Z96 Upgrade? More like ‘Down Grade’

[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 [email protected]. 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)

98 thoughts on “Z96 Upgrade? More like ‘Down Grade’

  1. Grok

    NOT buy Z96 from "yespainting" on ebay. Seller have a good rating, but sent clone of Z96. Product description is deceiving.

  2. jason francois

    Hello All.

    Just wanted to update you on my latest batch of w96s, since my first batch was a bust (one stopped working on a test shoot and the other one is still humming away and useless). I have to say that Darlene on ebay has been great. My understanding is that she/answers to Tony and that seems to be a good thing.

    I sent an email a few days ago asking for an update and immediately received a response stating that the lights were on the way. I was a bit skeptical, but all along have had low expectations as to how it worked out. Sure enough, two days later I get a knock at the door and there were the lights in the hand of my postman.

    I would be lying if I said I wasn't shocked. I also opened the box, expecting to see the same old light. Boy, was I wrong. What I found was a light that is very similar to the z96s except that the plastic seems to have some sort of soft-touch effect to it. It will probably add to the wear, but it does give a very tactile effect to the plastic casing and knobs and makes it feel even more quality than the original z96.

    Now, other than the darker, softer plastic and the LED indicator lights, I would be hard-pressed to tell them apart from the z96. The battery door sticks just like in the original z96, which I will take over the floppy door of the first w96.

    AND....NO HUMMMMM....that was the biggest thing to me. I get no audible humm and no surge of power when turning the light on.

    I have yet to test them long term, but when firing up the new light and the old z96, I can't tell, with my eyes, any difference in color temperature, brightness, etc.

    So, in short, the new w96 seems to have lived up to it's reboot, but if it's selling at the same price as the z96 I'm not sure it's worth more money to buy something that only adds a battery level indicator and some soft touch plastic.

    However, if the original z96s go the away, then I see no reason that these lights wouldn't substitute nicely. The only negatives are the same sticky battery door as on the z96 and the less than powerful magnets for holding on the diffusers.

    All that said, it doesn't even matter if these lights were worse than the z96s or much better, it's really the fact that we have a manufacturer that said they we're going to make it right and from my account have come really close.

    To TOny, I say a big "thank you" for living up to your word. You've really restored quite a bit of my belief in humanity. Most times if you take people at their word, you find yourself let down or taken advantage of. Not in this case. In this case Tony and his distributors have made things right and that is amazing. We'll see if the lights work well in the field and hold up quality wise, but just the fact that within 6 weeks of receiving a set of useless lights I have a new set of usable new ones that I didn't have to pay a penny more for, is amazing.

    I wish you the very best and if I find a deal like I received on these lights, I will buy more from you and I will also look for other products from you as well.

    Thanks Serge for bringing this all up in the first place and really making a statement with your tests and posts.



  3. Pingback:

    W96 LED Light Updates » CheesyCam

  4. Hi All dear customer,

    how are you!
    right now, the new version W96 LED light were ready.
    and all the name list who want a new version W96 LED light were completed.and I'm send the replacement new light to all of you, please be noted.
    I had sent the new version W96 LED light to Serge to test it, he feedback to me the NEW version W96 LED light is much better than the old one, and he will help me to take a video for the new light and update it in the forum, thank you Serge.
    by the way, Serge advised that the new light should be a little dim from the start when you turn it on, because he think sometime we use it just with little dim...good advice....we will optimize it.
    the NEW W96 LED light website is:


    the main upgrades:
    1, used the very good LED lamp.
    2, no flash when you power on, even when you power off, there is no flash, but HDV-Z96 has this problem.
    3, no humming noise when you use it
    4, changed the shell appearance with higher technics with rubber cover casing.
    5, used the metal body ball support holder, it will much stronger than the plastic one, Z96 use the plastic one.
    6, when you adjust the power, it won't sharply become bright, it will in full measure.
    7, less hot when you use it.

    if there is any other question, please contact with me.thank you!


  5. Tony

    Hi Dear customer,

    How are you!
    the new version LED light will be ready in 4 days.
    right now, I had total 10pcs new version LED light on hand, and sent 1pcs to Serge and another 6pcs to my other clients, right now, I also have 3pcs samples on hand, if any one also want the sample first, please email me, but I juat have 3pcs on hand,the one will get it who email me fastest.

    but please don't worry about it, the new version LED ligt mass product will be ready in 4 days. thanks!


  6. Shrigg

    I ordered from tony19825 and paid on July 21 and still have not receved anything. The ebay tracking number shows no info. My hope is that the new improved light is what will be sent but I'm starting to wonder.

  7. I purchased one of these lights "the z96 replacement" what a laugh, contacted the seller on e-bay and he said he would send a "replacement" will it be a z96 or another cheap knock off? Hopefully a better light will show up and I'll give him positive feed back, for now I'm waiting...

    Naturally I'm going on a one month trip and wanted the light for portable lighting...it pays to plan ahead, way ahead...

