Zhiyun Fiveray F100 review

Add a powerful and versatile LED light source to your video or photo shoots with the Fiveray F100

5 Star Rating
zhiyun fiveray f100 light stick lighting a wwii soldier
(Image: © George Cairns)

Digital Camera World Verdict

The Zhiyun Fiveray F100 is a portable and powerful LED light stick that adds a modeling light to photo shoots and special animated lighting effects to video shoots. It’s a welcome upgrade from the excellent F100C thanks to the adjustable barn doors and the superior carry case. If you already own a Fiveray F100C then the F100 is not an essential upgrade but if you’ve yet to add an LED light stick to your kit then the F100 is a highly recommended purchase.

Pros

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    Adjustable color temperature

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    Variable intensity

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    100W output

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    Quiet cooling fans

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    6 special light effects

Cons

  • -

    Not officially waterproof (but it did deal with drizzle!)

  • -

    Can topple over on short tripod

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The only 5-star rating I’ve ever awarded to a product on Digital Camera World is the Zhiyun FIVERAY F100C light wand (opens in new tab). I loved that LED’s combination of power and portability when it came to lighting subjects for photo or video shoots, and it's easily one of the best video lights (opens in new tab) despite its size.

However, now that Zhiyun has released an upgraded version of that light stick – the similarly named Zhiyun Fiveray F100 – I have no room to add extra review stars that reflect the additional features found in the newer model. So what are the differences between the old Fiveray F100C and the newer F100? 

The Fiveray F100’s 100W output is enough to light up the darkest locations (and you can dial the intensity up or down using the control dial) (Image credit: George Cairns)
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Zhiyun Fiveray F100 specifications

Brightness: Can reach up to 20708 lux at its 100W max power
Weight: 950g
Run time: 31 minutes
Colour temperature range: 2700º K to 6200º K
Hue: 0-360º
Built-in Battery Capacity: 6S/2600 MAH
Max Power Mode 4000K/100% Illuminance (LUX): 2200 (in 1 meter)
TLCI Index: ≥97 
CRI Index: ≥96
Product Size: 502*46*47(mm)
Power Adapter Output Voltage/Current: 24V/5A
Extension: 1/4" Threaded Hole
Operational Temperature: -10°~40°

Zhiyun Fiveray F100 features

Let’s start with a look at the new (and extra) features that you get with the upgraded Zhiyun Fiveray F100 compared to the older F100C model. The main body of both light sticks looks and feels identical though the new F100 boasts a set of barn doors that enable you to control the spread of light emitting from the columns and rows of LEDs. 

• These are the best LED light panels (opens in new tab)

The inside of the barn doors is also reflective to help you target the light onto the subject in a more effective and accurate way. The supplied elasticated diffuser slips over the barn doors and enables you to create a softer spread of light. You can detach the barn doors and replace them with a supplied canvas light grid - though this accessory doesn’t do that much to change the pattern of light emitted by the F100’s LEDs.

A welcome new feature is a collection of pre-programmed special effects that control the behavior of the light stick’s multiple LEDs. The new F100 boasts more LED chips (324) than the older model’s 256 chips and these extra LED chips can now be used in more creative ways thanks to these special effect presets. The preset effects enable you to creatively augment a location’s lighting (in a similar way to the Nanlite PavoTube T8-7X (opens in new tab)’s creative lighting presets). For example, you can trigger a preset to make the F100 flicker like a TV set, or emit a distress flash using the SOS setting.

The control dial on the rear of the Zhiyun Fiveray F100 enables you to make the color temperature of the LED  complement any location’s ambient light (Image credit: George Cairns)
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Zhiyun Fiveray F100 Build & handling

Thanks to the barn doors the F100 is slightly heavier than the F100C by 30g, but it still weighs in at under a Kilogram (950g), making it easy to carry and deploy on a shoot.

As with the F100C the Fiveray F100 has a control dial that enables you to adjust its color temperature to complement the available light. In daylight, you can dial it to 5600º K to match the cold light of day. When shooting indoors you can rotate the dial to choose a color temperature closer to a warmer tungsten light source (around 3000º K). 

