Zhiyun has become one of the go-to brands for the best camera gimbals and best phone gimbals. Recently Zhiyun has expanded its video range to include a range of LED lights, from the pocketable yet powerful Fiveray M40, to light sticks such as the Fiveray F100.
Zhiyun has expanded its video lighting range to include two new models of COB (chip-on-board) – the most powerful being the new Zhiyun MOLUS X100.
An LED COB video light consists of multiple LED chips mounted closely together on a single circuit board to create a powerful, uniform light source. The COB design allows for a higher level of brightness and color accuracy compared to traditional LED lights. These lights are also typically lightweight, compact, and energy-efficient, making them a popular choice for portable and studio setups.
With a lot of options for the best video lights, how does the Zhiyun MOLUS X100 compare?
Output Power: 100W
Cooling Method: DynaVort Active Cooling
Color Temperature: 2700K~6500K
Brightness Adjustment Range: 0~100%
Illuminance In 4300K/100% Brightness (1 meter): 3881 Lux
Power Supply Method: PD adapter, power adapter, grip battery
Power Adapter Operation Voltage: 100V~240V
PD Input Power: ≥18W
Extension: 1/4 General Threaded Hole
Size (WxDxH): 144.5 x 94 x 36.1 mm
Battery Grip (optional)
PD Charging Time: 2H33MIN
Runtime (maximum power): 30min
Size: 52.8 x 94 x 61 mm
The Zhiyun MOLUS X100 is a larger and flatter design than its little brother the G60, although still manages to remain highly portable, weighing in at only 385g. As the name suggests the Molus X100 manages to deliver a massive 100W of lighting power from its compact form factor.
The X100 operates at a color temperature range between 2700K-6500K, with a color rendering index (CRI) of ≥95 and a Television Light Consistency Index (TLCI) of ≥97. The light's brightness and color temperature can be easily adjusted using Bluetooth on the connected ZY Vega app or using on-device manual control dials located on the side of the light.
The new Zhiyun NY Vega companion app can wirelessly control both the X100 and other lights from Zhiyun. The app enables complete control over individual lights or selected groups of lighting with minimal effort. The X100, using the ZY app, also offers a music mode that will sync the light to changing music or sound effects for wider creative filmmaking opportunities.
There are three ways to power the Molus X100, either using the included DC adapter, using the 100W PD USB-C power port, or attaching the optional battery grip available as a bundle or a standalone purchase.
Both new lights feature Zhiyun's DynaVort cooling system which has been used in its previous lights and was well received by our reviewers. DynaVort uses a gyroscope-modeled heat sink and a FOC fan to prevent overheating, based on a fluid dynamics and attitude control algorithm, the technology significantly increases cooling efficiency by more smartly controlling airflow through the light. This creates a consistent light source with no flickering or cool-down periods.
Build & Handling
Let's start with aesthetics, I personally think that the X100 looks awesome, looks are subjective, and although I am sure it is not to everyone’s tastes, I think it looks very modern and cool, if you turned up to a shoot with this light, then people would be impressed. Some may enjoy the more traditional tube or box style or round dishes like a Rotolight, but these MOLUS lights from Zhiyun stand out from the crowd.
The build quality is top-notch, it feels and looks very premium, with a mix of metal parts covered with a translucent plastic shell reminiscent of a 90s GameBoy. The dials for the brightness and color temperature are on the side of the body and feel solid, with a nice click to them as you turn them, they also click in to cycle between three quick settings. This fast cycling is fairly essential, as the X100 does require you to turn the dials far more than necessary to change settings manually.
The light is incredibly compact when run from mains power, and weighs only 385g, so can easily be carried around on a boom arm for long periods. It also just feels less ‘in the way’ when on set, I didn’t find it as much of an obstacle as other lights, and it can easily just be moved from place to place. The light can also fit into tighter spaces with its small flat design, although that does restrict air circulation and increases the heat, so be careful.
When the optional battery is added it does add some considerable size and weight, but it is still plenty portable. The battery doubles as a decent grip for moving the light around, as without the battery there is not much to hold on to without getting your fingers too close to hot parts of the light.
