 12 spacers to get a purple color band. In the third part, I use 13 spacers which gives an yellow colarband.


TL projector with TSX clear lens and curved shield mod.

Here's a shot showing the curved shield. The shield is made up of two flash sheet which allow me to adjust the height, depth, and rotation without bending the shield up or down. The TL has lot of hold where you can screw the shield onto the projector. I temporarily use green painter tape for testing.

Here's another closeup angle showing at 45 degree downward.

Car at 25ft, picture taken at 5ft. Really nice, clean, and sharp. Love the concentrated thin blue color band.

Car at 25ft, picture taken at 40ft from right side. Beam no longer sloping downward. Straight and clean. Still a little soft on the outer edges.

At 40ft from the left side. Beam spread onto side wall.

Car at 25ft, picture taken at 30ft. Showing left-half of beam. Beam stretch all the way to end of wall, and still clearly visible.

Comparison with zTail S2K. TL beam is a little brighter at the end, but note the concentrated streak of light on the S2K's cutoff.

Car at 25ft, picture taken at 25ft. Picture only show partial beam spread.

Car at 25ft, picture taken at 10ft from center. This angle show both beam has the same width.

Car at 25ft, picture taken at 35ft from right side. A combination of clear lens swap and curved shield mod make a nice and wide beam.

Car at 25ft, picture taken at 60ft. This angle shows the entire beam spreads.

Comparison at 220ft. Note how the TL cutoff run along the side buidling. Note the zTail S2K cutoff run along the green bushes. In person, you can see it better.

Modded TL beam at 220ft. The color band still remain blue at this distant. Note the cutoff beam run along the green bushes.

Here, I used 12 spacers which give me more purple.

This is at 25ft. The purple color will become blue at long distant.

Side angle at 7ft.

Here, I used 13 spacer which give more yellow.

The beam still remains straight and even.

At 220ft, the yellow color will turn into purple. It's hard to see 'cuz my camera can't handle picture clearly at that distant.



'05 Acura TL bi-Xenon Projector: '04 BMW 330xi ZKW Clear Lens Swap and OEM Semi-Curve Shield
Since the 330xi lens is very similar to the TL lens in shape, diameter, and convexity, I decided to swap out the TL ripple lens with the 330xi ZKW clear lens. The clearity of 330xi lens will improve sharpness, but the convexity of the 330xi lens will not increase the width since its has the same convexity as the TL oem lens. The cutoff looks like it's wider but really it's not. It looks sharper and has better definition which gives a sense that it's wider. I recommend the TSX clear lens over the ZKW lens.

The distant between the lens and the cutoff shield will determine the color band. I divided this section into 3 parts to show this effect. Generally, if the distant between the lens and the shield is increased by 1mm to 2mm from OEM spec, the colorband will be more blue. If the distant is decreased from OEM spec, the colorband will be more yellow.



This is a 330xi ZKW clear lens. You can use 1 or 2 spacers, or no spacer. Spacer can be easily made out of cereal box. The number of spacers used will determine the color band.

I'm swapping out the lens but keeping the TL OEM semi-curve shield.

TL projector with ZKW lens and OEM shield.

Car at 25ft, picture taken at 40 from right side. Here's I use no spacer. The colorband is yellow/orange. The yellow will become purple at long distant.

Car at 25ft, picture taken at 25ft. Doesn't look impressive up close.

Comparison with zTail S2K. Picture taken at 30ft while car at 25ft from wall. TL/ZKW is a little shorter and a little softer on the side edge. S2K is brighter along the cutoff line.

Car at 25ft, picture taken at 40ft from left side. Picture is a little blur. Here, you can see the entire beam spread.

Here's a closeup shot showing the side. TL /w ZKW is a little shorter.

TL /w ZKW at 220ft. The cutoff is purple at 220ft. Forground is good, but it covers a smaller area due to TL foreground limiter. The cutoff at the 50ft trash bin is sharp and clean.

Comparison with zTail S2K, which cover more foreground. The cutoff on the 50ft trash bin is brighter compared to TL/ZKW.

Here, I used 1 spacer which give the cutoff that deep concentration purple colorband. Car at 25ft, picture taken at 40 ft from left side.

Car at 25ft, picture taken at 30 next to car. Really nice in the center. Sharp and has a nice deep purple color. Side cutoff is a little soft.

Comparison with zTail S2K. Car at 25ft, picture taken at 40ft from right side. TL has that spaceship concentrated light in the center, but week on the side. S2K has evenly spread in the center and has better definition along cutoff line.

Closeup shot showing the side wall. S2K is wider.

Car at 220ft, picture taken at 220ft. Modded TL on top, zTail on bottom. TL beam become blue at long distant.

Modded TL alone at 220ft. Sharp cutoff on the 50ft trash bin wall, but become soft at the end.

Here, I used 2 cereal box spacers to get the blue color band. Car at 25ft, picture taken at 25ft.

Closeup shot at 5ft while car is at 25ft.

Another closeup shot. Picture taken at 10ft from center. The cutoff is sharp in the center but become faded and soft on the side edge.

The colorband is still sharp and remain blue at 220ft. Note the trash bin wall at 50ft. The sharp cutoff become very soft at the end.



