Tag Archives: z96


F&V. Heard the name before? Probably something you don't think about, but this is the same company that makes the very popular Z96 LED Video light. Looks like they now have a 7" 800 x 480 LCD monitor to add to their lineup of DSLR related gear, and calling it the 'F1'. The 800x480 resolution is pretty typical for most monitors under $700 dollars, and don't get that resolution confused with the 'up to 1080' specs for small LCD monitors. Most of the time this just means it can accept the signal and scale it properly. Does not appear to have false color exposure, or any focus peaking features.

What's in the package?
# F&V F1 7" 16:9 Portable LED Backlight HD Monitor
# PVC Sunhood
# DC power connection cord
# Sony DV battery Plate Adapter
# Standard to mini HDMI cable
# IR Remote
# Pan/Tilt Head

Even though F&V has had much success on the Z96 LED light, there's plenty of other LCD monitors available, and this could be a really tough market to penetrate. Always good to know your options, and what's out there. You should be able to find this 7" LCD as well as others following the jump below.

find-price-button 7" LCD HDMI Monitors for DSLRs


Sure there's a ton of posts on this blog all about cheap gear, but it's been hard for me to show them in use. (Sorry guys, if you only knew what I do outside of this blog.) But i'm trying harder to do better, and you probably noticed that i've been working more closely with some friends to show more of how these things work out and samples of what can be achieved. Here's another piece put together by the guys to showcase how adding small lights can set the mood or tone in a scene. This small little sample piece is called 'The Boss'.

A single 500 LED Video Light Panel was set for the rim light behind 'The Boss', a Z96 was taped into a cheap reflector to throw the cliche downward spotlight, and a few Z96's were adding rim lights to the victim. Why not use all the latest LED panels that I just purchased? Well that's a different set of lights for about twice the budget. These will work just fine for someone looking to get into basic LED Video Lights. There will be another video piece shot with the new 900 LED panels that I have pretty soon, hang tight. For now, I thought it would be a good way to show that these lights are still great products including the little Z96 LED lights. The 1000 LED Video Light was used outdoors to add light through small windows on the garage, and then mainly for the scene in the end to purposely cast shadows.

find-price-button 500 LED video light panel

find-price-button Z96 Dimmable LED Video Lights

find-price-button 1000 LED dimmable Video Light Panel



Remember the batteries I threw together for my Flying Ring Light? Turns out the Z96 uses the same connector as my 352 LED Ring Light. I think i'll stop by Radio Shack to get an exact part number and size on the fitting that's being used so that other people can make a DIY battery pack that will probably run this light for a full day...


Some people have commented about flickering from a Z96 LED video light. This has to do with battery voltage, especially when the batteries run low. I've had plenty of success with my Eneloops and haven't noticed any flickering until they drain out. This time YouTube member Luca throws together a battery and flicker test with the Z96 using a Sony battery. Results look pretty good, and the price for batteries + charger is not too shabby. [Thanks Luca].

Screen shot 2011-02-06 at 9.02.58 AM
find-price-button (2) Sony Batteries Plus Charger for Z96



I can't believe how much talk is going on just on LED lighting. In any case, just to throw in more confusion, here's a quick snapshot of what I'm going to put together as my own test. For this, i've hired a Jedi Master. Aside from the 500 LED video light panel, these smaller LED lights aren't typically used for 3 point lighting setups (although I believe they can work for small setups). The 500 LED is in there as my baseline of light quality since it's become so popular and you'll get to see how much these tiny lights compete to the larger level.

So my test will just be flat on, lighting at about eye level, with the subject about 2ft. from a backdrop. This is typically what you would do if you're mounting these small lights to the hot shoe of your camera. This will be a basic test just to see what the diffusion is like from a subject and the differences in color temperature. Unfortunately i'm guessing my subject may have a slightly green tint (sshh..he's quite sensitive about this matter), you'll be able to tell from the white backdrop. Anyways, it's a one man show in here, so i'll try to get this going...

Also not shown in the image, I might throw in the 183 LED light into the mix. By the way, I haven't had time to blog it, but i'm also throwing in the 352 LED Ring Light (second from left). Not much has been said about this light on the Internet, it's quite expensive, but it should be an exciting test to throw in to compare what a ring light can really do.


FL-Ring-Light-Diva-Lite (5 of 15)

Curiosity is probably my biggest downfall, and I end up buying and testing tons of random products. Some make it on the blog, some aren't even worth mentioning. I'm busy getting back into the swing of things after CES set me back, but here's another interesting product I decided to test out and happy to say it's made it this far. These are the Ring Lights that Serge was sharing through the comments of this blog. I did a little diggin' and it seemed to be a solid product with good reviews, so I decided to give it a shot. Now as far as Ring Lights go, there is a cliche way of using them to get that unique catch light reflection in a subjects eyes. I'm all set with that from my DIY Ring Light project, so it's really not what I intended to use them for.

FL-Ring-Light-Diva-Lite (4 of 15)
(Above) Popular Z96 LED Video Light

Since ring lights provide a very broad soft light source, I was curious to see what the quality of diffusion and light power output these guys had. Mainly to see if these can be used for interviews and on location use. Just to give everyone a baseline, i've compared it with the very popular Z96 LED light that everyone loves. As you all know, the Z96 itself provides a broad and fairly even light output.

LED type lighting can be very powerful at close range and very directional. As you can see from the images below, the Z96 is very directional and has high output in the center, but was not nearly as diffused as the Ring Light. (This is not a comparison between the two, this is merely showing you the difference in light output.) By the way this is shot at 1/60th F/3.5 and only ISO 200. I underexposed the image to show the diffusion properties.

FL-Ring-Light-Diva-Lite (1 of 15)

FL-Ring-Light-Diva-Lite (2 of 15)

With my camera at the same distance and with the same settings, here's how much diffusion two Ring Lights can provide for your video or photography. (below)
FL-Ring-Light-Diva-Lite (3 of 15)

Build quality is very nice and the entire unit is extremely lightweight. The big square at the bottom is where the ballast lives (CFL's need this), and it also comes with a set of fuses.
FL-Ring-Light-Diva-Lite (9 of 15)

The included bracket is designed to hold a camera in the center of the ring, and is adjustable. The bracket is lightweight aluminum with a tapped hole at the bottom. The bracket is ok, but the tapped hole pretty much sucks and is completely useless. I'll have to make my own mount if I choose to use this bracket and one of the simple ideas is to just drill and tap in a new steel insert.

FL-Ring-Light-Diva-Lite (11 of 15)
FL-Ring-Light-Diva-Lite (6 of 15)FL-Ring-Light-Diva-Lite (7 of 15)

FL-Ring-Light-Diva-Lite (15 of 15)
(Above) Using Power Friction Arms on Light Stand

FL-Ring-Light-Diva-Lite (8 of 15)

The bulbs are labeled at 5400k and throws very soft even lighting. As you can see from the next set of images (below) I shot this product using two ring lights and the camera set to 1/125th @ F/6.3. Yeah that camera setting would normally block out quite a bit of light, but these lights handled very well with near shadowless lighting.

FL-Ring-Light-Diva-Lite-Tokina (1 of 1)
FL-Ring-Light-Diva-Lite (14 of 15)

As you can see, they diffuse light much better than LED video lights. They are also cheaper than LED panels and extremely lightweight, but definitely much more fragile. As nice as portable LED video lights go, there's also been many complaints of close up lighting situations. LED lighting is harder to diffuse if you're working with close range subjects, so these types of ring lights would better serve in those situations.

Unfortunately CFL type lighting such as these aren't normally dimmable. You get on / off and no in between. A small sheet of diffusion paper would be no problem cutting the output though since these types of lights generate almost no heat. No heat is another advantage to be used in very close range to any subject and still provide a very soft even diffused light source without bulky softboxes or any type of light modifiers. Yes they can be used with real people and would be great for interviews.

Ring Light Example 1/60th F/3.5 ISO 400

I saw no noticeable flicker using these lights in video or in photos. I even tested this with my shutter speed up to 1/4000ths. There are smaller versions of this type of light that are a bit cheaper, but I have to say the 300w ones I got would be of more use to videographers. If you do decide to try the smaller versions, there are some bundles that come with battery packs. I ended up choosing the 300w versions, which have no bundles with a battery pack. For myself though, these 300w lights worked fine with my personal portable $99 dollar battery.