  8. Count Feedback

    Just got my pair of lights... Yep. You guys are dead-on!

    One light flashes, one doesn't. Magnets came off one of my filters immediately and I gotta admit the build feels delicate. They're very bright and seem to work best at the full setting. I just can't mount them close to my camera mic because of the hi-pitched whine (kinda like the sound of me writing this... lol).

    I contacted Tony last week and he was more than willing to send me replacements. He comes across as a guy who wants to get this right, so I'm willing to give him a second chance. Like others here I eagerly wait for version 2!

  9. @Joel P,

    I'm glad you're having better luck than I was.
    The led do seem stronger than the original Z96 at full power but seems finicky at other increments. I wouldn't trust it in a low setting as it can gradually start lowering on its own and your shots wont match from take to take.

    I had 2 people email me pics on my blog with complete greenish and amberish LEDs but at full power it was fine. so some are getting other than greenish leds. The update is supposed to be full white leds lets hope the know issue is fixed. Write Tony directly to get a response to your issues.

    The flash issue could be the cheap and none locking external battery compartment, since the door is real weak and the tabs dont hold the battery maybe that is what is causing the flash. Although it does happen to me even with AA batteries.

    The Z96 is very well made for a plastic using, I have dropped it many times on solid rocks in the mountain rolled down hills drops in the back of a 4x4 in the woods and although some scuffs here and there the Z96 continue to power as new, neever had LED flick on me even with all the banging, so not sure you really need a metal casing light for $300 when one under $80 can do the same job.

    Now if you need more than 96 LED's by all means then do look for something else. Emm has a lot of different LED models on here, just search for LED and all of them should come up.

  10. Nicholas


    I received my lights yesterday. Most of the same issues but I have the pop about every 4-5 time when I turn on the light.

    Super cheap feel. Had a magnet pull out of the filter when I took it off the light for the first time.

    I know in some of my previous post I was highly upset and so everyone is clear, I find CheesyCam to be a wonderful site. Absolutely have no issues with anyone running or posting on the site.

    With that all said, looking forward to the revision.

    Is there a company out there making metal, well built lights? Understanding price will be a lot higher, but would like to look into.

  11. Joel P

    I have received the two W96 lights I ordered and have done a little testing with them. Lensdude's report sounds pretty spot on with what I am seeing - although I didn't notice any smell...

    - I am not experiencing the "pop flash" when turning the unit on. I am using Sanyo Eneloop batteries and don't have any of the Sonys to try.
    - It takes about half a turn of the knob before the lights come on at all. Adjusting the brightness in increments is a little finicky but at full power, the light is very nice and bright.
    - At lower power I notice a faint but distinguishable greenish tint on about a quarter of the leds, in random placement. As it approaches full power the tint goes away or is simply washed out.
    - When on, there is a high pitched tone/hum that is audible within several inches of my ear. Might be an issue if mounted very close to a mic.
    - I don't have the original Z96 so I can't compare them but the build quality seems reasonable for the price paid (~$40+shipping). However, it's not metal and I certainly wouldn't want to drop it.
    - The magnets on the filters don't have "pockets" and are not designed to nest into each other as the Z96's apparently do but these don't seem like they are going anywhere without a significant impact.
    - Not sure I'd put much trust in the battery indicator (aka "the upgrade") as it seems a bit flaky/unreliable.
    - The ball head is cheap but basically functional.

    Overall, the light is quite usable but there are several small flaws/weaknesses. Had I seen Serge's review or had a chance to use one in person before purchasing, I likely would have passed on the W96 and opted for the Z96 or waited for something else to come along at a better price point.

  12. @Lensdude

    "The box smells of mothballs big time" lol! Very true I was going to state that but I would have just said it has a "shity" smell since that was the word of the day...

    I was going to compare it to the Original Z96 but was so upset at the quality I just wanted to run it by Emm right away. I tried mine with AA batteries and it still pops.

    Other people reported the issue too, Tony states that most do and some dont, but they already know what part was causing the issue. The original Z96 the filters are very thick and strong and you can have both at the same time.

    I agree that this unit is super bright, the green does go away at the maximum power and it might be harsher than the original but I think that's because the wheel does not increase in increments correctly since you have to spin it more than half way for it to start...

    By the time you do get light casting out its at a stronger output than where it needs to be. Tony has replaced the upcoming ball head with an all metal one which is cool the ball head was not really the issue. they have also replaced the silver reflector with an oiled reflector since the current one is some soft of silver spray paint.

    Hopefully we will have them in the next 3 weeks.

    I'm glad you're able to use them to your advantage, contact tony directly and let him know whats up and what you would like to receive in return the refund or the exchange.

  13. Lensdude

    Quick update...

    I received my light today. Same gold and black box as shown in Serge's review video.

    My Findings:

    * The box smells of mothballs big time. My dog ran away while I was opening the box.

    * When the unit is turned off the LEDs have a visible green cast.

