ZHIYUN has been making a name for itself in North America over the past few years. With a focus on creating accessories and tools to help bring professional filming into the hands of content creators, ZHIYUN has been constantly refining their products to better suit the creator's needs. I recently experienced this in my review of the Smooth Q4. There were some great improvements over its predecessor the Smooth Q3.
Their latest release, the Five Ray FR100C Light Stick, hopes to help creators step up their lighting game without having to set up a whole studio. This 100WATT light stick offers a host of professional-grade lighting options in a single, compact package. Can a single lightstick offer the professional level of illumination needed for your next stream or video? Grab that coffee, kick back and check out our review of the Five Ray FR100C Stick Light from ZHIYUN.
- Current Price: USD199.99(Amazon)
- Built-Battery Capacity: 6S/2600MAH
- Charging Option: USB-C or *24V/5A Power Adaptor (*included in Combo)
- CCT Mode Power: 50W+50W
- Color Temp. Range: 2700K-6200K
- HSI Mode: Hue: 0°~360°; Saturation: 0~100%; Intensity: 0~100%
- Dimensions: H502mm; W46mm;D47mm
- Weight: 920g
Out of the box, the Five Ray FR100C is a solid piece of lighting technology. The single light weighs in at 920g and houses a 6-fan cooling system(more on this later). Housed below the cooling system are a small digital display and a selector wheel with four points of button contact. Airflow grills adorn each side of the stick giving the whole unit a unique look and feel.
The base of the unit sports a leather-wrapped handle for holding. The aforementioned selector wheel is positioned just above the leather-bound handle making adjusting settings an easy and accessible process. The light itself is comprised of two high-powered (50W/side) LEDstrip lights tucked behind a frosted plastic shade that offers a soft defused filter for the light to pass through. The Five Ray logo is stamped along the side of the unit and is a nice finishing touch to the design.
The construction feels solid and heavy. The FR100C is composed of a hard plastic shell that protects the LED light strips from any damage that could occur while out in the field. On one side of the stick is a USB-C port along with AC/DC power adaptor insert for charging and continuous use. The AC/DC power adaptor comes with the combo version of the Five Ray whereas the standard version only provides a USB-C cable for charging.
Its unique stick design also means that you are free to mount or place it in some very creative and unique positions. A ¼-inch threaded hole located on the bottom of the light means mounting it to a tripod is an option as well. Overall the design and build quality looks and feels great.
My only real critique of the whole design is the selector wheel itself. There are four buttons under the wheel allowing you to quickly cycle modes and settings without ever having your thumb leave the wheel. On the unit I reviewed, I found the buttons to be a bit sensitive which resulted in accidentally switching modes, colors and brightness. Thankfully moving between settings is quick and painless so it was really more of a minor inconvenience than a problem.
Turning On The High Beams
The FR100C is a powerful light. With 6 2600MAH batteries packed into the body of the light and two 50WATT LED light strips means you can really push the output. In fact, at its max 100W power setting the FR100C can push out over 20,000 LUX. LUX is a unit of measure that captures the intensity of light when it hits a surface. Unlike lumens, which focus on measuring brightness alone, LUX measures just how intense a light source is. This becomes important when you have to factor in other light sources such as natural light or light pollution from other artificial lights.
In the case of the FR100C, the high LUX measurements mean that the light produced can overcome other light pollution in a setting. This helps you capture the look and feel you are looking for in a photo or video despite the setting. In laymen’s terms, the FR100C is able to cut through other light sources and produce the light you need for your content.
When I ran a lighting test near my window, I was able to easily generate light bright enough to overcome the daylight setting outside with ease. In settings where I had more control over the lighting environment, the FR100C allowed me to fine-tune the look I wanted for the setting.
In regards to the 6 2600MAH batteries, running the light at full power continuously means you’ll have use of the light on battery power for about half an hour. Running the light with those settings saw batter life range from 26 to 33 minutes. However, when I adjusted the settings to reflect what I would typically use in a real-world setting (I added the light to my stream setup), The light managed over two hours of constant use.
Unfortunately, the review model didn’t come with the AC adaptor for continuous use. This is actually a bit of a frustration with the way the unit is sold. The standard package includes everything but the AC adaptor. The only way to actually get the adaptor is to upgrade to the combo package. There is no other way to actually purchase it at the time of writing.
This in essence means that unless you purchase the combo version of the FR100C you can’t get an AC adaptor for it at all. Interestingly though, even without the AC adaptor, I was able to slowly charge the battery with the USB-C cable while still using it. There is enough power passthrough with the USB-C to allow you to extend the time you’ll get with the battery, at least at the lower power settings I was using for the stream setup.
An interesting feature of the FR100C is its six cooling fans housed in the back of the light. This cooling system is designed to intelligently power on to prevent overheating when it measures certain internal temperatures. This ensures that the light never gets too warm either to the touch or to overheat. In my tests, I was able to run the light at full brightness for more than 30 minutes without it ever feeling too warm to handle. It was quite impressive when compared to some of the other panel LED lights I have here in the office.
In addition to being a seriously bright light, the FR100C also offers two modes of operation; CCT (correlated color temperature) and HSI (or RGB) modes. The former is designed to allow the user to generate a wide range of white color temperatures. The FR100C has a color temperature range of 2700K to 6200K. A rotation of the dial allows you to quickly run the light through the spectrum making it easy to set the light to the desired color temperature.
HSI mode, which stands for hue, saturation and illuminance(or lux), is the RGB mode of the FR100C. One of the unique features of the Five Ray is the ability to set each of these controls independently. The first setting, hue, essentially determines the color we see. The FR100C supports a hue spectrum of 0°~360°. In laymens terms, the FR100C is able to produce all the colors of the rainbow extremely well.
The second setting, saturation, refers to the intensity of the color we see. The FR100C can essentially dial the vibrance of a particular hue way back or way up depending on the setting and needs. The final setting, illuminance(or intensity), determines how well the light can overcome other light sources in the shot. All of these individual settings work together to allow the creator to dial in on the exact color setting they want. It’s an exceptionally customizable feature and one that allows creators to leverage the light to produce a host of creative photos and videos.
The last element of the FR100C to note is its CRI or color rendering index rating. The CRI is a system of measuring a light's ability to accurately reproduce the colors of the subject being illuminated. For a light to be considered usable for professional environments like a photo shoot or filming it must measure 90 CRI. The Five Ray FR100C measures in at greater than 96 CRI making it ideal for content creation. It produces the kind of light you would expect to see on a professional film set or photo shoot.
The Five Ray FR100C Stick Light from ZHIYUN is an excellent light for filming and photography. Packed with all of the customizable light settings you need to create artistic lighting settings, the FR100C is a great place to start if you're looking to set up a new lighting rig or add to an existing one. It offers a professional setup in a compact package and can adapt to almost any setting you would need it in. Priced at USD$199.99 on Amazon, the Five Ray FR100C is a great option to meet your lighting needs.
The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes.