Location: Simi Valley
|Black Diamond, Princeton Tec, and Petzel are all reputable manufacturers. Unless you get a very low-end unit , youíd probably be hard pressed to get anything bad from them. For the range youre looking at, you should be fine. I own a Black Diamond and 3 Princeton Tec headlamps. Like dkkim, 2 of mine are the Quad models. They get used all the time (kayaking, cycling, camping, general use) and Iím glad I bought them. I guess what Iím saying is that I have no preference. I like them both and the reviews Iíve read have been pretty equal amongst all 3 manufacturers.
To kinda answer your question, Iíd lean towards the Princeton Tec just because itís more lumens but you may want to check the specs. More lumens usually means shorter battery life. Also, if it takes CR123 batteries, they are more expensive and slightly less common (the tradeoff for power/duration/weight). Warranties also vary if that matters to you. It all depends on what you need it to do for you.
If you do your homework, youíll get something youíll wonder how you went without one for so long.
p.s. Some units have regulated power. If you get one that does, youíll be able to use lithium batteries. I am a HUGE fan of the Energizer Ultimate Lithiums. They weigh half as much as an alkaline and last about 4x as long. The drawback is that they are pretty expensive. IMHO, they are absolutely worth it.
If wishes were fishes, we'd all cast nets.