    * My battery door does not seem as bad as Serge's.

    * Overall the plastic construction seems quite cheap.

    * My unit does NOT give that annoying pop as described by Serge. This is the major difference between Serge's sample and mine.

    * The light only begins to power on about halfway on the circular dial.

    * There is a slight hum noise when you bring your ear close to the light.

    * The light does seem pretty bright at full power.

    * Not sure how accurate the battery/power level is?

    * I plugged in a 6V DC power adaptor and it worked fine. I have tried AA batteries and it works fine. I do not own any of the Sony batteries. The light takes 5 AA batteries which is really awkward when buying batteries? Batteries come packaged in even numbers.

    * The individual filters stay on ok. Not sure If I would stack them. But the included amber filter is really a heavy color?

    * While not as bad as Serge's my little ballhead clamp does not tighten that well.

    * The English instruction manual is classic bad Chinese to English translation.

    I was going to try meter the color as I own a pro Minolta Color Meter but the 9V battery needs to be replaced first. Once I know the color I think I use my own section of gel to correct any cast produced at full power.

    Overall if feels like a cheap Chinese made light. Its not quite as bad as I expected, but it does seem to fall short on its promises (or my hopes.) I have not used the original W96 light so I can't compare them. But this thing does put out a reasonable amount of light. I paid around $40 for mine plus shipping for a total of around $52. I sort of feel like I overpaid but I think I can still use this in my bag. I am interested in getting any improved model if that could be worked out. I like Serge's karma point aspect to this though. I am not going to ask for a full refund while keeping this light. I would be interested in a deal on any upgrade, etc. The guy that made these lights seems interested in making this right for people while improving on the design and build quality. This is a smart business plan really. Hopefully this will all work out for all concerned...


  14. Hi Dear customer,

    How are you!
    first, I admit some of my previous W96 LED light has a little blemish on it, it's my LED light problem
    if you need the refund, sure, I agree, but even there is a little blemish on it, it means it's useless, you also can use it on other place, do you think so? so how about half refund?
    by the way, we are working on the new version W96 LED light, if you like, I will resend the new version to you in 3 weeks, how about your comments?

  15. @sfbay.jon

    Thank you for the kind words.
    I too felt awkward after seeing the amount of worrying my review cause Tony.
    My review was to help people stay away and invest in other lights, not inform people to keep the light and steal his funds.
    Sure, at one point I too felt as if he was taking us for a ride and was attempting to lure us in with a bait and switch move so that our time to make a claim would run out. But I failed at the never judge a book by its cover part and I judged him on his slow (12 hours the other side of the world) and lack or understandable English replies.
    He was being sincere in trying to communicate with us but when that was not being taken seriously, He then out of desperation started granting everyone a refund and not ask for his rightful product back in order to keep everyone happy... which is great for customer service and satisfaction but not wise at all as those who would not care for the mentions in the video would have notice just started to take advantage.
    Our "Wolf" was really a lamb and our "lambs" turn on him like wolfs.
    All we can do is wait on Light 2.0 and hope it’s better or go for these current ones at a discounted price.
    Contact him directly.

    @jason francois,

    Thanks to you for being the one in the whole post who maintained at a non-bias stance. I think this was an honest mistake as he claims he was just putting then out there to see how well they did for the price, I don’t think anyone tries to sell you semi green tinted LED to take advantage of you semi green tinted LED exist because people have use for them… I think the mistake was just naming these lights an UPGRADE, but I guess if adding a battery indicator on something that did not have one before is an upgrade then he was being fair...

    (By the way: These lights do good when at full power the green does go away)
    When I made the video I never thought someone would come to the W96 rescue since so many people were selling them on ebay. I just wanted people to be aware and let them decide what to choose on their own, my “I WOULD NOT RECOMMEND THEM” statement in the video should have no concrete decision making power on what people choose to do.
    I believe if he was scamming someone he would just cover his sales, but he has actually covered everyone who is selling them out there. I just really hope he does come out with his second unit in time and that these refunds do not break his pocket or the opportunity to build better lights and prove his point of honesty and better gear. If he comes through I bet he will sell a lot more than what he expected.
    He keeps replying that it is his fault and for it he must pay the price, as some sort of samurai honor, and I don’t think it’s fair to the extent where he should have to lose funds for one review. People still go see bad movies, eat at bad places and buy electronics and music with bad reviews. My findings should not affect everyone.
    I think he deserves to be paid or returned the item to so he can resell them at a more economical price, or just ask for half the price right now instead of granting the hungry lions…
    I also feel that if someone wants the replacement it should only be fair they send him something to cover the shipping cost of the new one since most are already keeping the “Not to par” one.
    Selfish people could cause his future better product not to hit the market which will actually provide us with better deals.
    Karma could cause all the greedy ones to go out on a one in a life time important shoot with the lights they took from him and fail miserably at capturing what they were set out to do.
    Never fill your belly with stolen honey as sweet as it might taste… You to cholera taste much sweeter.
    I don’t wish ill will on anyone and trust me as you guys have read above early on, I too was up there with you on the “Hmmm smells like rip off to me” department but I did not take advantage…
    So once again jason francois, thank you for reminding us how we should have a bit of trust in people even if most do us wrong not all are out to suck us dry.