So what's my take on these? I like them alot. They would be very easy to travel with and since they are very lightweight, the light stands needed to hold them need only be lightweight too. I'll definitely be using these for situations that require close lighting. A great use would be for close up product video demos on this blog and clean shadowless product photography.

find-price-button 150w, 300w, 500w CFL Ring Light for Video and Photography

My version is listed at 40w. The largest version of this ring light can be found here at a claimed 65w:
find-price-button Stellar Diva Ring Light 65w Fluorescent Video Lighting

1 Comment

click image to buy from BHPHOTOVIDEO.com

Well i'm sold on the Transcend 400x cards I just received last week. I purchased (4) 32GB cards with next day air because I knew I would need the space. I was only supposed to test these out, but this was a lifesaver, as I ran super low on available disk space and fell back onto these for all three days. They all performed without a hiccup, fast and reliable. I shot, dumped, formatted, shot dumped formatted, shot dumped formatted all three different days and they all still performed without a problem.

click to find Z96 Dimmable DSLR Video Light

Another piece of gear that performed pefectly was that Z96 Dimmable DSLR LED Video light. I'm still getting quite a bit of questions about it on each event. It's still so new I guess and not many people are seeing these in use. There was a photographer on site trying to get a decent shot of a beautiful wedding cake, but the flash wasn't really giving the best look with the dark ambient. With two LED light panels positioned high on each side, the photographer was able to shoot with a decent ISO giving a more natural look to the cake. Another good example of using these Z96 LED Video lights over flash, especially since these high end DSLR's do much better with ISO noise. You couple that with the new Noise Reduction filters on Lightroom 3 and you've got a better natural image than that of with flash. One set of Sanyo Eneloop Rechargeable batteries in these Z96's are all it takes for a full day of shooting.


click to find Z96 Dimmable DSLR Video Light

Good news for those who are looking to start making a 2x2 LED light panel (four total lights) with the Z96 Dimmable LED DSLR Video lights. New auctions at the eBay store are showing for this purpose while shaving a few dollars off the complete set. Of course, It makes total sense to sell them in these bundles since one of the biggest marketing features is that they can be stacked together to create a larger softer light source. Where was this before?

After my weekend of use with mine, a 2x2 light panel is something i'm going to build, who knows maybe a 3x3 or even a 4x4 would be nice. I've found ways not only to use them for video but for photography as well. Not only used in a dim lit area, but also in daylight as fill.

Note: By default they have clips molded only on the sides of the LED light which appears they can only be stacked horizontally. Myself as well as another reader here didn't poke through the box enough to find special 'Vertical' clips and losing it. So if you receive these items, don't get too excited and start pulling pieces out without looking for this special Vertical clip to give you a nice portable 4 x 4 completely battery powered LED light panel.

4 pcs. Z96 Dimmable LED DSLR Video Light


Quick over view of what to expect from the Z96 Dimmable DSLR LED Video light that everyone is raving about. As of now, since it's fairly new, it might run you about $20 dollars more than the 126 LED lights. I personally think that $20 dollar difference is well worth it, considering you'd be buying a $400 dollar unit similar to this from the brand names.

The Z96 carries many of the same features that make the 126 very popular. Dimmable lighting, multiple battery sources, LED technology, and cheap cheap cheap. Originally LED video lights were hitting the streets for over $400 dollars, so even thought this is NOT as cheap as the 126, it's still a bargain you can't complain about.

It's smaller, but feels more solid than the 126 LED video light. Smaller is nicer since it doesn't take up bag space. Too much spotlight is offending to your subject, so it's very nice that the LED's on the Z96 (even without the diffusion panel) work better than the 126 LED. The adjustable shoe mount neck is a much better design as well. Not as tall, but definitely solid enough to keep from adjusting off position. I like everything about the Z96 and the additional price I feel is well worth it. The 126 has been a solid performer for me and I currently own 3 of them still in use today. I haven't thrown the Z96 around as much so we'll have to hear about the long term durability. For now when i'm ready to work, this Z96 is the one LED video light i'll always grab first.

Note:If there are clones of real products, it's not uncommon to see a 'Clone' of a 'Clone'. We see this already with Battery grips. Mine is solid quality, fast shipping, great price. Here's the seller you should be buying from if you're considering purchasing the Z96 Dimmable LED DSLR Video Light.

find-price-button Z96 Dimmable DSLR Video Light

[Update] Other links if the top one doesn't work Click here for Z96 Video LED Light