First Look: Zhiyun Fiveray FR100C

In fishing parlance, if you have a love of all things gadgety, and can’t resist buying that new brightly coloured lure, the new gizmo to remove a fish hook or the latest contraption to help you tie a hook on without jamming the point through your finger, then there is a name for you.

A Tackle Rat.

I wonder if there should be such a title for the same sort of folk who inhabit the film and video making world?

A Gadget Junkie? Think of a name and I’ll work out a suitable prize for the best one. Let me know at david@auscamonline.com.

But we all love a good gadget, and the latest to cross my desk is yet another product from Zhiyun called a Fiveray, also known by the not so sexy moniker FR100C.

Fiveray is a high powered and very portable LED fill light that comes chock full of party tricks and is a great tool for those who film live interviews or do still photography especially. It also makes a pretty damn good camping light just quietly, although it is NOT waterproof but it rated IP20., in other words, “the product is touchproof and will be resistant to dust or objects that are over 12mm in size. However, it has no protection whatsoever against liquids and will be susceptible to damage if it comes into contact with sprays of water”.

The Fiveray is powered by an internal Lithium battery and rechargeable by either USB-C or external 24v / 5A power supply. (This is an optional extra).

There are sadly no real figures given as to battery life under different conditions as with so many possibilities under so many potential circumstances, any indications would be wildly wrong in reality. All the manual tells us is that under maximum power you’ll get around 31 minutes.

Now that may seem like a copout, but when you discover the full potential of the Fiveray, you’ll see what I mean. So a complete physical description is in order.

Description

The Fiveray is about ½ metre long and 50mm on each side and has a solid feel about it weighing in at almost 1Kg.

The body on one side is dominated by a frosted white lens-cum-light shade and on the other by no less than 6 cooling fans.

On the fan side and below them (with the Fiveray in the vertical orientation that is), is a control panel made up of a small, coloured LED screen and rotary switch with a central on/off switch. On the side next to the control panel are the pair of charging ports. And on the bottom, a standard ¼” threaded hole for light stand or tripod mounting.

Controls

Everything can be controlled from the combination on/off and rotary switch. And by everything, that means a LOT of things, thus showing of the versatility of the Fiveray.

Surrounding the rotary switch are four small labels – DIM, MAX, CCT and HIS. Taking these one by one:

DIM: A single press of the DIM button allows you to enter the brightness adjustment interface, also known as CCT mode. Here you can then switch between Brightness and Colour Temperature.

HSI:  Again, a single press enters the HSI full colour mode interface and here you are able to switch between Hue, Saturation and the Full Colour Interface.

MAX: This just does one thing – switches between the maximum power mode on or off, and that is a whopping 20708LUX!

CCT: A single press enters the colour temperature interface where you may switch between Brightness and Colour Temperature. The Colour temperature range is 2700K to 6200K.

In every process, the LED screen informs you of what mode you are in and the current settings as they change as well as the current battery level.

Usage

Okay, technical specifications and guff are all very well, but where can the Fiveray pay for itself?

I can think of a number oof places where having control over light such as this useful, especially in portrait and product photography for example. Being portable means you are not bound to a studio and 240v power. And with Power Stations being so affordable these days, carrying top up power around is not an issue anymore.

It can also be used for background lighting, with the options of different colours easily accessible letting you experiment quickly with different colurs and brightness to get just the “right look” – for still photography or video.

Something I did not think off until I saw it on the Zhiyun website was that with the ¼” thread, it is potentially easy to mount the Fiveray to a gimbal and using long shutter times and exposure, you have a fabulous way of “light painting”.

There are brighter people than me – pardon the pun – who much more understand lighting than I, and I am sure they will think of a myriad more ways it can be used.

Fiveray retails for AUD$399 for the base unit at AUD$499 for the “Combo” which also ships with a a240v charger, USB-C Cable and carry case.

Conclusion

I am very much looking forward to having a serious play with this under a variety of circumstances. I can see many, many uses for the areas I dip my toes into the water with, and the Fiveray is already one of those few items I think you should keep with your base camera / camcorder kit at all times.

If I had one criticism at this stage, it is simply this is definitely a product screaming out for an app to drive it from a smartphone. Fiveray v2 perhaps, or maybe there is Bluetooth embedded and a firmware upgrade may pop that into existence sometime in the future?

Speaking of firmware upgrades, to upgrade the Fiveray with any new updates (always wise to check out of the box), it uses the same firmware upgrade tool that Zhiyun gimbals use.

For more information and to purchase, go to https://www.zhiyun-tech.com/en/product/detail/628

PS: It also comes in white.

PPS: Zhiyun has JUST announced a giveaway!

NEW RELEASE GIVEAWAY

Fiveray Light Stick * 5 for lucky winners!

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