Tag Archives: z96 led light

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[Update on this Article - Buyers Must Read]

Thanks to Serge for posting up this comparison between what is being advertised as the 'Z96 Upgrade' a.k.a W96. This little verified 'clone' fails to meet the standards of the real F&V Z96 LED light, and tries to ride the coat tails. In fact, there's a few of these popping up lately, so if it's not official F&V, then it's a no-go. He's got a bit of a write up about this W96 over at his blog found here. Looks like we can all scratch that one off of the options list... [Thanks Serge].

[Update] Seller wants a 'Make Good'. Check the comments from tonyzhang1983@live.cn. If you purchased one of these lights and are unsatisfied, holler back. Honestly, I suggest you do this through eBay Messaging from the person you bought this from. Looks like you could get a different version or a revised version of the light with hopefully less flaws. Looks like the blog has got some pull, hopefully it works out for those who already purchased one of these. Heck the worst case scenario is you end up with two of these lights...

Here's the latest update, and I would encourage you to do so. Regardless of who you purchased the light from, I suggest just giving FULL NEGATIVE feedback on this item unless they refund you. The seller should be responsible for also paying for return shipping. If they refuse, you should give Negative feedback on the item (without shipping the item back). Let them know that the light they are selling is not a Z96 upgrade and was falsely advertised as so. One recent comment mentioned that they were refunded fully without shipping the item back. (comments are frequently updated - check comments)

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Since I mentioned I had the 352 LED Ring light, I've had a few questions about it. So before walking out the door I took a few pics of what diffusion would look like with the LED ring light and compared it against the popular Z96 LED. This is not a test of color temperature, this is just a test on diffusion of the ring light. Settings on the camera were at 1/80th F/4 ISO 640. Keeping these settings, you can see how much more or less light there is compared to each other.

As a standard I first started out with the Z96 about 3 feet away from the subject. The subject (Yoda) was about 3ft. away from the white background. You can see the coverage of the light in the full image. In the closeup photo, you can see how much shadow the light casts along with how much diffusion there is around the face.

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Next is the 352 LED Ring light. I have this light powered up from my 12v battery that came with the 183 LED light. Besides outputting much brighter light, you can see how much more area of coverage this light has over the Z96. The light is also very well diffused around the face with soft shadows that wrap around the subject.

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So how well does this light work? It works great, but it requires an AC outlet or 12V battery pack. Even though this ring light is dimmable, it's a very bright source of light that might be uncomfortable for your subject to stare at directly. If you're not working with people then it's a great LED ring that provides very soft even lighting. So to be fair, this should be considered more of an option to the 500 LED panel over an on-camera LED light (even though it can be an on-camera light).

The light itself is extremely light-weight made mostly of plastic. There is an OFF/ON switch as well as a dimmer knob. There are no filters provided with this ring light. If it's too bright for your subject, you could put it off to the side with a light stand. Carry a few and it can serve as a portable lighting kit great for traveling interviews. The options already built in to run on AC power or through a 12V power source make it more flexible than a 500 LED without added cost (batteries not included). This would easily run on a portable jumper battery with built in Cigarette lighter adapter (like the one I have). Long lasting 12V rechargeables are easy to come by. You can even use the batteries from 'Power Wheels' kids electric cars found at Toys-R-Us.

Considering the price. The 352 LED Ring light is about the same price as the popular 500 LED panels. The Ring light also cannot produce the same amount of brightness as the 500 LED panel, but if weight and size is a concern, this Ring Light cuts that inconvenience down to half. Besides being smaller and lighter than a 500 LED, it can be mounted with your camera for mobile use (something you can't do with a 500 LED). Price might seem high when comparing LED count, but for some traveling types it might justify the cost. You can pack several of these into Airplane carry on luggage as opposed to one single 500 LED light panel.

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find-price-button 352 LED Ring Light with 12V input AC Adapter for Video

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Half of you may have already seen Vimeo member Frank Glencairn's cheap LED Shootout video (Above), but for those who are still asking questions, this might be a good jumping off point. Frank runs through the CN-126 LED, Z96, and Yongnuo's 135 & 160 LED light. As a baseline for a good lighting example he throws in the LitePanels Micro into the bunch, but this is far from a cheap LED Video light.

Obvious pros and cons for each light, one being that none of the tungsten filters that were provided actually worked well as real balanced tungsten color. Since the Yongnuo's don't provide this, I guess that doesn't make it such a deal breaker. You'll have to work with proper gels regardless of the light you decide on. The video was done with an HVX200 so keep in mind that DSLR's may achieve better results with a bit of an ISO push. In any case, enjoy the video examples above on brightness, spotting, and diffusion. [Thanks Frank]

To save you a bit of reading, here's Frank's Verdict (from blog)

I´m a bit undecided. The NG 126 and the Litepanels Micro look outdated, compared to the newer lights. The Z96 has the best daylight balance and the nicest overall light, but the YONGNUO 160 is much more powerful. The YONGNUO 135 is somewhere in between them. Non of the provided Tungsten filters is usable IMHO with the exception of the one from Litepanels Micro. I use normal gels instead. Tricky lids, useless barndoors, mounting options, that are not exactly what you want on a professional set, are no deal breakers, but I hope they will be improved in the future. Some guys asked me to watchout for flicker. I had no flicker at all, unless the batteries getting weak, than they start to flicker.

If I have to choose one (and until I need a real strong light), I think I would go with the Z96, because of the superb light quality and it has a dimming wheel instead of that buttons.

- Frank Glencairn

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