I was sent the Zhiyun Fiveray F100 LED Light Stick a while back, and now that I’ve spent some time putting it to the test, I’m ready to share my thoughts. While it’s a great LED-based photo and video (and whatever else you’d like to use it for) light, it has one large flaw that saw me stashing it back in its case a few times.
But don’t fret; not all is lost! The Zhiyun Fiveray F100 is a very capable light and has many selling points. Let’s dive right in…
The Fiveray F100 LED Light Stick: overview
The Fiveray F100 LED Light Stick from Zhiyun-Tech is a lightweight, portable, and very versatile 100W LED light for photographers, content creators, filmmakers, and vloggers. Featuring an output of 1200 lux at 3.3 ft (6200K), it has a CRI of 96 and a TLCI of 97 for color accuracy. It also has a variable color temperature of 2700-6200K.
The precise color adjustability allows you to match ambient conditions and other light fixtures; it also allows you to produce creative effects. You can choose between CCT, HSI, and FX light-effect modes with variable light intensities from 0% to 100%. There are also six creative lighting effects: SOS, Fire, TV, Flash, Faulty Bulb, and Candle.
Ideal for various applications, the F100 is powered by six integrated 2600 mAh lithium batteries that last 31 minutes when the light is set to full brightness. It supports 100W PD fast charging via its USB-C port.
The stick light has a 1/4″-20 mounting thread hole so you can attach it to your compatible supports. The package also includes modifiers specifically designed for the F100 model, such as 2-leaf barndoors, a diffuser, and a grid. It also comes with a USB-C charging cable and a storage bag.
The Fiveray F100 LED Light Stick: performance
First of all, for those of you that haven’t used a lot of LED lighting before, the F100 Light Stick’s CRI of 96 is considered just fine (Color Rendering Index, or CRI, is a measurement of how natural colors render under an artificial white light source when compared with sunlight).
As for the TLCI: It’s not something I’ve paid any attention to in the past, but some say it’s very important. (TLCI, or Television Lighting Consistency Index, is a single averaged score up to 100 that is determined by the color response that would result when using a video camera. A TLCI in the range 85-100 doesn’t need any color correction, a 70-85 score would need a simple correction, and a 50-70 score would need complex color correction.)
That’s a lot of words that basically say, “It’s the right color.” Having used the product myself, I agree: It does pretty well! I’ve used two of the F100 lights on a menu shoot, and the colors came out great. (Unfortunately, my client has requested that I don’t share the images publicly.)
The biggest thing for me when using a light bar on a food shoot is being able to control the illumination effectively. I want the light coming out of the LED to go to where I want it to go, and while it’s certainly not as easy to direct as a conventional set of lights (I typically use a pair of Westcott FJ400 strobes, which are Bowens mount lights and have an array of light modifiers), the Zhiyun Fiveray F100 comes with a cute little grid modifier that easily attaches around the light. It also comes with a handy set of barn doors; while these offer less control than the grid, they certainly allow you to stop some of the light spill that’s typically produced by light fixtures like the Fiveray F100.
Note that you can use the Fiveray F100 to achieve a range of color temperatures. Here, the same light stick has produced a very warm light as well as a much cooler light:
The 100W-rated LED light also has a handy suite of built-in lighting effects, including SOS, TV, Faulty Bulb, Candle, Flash, and Fire. They’re all pretty good, and if you’re making a film or a TikTok for your photography business, maybe you could use one of the effects (or maybe not; it’s up to you!).
While we’re talking about filming and effects, it’s worth mentioning that the unit can get warm. However, it does have a smart built-in fan array that automagically keeps the operation of the LED at a totally workable temperature. With all the fans and airflow, the F100 certainly isn’t waterproof or splashproof, so don’t take it in the pool!
With the CCT mode giving you color temperatures from 2700-6200K (warm to cool whites) and the HSI mode giving you plenty of colors, the light is a really handy addition to your camera bag. Make no mistake, it’s not going to replace a set of studio lights or even a well-powered pair of flash units, but for adding creative light and for doing photography closer up, the Fiveray F100 is a well-priced option that you should consider.
The main drawback
I did start this article by mentioning a problem with the Fiveray F100, and I really feel like I need to mention it. After experiencing this design flaw myself and doing some research (just to make sure I wasn’t doing it all wrong!), I have come to realize that others are having a similar experience.
Specifically, the main dial that controls all of the features of the light is almost impossible to use.
I don’t have special thumbs – they’re not extra slippy! I just found that controlling the power output of the F100, as well as switching between modes and working through an effect, was a time-consuming and often frustrating experience. Midway through setting a color or a power output setting, the light would change modes or flick into an effect.
If I had all the time in the world and I were working on my own on a project with these lights, they would be fine. However, if I were using them in a production environment with others, the time spent fiddling around would just be too much, I fear.
The Fiveray F100 LED Light Stick: final words
The Fiveray F100 LED Light Stick is a great light for smaller projects (though if you need to flick between modes, it’s important that you’re not faced with time constraints). And if you can just set and forget these lights – for instance, if you’re using them to light your live stream with one consistent color and power output – they’re excellent!
They come in a nice compact carry case with their modifiers, and they can also be charged via USB-C (PD). PD means that charging is fast, and you can also use the light while it’s charging!
But if the control dial was larger and had a rubberized finish, I really do think the Fiveray F100 would be a much better product.