    My lights took a good 33 days to arrive but they did, I must have been one of the first ones to receive them since I have yet to find any information out there there, hence why I was quick to send the video to Emm.
    The tracking numbers from Asia tend to stay stuck and not updated. Yyour next update should say something about it being in Chicago, it’s how it usually goes.
    I believe he is working on a better light and will have it out soon and is trying to send people the newer versions instead of selling what he currently has in stock since they have been removed from his stores.
    If your lights were already shipped out you will just have to receive the old ones and ask for a replacement or a discount. You can always refuse shipment and they will be returned to Tony and at which point he can send you the second version.
    He has been in constant updates with me so far.
    The components you listed is a small list of the things I have requested to be fixed, He has sent me info on wattage and specs and options of what he has and is using for the newer units. But since I’m not an engineer I really have no good replies on to what components he should use, all I can do is provide him with what I would like to see in the new lights as well as what most people could use.
    I hope to PURCHASE one of these newer versions too and review it side by side with this current W96 and hopefully Emm will allow me to post it here at Cheesycam.

    All in all I believe we are a great community, we debate, challenge and at times stick together to make those changes happen by signing petitions, forming groups to request newer firmware changes, create review videos that will make changes and re-drafts at the table and hopefully this time give a chance to someone who is trying to provide us with great gear at a reasonable price and is asking for us to give him a second chance that opportunity to come through.

    Am I sticking my neck out a bit too far?
    Sure I am but so do human shields when they see someone being taken down.
    Also want to thank Emm for allowing us to post , complain and defend on this great site of his.

  16. Nicholas

    UPDATE: Just received this message from the seller.
    we will improve it in below items:
    1. imporve the LED lamp with white
    2. dispose of the humming
    3. change the metai ball holder
    4. change the appearance tech
    so baes the these upgrade, it will better than Z96...these are the details

    - spring-214-2010

  17. Nicholas

    I purchased 4 W96's on the 19th of last month and according to the tracking number it's all still in SHENZHEN, CHINA. I believe it's fraud to sell something claiming one thing but in reality it's another.

    I have asked for a refund but that went unnoticed. When I mentioned I want 4 good lights the seller, said three weeks. So I asked what improvements would be made to the lights? Seller didn't know.

  18. jason francois

    Nice post Serge. Many great points...and the one that stands out most is Karma.

    I for one don't have time or the energy to go through life thinking that everything bad is intentional and not a mistake.

    Let's hope that people don't try to destroy somebody without knowing all the facts. How many of us have had good intentions for clients before and still made mistakes???



  19. @Serge +10
    I was also feeling uncomfortable with the drift of the conversation, but didn't know how to address it. Although I did not purchase these lights, I was about to buy several. In emails with Tony, prior to the fiasco I got the *sense* that he is a sincere entrepreneur, but nothing solid for a defense.

    I acknowledge you for putting it out there so clearly!

  20. Ok I'm kind of seeing a pattern here of taking advantage of the situation, why not just ask for a discounted refund? or send the item back without having to pay for shipping and still get a full refund once you provide a tracking?

    Cheesycam is a site where good things are shared, and where at times a review like mine would come into play that has a change in the manufacturer setup, but not at one time was this made so everyone can just come up and be like "NO GOOD! I'LL KEEP THE LIGHT AND ASK FOR ALL MY MONEY TOO" kind of review, This is not what we are encouraging...

    If the lights are of no value to you because they do not work for your shooting style send them back. Why keep something that you do not need or will use ever? Why keep the funds that he could use for his future ventures into products we eventually will end up buying?

    Be fair people, the lights at a minimum are worth $30-$35 which will make them the cheapest in price out there. these lights are no better but no worse than the none dimmable no brand lights that some of you have invested in already but these do dim.

    Don't get me wrong these lights are usable just that for some of us who shoot in a more professional manner and environment they do not fit our needs, I bet if he has 2 models a "PRO" line and this one some of you will get this one.

    Some of these issues would go un-noticed by most if they were not pointed out to you, well at least some of you.

    I'm not having a change of heart , I was just hoping people would respond like jason francois who are willing to wait for the extra light or get a full refund, get a partial refund and a second light or just call it a lost. I myself have returned half the refund.

    If you do not need the item dont keep it, I'll just give mine away to a school or an upcoming local, or like I said before just keep it for those times where you need an extra pop for B-roll inside a car or something. I can do as I wish at this point because I paid for it what it was worth to me.

    The taking advantage was an issue we were getting into towards the middle of the post but now it seems most are turning the table and taking advantage of the situation...

    Just my 2 cents, do as you wish.
    But Karma is a cranky old woman...