'05 Acura TL bi-Xenon Projector: '04 BMW 330xi ZKW Clear Lens Swap and Fully Curved Shield Mod
As seen from other projectors mod, the best output is achieved with both clear lens swap and shield mod.


330xi ZKW lens inside a TL lens holder. You can use 1 or 2 cereal box spacers or none. I recommend 1 spacer.

Replacing the TL semi-curve shield with a fully curved shield. Shield is sharp and straight. Same shield used with TSX clear lens swap.

Here's a closeup shot at another angle. Shield is made of two flash sheets held together by screw, washer, and nut. This allows me to move the shield forward/backward while keeping the shield straight. You don't want to bend the shield backward which creates a frowning cutoff, or bend the shield forward which create a smiling cutoff.

Car at 25ft, picture taken at 27ft next to car. Here's I use 1 spacer to get the nice purple/blue color.

Car at 25ft, picture taken at 40 from right side. Beam look very clean, sharp, and has a thin concentration of purple colorband in the center.

Closeup shot at 5ft showing side angle. Nice color in the center.

Comparison with zTail S2K. Sharp and clean for both beams. zTail is a little wider. S2K lens is more convexed than ZKW lens. zTail beam has that unique streak of light along cutoff which not visible on TL/ZKW.

Picture taken at 40ft while car is 25ft from wall. Both beams look great. Remember, zTail is enclosed inside headlight while TL/ZKW is naked.

Car still at 25ft, picture taken at 5ft from center.

Car at 25ft while picture taken at 40ft from left side. At this angle, you can see the beam spread onto the side wall. S2K is wider and also brighter. On the TL/ZKW, there's a hot spot that look like a spaceship. It's bright in the center, but become weak beyond the center. Because of the big contrast difference, it make the center look much brighter than it's really is.

Car is 25ft and picture taken at 25ft. This angle only show partial beam spread. Nice concentrated purple/reddish color on TL/ZKW. You can tell a different in intensity between zTail S2K and TL/ZKW.

Closeup shot showing side wall. Car at 25 while picture taken 5ft from center. The modded TL has a very nice and rich color band. Remember, I use 1 spacer which sit between the lens and the lens holder. I'm essentially moving the lens about 1mm away from the cutoff shield.

Here's a big picture of the spread. Car at 25ft, picture is taken 25ft from the center on the far left. At this angle, you can see the zTail concentrated streak of light on the left cutoff. On the side building, you can see the zTail beam is wider too. In the center, s2K is more intense. Remember that the s2k is enclosed inside headlight.

Car at 25ft, picture taken at 60ft. At this angle, you can see the entire beam spread from side to side.

Modded TL beam at 220ft alone. Colorband become blue. Note the sharpness at the 50ft trash bin wall.

Here, I used 2 spacers to get blue colorband. Car at 25ft, picture taken at 25ft.

Closeup shot at 5ft while car parked at 25ft. Thick blue colorband.

Car at 25ft, picture taken at 40 from left side. Cutoff beam look clean and straight. The trend is getting more color (blue color). I recommend a thin, sharp, and concentrated colorband.

This time, I use no spacer, which give a yellow/orange colorband. Since the ZKW lens is about 1mm smaller in diameter, you may want to add some 3M rubber around the edges to position the lens in the center and prevent movement.

Closeup shot at 25ft, car parked 25ft. The 'Z' in the center look kinda fuzzy at 25ft, but at 40ft and further, it become sharper.

Car still at 25ft while picture taken at 5ft from center. Note the thin blue colorband just away from the center..

Comparison with zTail S2K. TL above and S2K on the bottom. Note the sharp TL/ZKW running along the side building. The TL 'Z' shape now look sharp and the yellow become purple.

Modded TL at 220ft alone. The fuzzy yellow 'Z' (at 25ft) now look sharper and purple at 220ft. The cutoff on the trash bin wall is straight and clean.


As you can see, doing a shield mod and swapping clear lens can make a big different in the beam output and pattern. If you don't like your OEM output, don't throw away your projector just yet. Sharpness, wideness, straightness, color, and even brightness can be altered. I recommend doing both lens swap and shield mod at the same time to get the most benefit. When choosing a clear lens, get the more convexed 2.5" lenses over the 3" lenses which are less convexed. The TSX lens is a very great lens which can be fitted (or made to fit) into almost any projectors. Also, if you're doing any shield mod, here is something to keep in mind. Any slight changes in the shield can significantly affect your beam output and pattern. It is very sensitive, especially when you're dealing with a curve shield. It is imperative that you test you beam output at various distant, preferably outside your house in an opening area so you can see the entire beam spread. This can be very time consuming; so don't expect great result quickly. Some of the beam output and pattern in the pictures shown above are not perfect, as I was only testing and did not spend enough time getting the the best output. So there's still room for improvement.


My Other HID Related Retrofits

Projector Beam Comparison (a6, x5, s2k, tsx, m5, 330xi zkw, tl, sc430, rx330) (Oct. 2006)
How To Create a Custom Shield for an S2000 Projector (November 2007)
There were many other links, lost during the geocities shutdown :(

Attention: Nick has found a new web host. The official location of this page is: http://www.jvxdriver.com/beam_comparison.htm





This page is being viewed from http://theeshadow.com