Light wands or light sticks might look like a cheap knockoff from a popular sci-fi film, but rather than for epic space duels, light sticks have proven to be incredibly useful and versatile lighting tools for photos and video. Rather than traditional lighting solutions, which are usually boxy lights mounted on a stand or boom, often with a sizable reflector or softbox attached, light wands are small and compact, with a unique form factor that makes setting up and lighting from awkward and hard to reach angles or space a breeze.
Zhiyun has become one of the pioneering companies pushing the light wand as a serious photography tool for content creators. Zhiyun’s FIVERAY F100 light stick got full marks from our reviewer when he tested it out. The FIVERAY V60 is not a replacement for the F100, as the F100 will remain for those keen on a full RGB-colored light. Instead, the FIVERAY V60 will sit alongside the F100 in Zhiyun’s range for users who want a powerful light, but with very accurate and consistent color through the normal color temperature spectrum.
ZHIYUN FIVERAY V60: Specifications
Output Power: CCT Mode: 60W, MAX Mode: 100W(PD)/120W(DC)
Color Temperature Range: 2700K - 6500K
Dimming Range: 0 - 100%
Peak Illuminance: 22500 Lux (100% brightness, 4300K)
Extension: 1/4 Threaded Hole
Charging Time: 1 hr 21 min (USB-C PD)
Continuous Runtime (4200K/100% Brightness): 24min
Operation Temperature: -10ºC - 40ºC
Size: 448 x 53 x 53 mm
ZHIYUN FIVERAY V60: Key Features
The FIVERAY V60 drops the RGB color modes from the F100, but in its place, the V60 offers incredible color accuracy with figures of CRI ≥96 and TLCI ≥98 over its color temperature range of 2700K - 6500K. The V60 also has a slightly lower constant brightness of 60W (compared to the F100's 100W), although when plugged into DC power, or 100W USB-C PD power, the V60 can enter into Max boosted mode offering a full 100W of power.
The light is kept cool by Zhiyun’s DynaVort cooling system, which is the name Zhiyun has given to the fans and heat dispersion in the back of its products, which it has used to great effect in its other lights. These fans and Zhiyun’s design enables the V60 to run constantly even in its max boosted mode without shutting down due to excess heat.
The V60 (and Zhiyun’s other lights) connect to its ZY Play app, which is available for both iOS and Android. The process of linking the light is very smooth, and once linked, the app offers a really easy way to control the V60’s brightness and color temperature or access the visual effects. For more advanced setups with multiple Zhiyun lights, you can group the lights together for one-touch group control.
ZHIYUN FIVERAY V60: Build & Handling
The FIVERAY V60 has changed a little in design from the F100. Where the F100 was a little more minimal, the V60 has more of an edge to its design. With its big fans and grills, and metal bars running down the side, this looks like a more serious tool. The FIVERAY V60 fits in much better with the Molus X100 range of lights, with its cool futuristic steampunk style, rather than the white robotic aesthetic of the Molus G60 and M40. I am not sure which style I prefer, but I like my photography gear to not steal the show, and the FIVERAY V60 is just enough that people will clock it, but it won’t draw attention.
The FIVERAY V60 is solidly built though, I feel like I could accidentally swing it into a few things on a busy shoot and it would come out the other side just fine. It does have a bit of heft to it but it isn’t too heavy to use one-handed, however, I did find my arm tired holding it outstretched for long periods. Luckily it does have a screw in the bottom for mounting onto stands and poles if you are going to shoot with it static for a while.
The light is controlled by two dials on the side, one for color and the other for brightness. These dials are simple to understand and use and work well in controlling the light. Settings are easily visible on the small screen set in the handle of the V60. You can also push the dials in to quickly cycle through three levels of brightness and color. If you hold in the CCT dial it launches music mode, and holding in the Dim dial goes into the FX settings.
However, I'm not completely sold on these dials, they offer no resistance, so not only are they easy to accidentally turn during use, but it's also hard to know how much you are turning them without any tactile feedback, I wish the dials had a subtle click to them.
ZHIYUN FIVERAY V60: Performance
The FIVERAY V60 gets impressively bright, at full power at 60W it is easily capable of lighting up a small room just on its own. For modeling work or blogs where the light will be close to the subject's face, you definitely will need to dial down the power settings. However, even down at one percent the light is still brighter than expected, it feels a little like the V60 goes from bright to very bright and it would be nice to see an even broader range of brightness available, starting dimmer at the lower end.
The light is diffused well by the plastic cover over the array of LED beads and provides a softer and more even spread of light than an unfiltered COB LED light. However, the light is still directional and can cause some harsh shadowing if used too close to the subject, which is something to be aware of for anyone who might want to invest in an additional softbox or scrim. The V60 can be bought in a combo bundle that includes an additional diffuser and barn doors, although I don't have these to test for this review. Luckily the light is powerful enough to bounce off surfaces for a more even spread.
The V60 has several lighting effects such as siren, candle, and TV effects, which are incredibly useful and work very well. Although I would criticize the FX patterns as being too repetitive, for example, the lightning effect is the same "bolt of lightning" the same distance apart each time. It would be nice for the effects to be a little more randomly spaced. There is also a music mode that flashes the light to the beat of the music, it doesn't match the beat flawlessly, but it is very close and it looks very cool.
The fans on the FIVERAY V60 are quiet, I had to listen closely to hear that they were even on, and they definitely won't interfere with audio recording in anything except the very quietest of environments. They do a great job at keeping the light cool, which is essential as the light spends so much time being handheld. I used the light for long periods, and while the head of the light heated up, it didn't make me concerned about accidentally touching it.
New for the latest round of Zhiyun lights is a boosted max power mode. Plugging the light into its included DC adapter or a 100W USB-C charger allows the light to be boosted from 60W to 100W. This feature sounds slightly more exciting than it is in reality, and the difference between battery power and max power didn’t instantly blow me away, but it is a noticeable bump in lighting power and a neat feature, especially if you plan to use the light plugged in a lot anyway then you're getting extra power thrown in.
Battery life on the V60 is decent, at low brightness, and I am content with the amount of time I'm getting out of it, I have been using it at under fifty percent as the light is more than bright enough for my needs at those levels, and this is giving me an hour or more of juice depending on the brightness and temperature.
Zhiyun quotes just 24 minutes of continued operation at 100% brightness and 4200k, but in my testing, I was getting around 31 minutes at the same settings. The battery does have an odd quirk of draining the first bar (out of four) almost instantly and hanging on the final bar for more time than the three other bars put together, which makes it really hard to gauge just how much time you have left.
ZHIYUN FIVERAY V60: Verdict
Battery-powered and with impressive longevity, the V60 is simple to set up and control, you can easily put the light in previously inaccessible places and become even more creative with your shots. The V60 is bright enough to light up a substantial space down to a blogging studio, and variable color temperatures can match any environment. Music sync mode and lighting effects, especially when controlled via the Zhiyun app are one of the simplest ways to step up your storytelling.
The V60 is let down a little by loose control knobs that don't offer enough resistance to accidental or precise turns. The Max boosted power mode is also a useful addition, but this is first and foremost a portable light, and it just won't also be worth the hassle of carrying the DC adapter and finding an outlet for many.
However, the Zhiyun FIVERAY V60 is one of the least complicated ways to instantly improve the lighting in your photos or videos and is well worth adding to your kit bag.