  21. J Hanna

    Just asked for my refund.
    Had a shoot yesterday...brought out the light.
    Sound guy heard the hum and color temp was off.
    If tony does make a NEW UPGRADE and it is real I look forward to seeing it.
    But until then...refund me tony.

  22. HD-tography

    Wow, it's surprising to see an eBay seller/manufacturer taking responsibility for a new product, which leads me to believe he has a LOT invested in the future success of the his lights... if you bought these be wise and file your claims now with eBay/PayPal to protect yourself, but give the man a chance as well to reward his loyalty, which is to say the least, rare these days.

    His approach is wise, own up to the EPIC failure, and ensure the next release is an ACTUAL upgrade from the z96, and undercut the existing successful product's price point. If he succeeds in doing so, he will make a bloody FORTUNE, especially considering from what I can tell, is the sole distributer of the w96 product.

    Good luck to you Tony, make sure you understand ALL the problems the original z96 faced (not that there were very many, but still) and whatever you do, make SURE your new release is built strong, has a "white" luminance/output (not green), and doesn't "flicker" at all throughout the dimming range. Provide it for at least 25% less than the original z96, and you will be a VERY Rich man my friend!

    All the best.

  23. @Jason, Write and ask Tony directly at the email he posted above in one of his comments, He has come through for me and others, hope its all resolved and I also hope people do not take advantage of him as we thought he was taking advantage of us.

    I have received comments from other ebayers who have received a refund 14 in total so far so hes on a good track to making good.

    @ Tony no pressure, we thank you for coming and showing face, and we look forward to version 2.0 of your new design.

  24. jason francois

    UPDATE: I bought my w96s from seller named: darlene0528136

    It would appear that Tony is still the one supplying the units and she/he is just a distributor for Tony. At least I think so.

    They are giving me the same comments in my email. That in 3-4 weeks they will send out new lights.

    Since it's only $100 i'm going to just hope for the best and believe that Tony/Darlene are being honest. I hate to get taken, but I've lost $100 much quicker before so I'm willing to give the benefit of the doubt in this case 🙂

    I'll post any updates.



  25. Tony

    @ all dear customer,

    it's my fualt on this LED light product level define, I should take the resposibility, I need pay the price, I have no contention on it.
    I thank you Matt for my defend as a ebay seller on my side, thank you very much, I thank you Serge and sheldon for my tolerance, thank you!

    I will keep my word as I publish in this forum,never change it.

    but I just want all people here can give me the chance for the new version W96 LED light, it will come out in the end of this month,right now, we are working hard for it...let's see the new one later.

    I thank you all your support for me, I never forget it.


  26. Haha Emm deleted the wrong one without the typos. I which word-press had a edit feature...

    what I meant in the first paragraph was he can sell those old units at half price.

  27. Serge


    I kind of agree with you on some people taking advantage now after the fact, but Tony is not selling anymore lights so not much more people can do so. What he can do is give the option of perhaps half price.

    My intentions where never to get a full refund and keep the light I just didn’t think it was fair to send the item back, at my cost and still wait 30 days for a refund outside of paypal…

    The language barrier did play a role as we could not clearly understand if we were being bait and switched. He does claim he could send a refund or a new light he is working on that will be ready in 3 weeks when and if it comes out being of better quality I’m sure most of us will be buying it from him after a better review.

    Tony always has the option to fight it himself via pay pal for a return before refund, he has every right. I just hope the rest are being honest or at least refund the man half the price which it’s what it’s worth at least fir some...

    I definitely can’t use it in my type of bts shoots.

  28. Marcus

    Hi all,

    I ordered the w96 a couple weeks ago after seeing it posted here. After the negative review I messaged Tony via ebay saying i'd like a refund due to false claims of the product being an upgrade. He immediately gave me a refund.

    I appreciate Tony owning up to his mistake and will give him a second chance in the future, also this site has been great for uptodate accurate information. Thanks guys!

  29. Tony

    I will refund first, then cancel the the deal.
    please don't worry about it.
    honest is the most important for business,that's why I published my notice on this forum. please don't worry about it, I will always keep my words.
    anyway, we are working the new version with high technics, and we will go back in 3 weeks.
    thank you for all my support, I will remember in my mind!

  30. Opps and another thing I must note:

    You should only accept the cancellation request if you haven't paid yet or you've already received your refund from the seller. If you haven't received your refund, contact the seller and paypal before you accept the ebay cancellation request.

  31. As you can tell negative feedback has a lot of impact on a business so he rather not get those I take.

    "Reason for cancel transaction request: The seller did not provide a specific reason. For this reason you will not be able to provide feedback on this item."

    tony19825 recently opened a cancel transaction case for an item you recently purchased: Z96 upgrade 96led Video Light DV Camcorder Lighting set.

    Reason for cancel transaction request: The seller did not provide a specific reason. For this reason you will not be able to provide feedback on this item.