One of the best things about the X100 is its ability to be powered by a 100W USB-C PD cable, however, a big caveat is that 100W PD USB-C is nearly impossible to find. On Amazon at the time of writing, there is only a couple of reputable GaN plugs that can provide a 100W or more from one port (with many rated for 100W or more splitting their power over several ports). The X100 can be used at a lower max brightness with less power, however, this was a bit hit and miss, with my MacBook charger unable to power the X100, but I had more luck with a GaN wall charger rated 65W that managed to get 60% brightness. 100W PD USB-C may be more useful going into the future than it is today.
The X100 can get quite hot during use, the DynaVort fan does a good job at dissipating a lot of the heat, but with 100W of power in a small form factor, there is only so much that can be done, so use it with some caution. The light cools down quite quickly after it is turned off, but you will still have to leave it for some time before it is safe to return it to its case. The X100 is not an exception, with most LED lights getting warm, but larger lights have more space to expel their excess heat, so tend to cool quicker than this little Zhiyun.
The optional accessories for the X100 are really great quality, the light comes with a small reflector as standard, however, there are also larger diffused reflectors, mini softboxes as well as Bowens mount adapters available in kit bundles or separate purchases. The accessories use Zhiyun’s own ZY mount, which is simple to use and has a secure lock and release system, however, it is not obvious where to line up the accessory when attaching it, which leads to a bit of awkward fumbling while you attempt to click it in place, a much more obvious starting arrow would be appreciated.
The 100W power offers a total of 3881 Lux without the included reflector, and 17317 Lux with the Zhiyun Mini Reflector, which is impressive for a device of its size. This level of power will easily be enough for most content creation situations in close to mid-sized distances. In my small studio setup where I tested the light, the power at full brightness was simply too much.
The light with just the reflector is also very direct, which depending on what you are using it for can be unflattering. When testing on product shots and on my model, it created a quite harsh shadowing. I was provided with the optional softbox and other light shaping tools that can be bought alongside the X100, and the softbox (my usual go-to modifier) provided enough diffusion to soften the light to a pleasing level. There is also an optional Bowens mount adapter, with an umbrella hole, for using existing light modifiers.
The color temperature ranges from 2700K to 6500K, which is enough to portray natural light at all hours of the day. The color accuracy seems to be spot on, the light is rated at a ≥95 CRI, and I couldn’t notice any discernible hues on my footage.
The new Zhiyun ZY Vega app is very good, although slightly bare-bones. I tested the app on Android and I was very easily able to set up the X100 on the app in just a few simple taps, the light connected via Bluetooth instantly, and I was quickly able to update the firmware wirelessly. Controlling lighting is simple with the option to group lights together or control each individually using a brightness slider.
The light also has a music mode that has limited success, the light should flash in time to music, and it did almost flash on beat, but not to the point where I would actually use it. It would also be great if it pulsed and dimmed as well as flashing to give a bit more variety and usefulness. I also had to turn my music quite loud to get it to work, so apologies to my neighbors.
It is a shame that the X100 does not offer any RGB colors, the light can of course use gels to offer additional colors, but this is not as accurate or consistent as using colored LEDs. It is also unfortunate that the X100 doesn’t have any lighting effects, beyond the music mode, with most LED lights offering modes for lightning, watching TV, and more. Zhiyun offers a range of color options and lighting effects in its FIVERAY F100 light stick, so I am surprised they didn’t offer it here.
The X100 is a revelation for content creators who move around a lot, this light is super compact and portable and can be set up almost anywhere in a flash (no pun intended). The 100W power is bright enough for most close to mid-distance situations such as talking to camera or a studio shoot, although it is a shame there are no lighting effects for a content creator aimed light. The light can get also quite warm, so you occasionally need to think a little about where you will place it, but the DynaVolt fan does a great job at keeping it cool. Cool features like PD USB-C, as well as a dedicated power supply offer improved versatility. If you choose to get the optional battery pack, then this makes it even easier to get great lighting on the go. The accessory system is well thought out, with great quality accessories from Zhiyun as well as a Bowens mount adapter. The Zhiyun MOLUS X100 is one of the most exciting new entries to video lighting.