The control dial also enables you to dim the intensity of the light (which is important as it can blow out a subject’s highlights thanks to its 100W output.)  The control dial is quite small and can be a bit fiddly to adjust (especially if it gets wet due to rain). 

The control dial also has four buttons. Press the bottom of the dial (at the 6 o’clock position) to access the HSI (Hue, Saturation and Intensity) menu. This enables you to dial in blues, greens and reds that are perfect for adding a neon-style look to urban photography. 

The 9 o’clock CCT button accesses color temperature controls. Press the dial at the 12 o’clock position to trigger the Max output of the stick.  The 3 o’clock position (labeled FX) accesses the new the six new special effects presets - SOS, TV, Faulty Bulb, Candle, Flash and Fire. These can provide springboards to creatively enhance your video projects as you’ll see from our supporting test video.

The F100 Combo kit’s carry case helps you transport the F100 and its accessories safely to a shoot (Image credit: George Cairns)
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Zhiyun Fiveray F100 Performance

For our test shoot, we took the F100 to a windswept Scottish hill. The operational temperature of the F100 light stick ranges between -10°and 40°C. Our shoot was on the cold (and wet side) but the F100 kept on glowing despite the constant wind and drizzle. I shot the test footage on an iPhone 14 Pro Max (and had to constantly wipe the iPhone’s lenses and my glasses to keep on shooting!). 

The available lighting on location was very flat due to the foggy weather conditions but the F100 enabled me to add a bit of modeling light to help the subject stand out from the bleak background.  I could also tweak the color temperature dial to make the LED match the location’s light.  

I popped the F100 onto a mini Manfrotto tripod using the 1/4" threaded hole at the light stick’s base. However, once I fully opened the barn doors they acted as a sail and the stick would occasionally blow over in the grassy and hilly windswept location. We appreciate that this was an unusual and extreme location to test the light in so we won’t knock off a star for this issue.  

We then adjourned to the shelter of a bunker where I used the F100’s Fire preset to create a scene where a soldier appears to warm his hands over an off-screen fire (see our supporting test video). To shoot the intro for the video portion of this review I set up the F100 on the same Manfrotto tripod at dusk (and there were no toppling-over issues due to lack of wind).  

The 100W LED emission was enough to help me stand out in the encroaching darkness as I talked to the camera. I really enjoyed using the various settings on the F100 to add practical and creative lighting effects to my footage. In fact, the presence of the Fire FX effect gave me the idea for the final scene in my test video.  

The F100 should last for 31 minutes at Maximum output and it did indeed keep on shining during my test shoots. It has Type-C and DC charging ports so you could hook it up to an external power source such as the SmallRig VB99 battery if you need to light a location or subject for longer.  

Special effect settings such as Fire enable you to augment your video footage with creative animated light effects (Image credit: George Cairns)
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In a flat and foggy location day, the Zhiyun Fiveray F100 can be used to add ‘modeling’ light to your subject (Image credit: George Cairns)
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Zhiyun Fiveray F100 Verdict

The new Zhiyun Fiveray F100 is a bit more expensive than the previous F100C model due to extra features such as the clipped-on barn doors, more LED chips, and the collection of special effect lighting presets. It also ships with a sturdy protective case that makes it easier and safer to transport the F100 and its accessories to a location. We found the flimsier carry bag that ships with the older F100C Combo kit made it harder to transport (and easier to drop) so the carry case that ships with the F100 Combo kit are worth an extra star (if we had the space to add one!).

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George has been freelancing as a photo fixing and creative tutorial writer since 2002, working for award winning titles such as Digital Camera, PhotoPlus, N-Photo and Practical Photoshop. He's expert in communicating the ins and outs of Photoshop and Lightroom, as well as producing video production tutorials on Final Cut Pro and iMovie for magazines such as iCreate and Mac Format. He also produces regular and exclusive Photoshop CC tutorials for his YouTube channel.