    Click the "Respond now" button to accept or decline this cancellation.

    If you don't take action by Aug-12-2011, the seller will be able to cancel the purchase without your consent.

  32. Well what do you know, He refunded me as well.
    If he does come out with a second light and wants to send it my way I be more than happy to pay for it, if its of great quality as the Z96.

    So there you go guys make sure you request you money but also be fair and give the man something for the effort.

    (Also still be aware that not everyone will be safe for a return)

    Cheesycam.com gets things done!

    @Tony Thank you.

  33. Well I've been fully refunded without shipping the light back. It looks like Tony kept his word and made good of the situation.

  34. @Emm I really hope people are listening to what we have to say and hope this post can help many people and does not get lost all the way at the bottom as new post are being added with great new finds, but if others are like me I visit all day on the hour and go through all the pages as far as I can to the last article I left on.

    @ TOO EVERYONE ELSE: Someone asked how can you tell you will be getting the good original Z96 just make sure it reads F&V Z96, that the auction shows the original silver and black box with F&V on it not the smaller gold and black box, and that it includes the cheap ball head not the upgraded looking one, the original does not have a battery indicator on the back, yet.

    here is a link to the cheapest I have found it with shipping so far and for you guys to look at what you should be looking for.


  35. Emm

    Post author

    @Serge - Exactly why I'm always advising people to use Paypal and eBay over direct sites. There's layers of protection.

  36. @Alberto De Jesus, Tonys store is "tony19825"

    @Giulio Sciorio,

    The reason people like myself started to order were not necessarily for the $20 cheaper deal. I went in thinking it was an actual upgrade, I could use the battery indicator in the back and hoped the sometime flicker issues of the Z96 were fixed... But these are a downgrade all around mockery.


    Thanks Emm, I think I will give "TONY" one more day and see if he makes good on a refund or Ill go ahead and give him a negative and still continue with my paypal dispute, I would highly recommend people start opening a paypal dispute now the longer they wait the riskier its is to recover your funds.

    Remember you have 30 days from the date you made your payment for the item not from the day you receive it. although you can always get a bit extra leeway if you received it damaged past the 30 days with tracking proof.

    I have written him again and have now open a case with paypal if by tomorrow I don't see it resolved I'm escalating it. Make sure you guys select all the options in paypal such a:

    Buyer reason(s):
    Not as described
    Externally Damaged
    Internally Damaged
    Different Design or Pattern
    Copy of Original

    I dont get why would he give out a "BETTER" second unit for free to us all, I know he has to have sold a couple thousands already via his page and other which he is claiming he will have them covered as well, why would he do that unless those pages are his as well? He's not a huge company as you can tell by his feedback, I have 4 times his amount.

    Th best way to go around it is:

    Contact him through Ebay and Paypal simultaneously.
    Yes Ebay owns paypal, but its best to have a trace from all corners.

    I really would love to believe his offering, as I dont see why he would would continue to hammer in on this post to do good, but then again he could be just playing Bait-and-switch until our time has ran out to make a claim.

  37. Emm

    Post author

    @Giulio Sciorio - I'm fairly familiar with the Z96 as well. We use them quite a bit. The reason for this post was that nobody knew what this light really was until it was recently reviewed. At least we were able to confirm this is indeed a fake, low quality light, and has no affiliation to the real Z96. Without posting this information it would remain a mystery. Hopefully this is all helpful to everyone.

  38. DR Hans Krump

    I ordered two of these july 21. They have not arrived but not looking forward to their arrival. I have one Z96.. very happy with it. Bought these as an upgrade. Note to self. Wait for review next time. Chilly summer greetings from Iceland

    DR Krump

  39. Emm

    Post author

    @Giulio Sciorio - The Z96s have fallen back a bit in price, but they went upwards of $100 dollars at one point. Actually I started to notice price falling after these generic ones hit the internet. I guess they were afraid they wouldn't sell anything? So actually competition is good..

  40. Just don't understand why anyone would purchase these lights. Are the Z96 not cheep enough or is it because these crap lights are being advertised as upgrades.

  41. Jay

    Emailed for a refund, we'll see how this goes.

    My tracking number has been saying this all week for something I bought Jul-19-11:

    Processed Through Sort Facility, Jul-30-11, 15:28 PM, SHENZHEN
    Acceptance, Jul-30-11, 10:48 AM
    Origin Post is Preparing Shipment

  42. baramed


    I sent you an email for refund as you tell us to do, if we want it, I hope your answer will be positive...


  43. Tony

    if anyone who don't satisfy with the W96 LED light, please also let me know, my comment is: I'm working with my team to build the good one LED for USA customer, my previous plan just build the cheap LED for some country which ecnomic lower....but out of my image, soe of these LED light run to USA.....I do will build the good LED light to you, I made the fault decision before....one chance to me is ok?
    if you insist refund, just let me know. I will follow your decision.


  44. Tony

    I will always on this forum, and reading your comments on the W96 LED light, your any question or comments, please let me know, my email is [email protected]
    I will work with you for this case. please don't worry about it!

  45. Tony

    Hi dear customer,

    no mater where you purchased the W96 LED light, just send the item number and your buyer ID to me, or ebay ID, then I will send the new version W96 LED light to you.
    I will do the summary list, and send the new one to all of you one vy one. thanks!


  46. Emm

    Post author

    @Josh - I would just go with Full Negative Feedback, unless 100% refund and don't ship anything back.

  47. Just emailed him and got a quick reply back that they're going to send a free upgrade in about 3 weeks. Sounded good at first, but it makes sense what you're saying that it'll probably never happen. Going to follow your advice and send another email.

  48. Emm

    Post author

    @Serge - 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 100%. Let them know that the light they are selling is not a Z96 upgrade and was falsely advertised as so.

  49. Lensdude

    I ordered mine on 7/19. I checked the status last night after this report/bad review hit the web. Seems like the seller has gone on vacation? Prices are now all over the map. Reading the first report on these units again it sounds like none of the past issues with the Z96 were addressed. Upgrade? Sounds like an epic fail. The sad thing is if these units were better made he would sell a ton of them long term. Now he is facing bad reviews and unhappy customers.

    I guess it is what it is: a cheap knockoff of an existing cheap eBay item. Emm, I am not blaming anyone in my previous post. Sorry if it sounded that way...

  50. Nicholas

    I purchased 4 off seller "spring-214-2010" is that the same as everyone else or is the Tony from comments a different seller?

  51. Alberto De Jesus

    Does anyone know the ebay store associated with Tony? I want to message him through ebay but not sure if I bought the LED lights from him.

  52. Serge

    Ok it's 5:35am I'm checking my daily emails and found a couple from Tony, 6 in fact and 4 of them stating "tony19825 is out of the office until 08/09/2011 and may not be able to respond to your message."

    The other 2 state contradicting replies.

    1). "Hi Dear customer,

    how are you!
    first, this LED light will have a flash when you power on flash mean this work ok and good , then you just need adjust the botton, it will work ok, please trya again.
    and please check if the 4 red LED will light on back of the LED light when you put the battery on it, because it will shoe your the battery capacity.....
    if the LED light really damaged during the delivery, I will resend one to you, is that ok?
    - tony19825

    This one is interesting....

    2) "I just realized that you opened the case.but you didn't answer my question that I replied to your email.
    ok, if you don't want to answer my question, please return the package to me, then I refund your payment 30 days no shipping cost return. is that ok?

    - tony19825

    I'm just as perplexed as some of you will be with such a reply, all I did was write him as this post suggested, but I get 6 replies. Not to judge but these desperate replies on not being in the office seem too strange all of a sudden I wrote once and I get 6 replies???

    The offering of a "BETTER" replacement if we wait 30 days and then a never mind send me the item back and you will get a refund within 30 days minus the shipping is just too easy to point out as a not gonna happen deal.

    Once those 30 days are up paypal won't have you covered.

    The issue with this item did not occur during shipment those who have received their units have already agreed to having the same issues.
    Please beware of the extended offers...

    @Emm I hope I'm not bringing the quality of the site down by posting this here, I just want others to be aware.

  53. HD-tography


    I just said 7V off the top of my head cause I thought I remembered that to be the z96 specs, but it's actually the wattage:

    DC IN 5.8-16.8V
    Power: 7W

    The Tekkeon's I have are the top model they made, but they are no longer available... they cost me a pretty penny at $180 a piece from B&H a few months ago:


    They can support anything from 5V (via usb) to 19V (via universal cable port), but they are the top end "smart" model that has an "auto" function that figures out the draw and then assigns the voltage to the source, which is what I always run them on... however they allow for a manual setting of between 10-19V, so maybe I should up the voltage on a manual setting and try that to test out the (occasional) flicker effect? I wonder what the optimal voltage setting would be for the 5.8-16.8V range?

    Also, what are the top end "on camera" lights for event/doc shooting in your opinion? Those Comer CM-LBPS1800 1800 lux lights are sweet for output but have a big footprint and price tag to match at $360 a piece... any other suggestions?

  54. Emm

    Post author

    @jfrancois - Contact the seller. I'm interested in how they choose to resolve this. Maybe a full refund no shipping back?

  55. Rob

    @Lensdude Not really a fair comment. The original post clearly stated that this light was untested. So it was up to the brave souls such as yourself to take the leap and report back. You might end up liking the light.

  56. jfrancois

    Got the short end of the stick on this as well. I got two of the w96s to go along with my wonderful z96s. I also have the CN-160 and 240 and the 312. All great lights, but Serge is on the money about these shitty units. The w96s are complete garbage. I can deal with much of the flimsy issues, but the humm and then heat are ridiculous.

    I only paid $110 with shipping for two lights, so if I have to spend $30 to send them back it's almost not worth it, but I can't see using them on a shoot. Can't take the risk with the hum.

    Oh well. You win some and you lose some.

  57. Emm

    Post author

    @Lensdude - The benefit is that we've identified a new item on the market, reviewed and shared the information. Truly not a winner, but looks like if you contact the seller you could work something out. Not a total lost.

  58. Emm

    Post author

    @HD-tography - These lights can accept up to 14V. I'm wondering if the 7V Tekkeon has anything to do with the flicker.

  59. @defiant

    man, I was taken by the low price too. I haven't previously owned a z96 so I had nothing to compare my [email protected] W96 to, so I was wondering why everyone was raving about the z96.
    my work around the "flash when you turn it on"problem is to "pre" turn it on outside or where no one can see and just leave it in the lowest dimmed position and when I need it on I just turn it up. when I need to turn it off I just dim it down to "right before it turns off" position. I'm not sure how much battery it wastes but at least I dont get the flash blast.
    I also noticed the really green colour when it's dimmed in the lower registar. the brighter positions kind of blow it out to the correct colour.
    can't really afford to just throw it away so those are my work arounds.

  60. Rob

    Glad I didn't jump on this one. If the price had stayed the same at $40, there'd probably be fewer complaints.

  61. HD-tography

    LOL @ Tony... 😀

    It is funny that the Z96 lights "pop" a strobe flash when turning off and this does the opposite. Yeah no big deal cause you're all done shooting at that point.

    On another note, I am wondering if there was ever any good solution for the flicker effect you get at times with the Z96... not the flicker you will get at dimmed levels using AA batteries, but the occasional flicker effect that can turn up on the footage at times... I usually power them with Tekkeon MyPower MP3750 batteries via the 2.5 diameter 7v adapter input so there is a constant stream of clean power to them, but you guys who own them (and use them) know what I mean, it still happens on occasion... why is that and is there a work around fix?

    I was thinking of switching over to the Comer CM-LBPS1800 1800 lux High Power 10-LED lights for on camera, but they are still pretty pricey. What do you think Emm? Any suggestions for higher quality "on camera" lights? I have big rigs so that's not an issue...

  62. Lensdude

    I ordered one after the first reports on this site. I have not received it yet. Its now distressing to read all these reports of unhappy customers.

    Bottom line: I know a lot of filks enjoy the cost saving reports from this site, but you need to pay attention to what you are really buying...

  63. Jay

    Your ebay says you are on vacation until Aug 9th, my w96 has still not arrived, I bought it on the 19th, you barely shipped it on the 30th. For the past 2 days it has said the same on the trackin gnumber provided. I've received items from India in 2-3 days.

  64. Tony

    if you buy the new W96 LED light one and have any question, just inform me directly. [email protected].
    and at that time, there are some seller will sell it on ebay, then you also can contact with them.

  65. Nicholas

    I finally pulled the trigger on 4(FOUR) lights and I get burned. Knew I should have ordered the 312's... I guess all I can say is SHIT.

  66. HD-tography


    Well that sucks... Thankfully I avoided this one this time around, but have lost on other purchases... Meh, when you purchase as much kit as I do, you're bound to win some/lose some in the evolution of the DSLR entrepreneurship revolution.

    A couple months ago, on the advice of this blog, I went looking for an inexpensive heavy duty (static) tripod to be a dedicated support for my Konova slider, as I don't need to tie up my $600-$1000 Manfrotto tripods on a multi cam shoot...

    Well, I ended up purchasing a "Heavy Duty" WF717 All Aluminum Tripod DIRECT from ePhoto (the manufacturer) on eBay (due to no amazon.com shipping to Canada)

    See Photos On The Actual Listing:


    Just like the all aluminum ones reviewed on this blog right?

    Well those bastards sent me an ALL PLASTIC Version of the sticks...




    Forcing me to file a PayPal claim and pay/lose $50 in return cross border shipping just to get my $150 back... BEWARE!

  67. Luke Kwan

    I have bought a z96 yet but I did get one of the new CN160.

    I dont have anything to compare it to yet, but it is a solid light so far.

    BTW how can i tell if am buying the new vs old z96 light on ebay?

  68. Tony

    Hi Dear photographer,

    how are you!
    thank you for your details review for the W96 LED light. especial for the LED light's shorts....like the LED ligh camp, the holder ball, the appearance...and so on....
    This is Tony from China. and take responsibility for this product.in my original image, we just want to sell it with lower price and to see how about the market's feedback.it seems quality is much important than price, sorry for my previous wrong consciousness for this product, I will manage it soon.
    right now, I had taken below action for these question:
    1. stopped sell this LED light on any website or wholesale.
    2. reviewed your comments and taking the actions on the details design again and even the appearance for the technics.
    3. take the quality as the top urgent case for it, never the price.
    4. any guy which purchase this LED light here before, if he didn't satisfied with this LED light, just provide the item link to me which you purchased before, or your buyer ID, then I will resend the same Qty LED lights to the buyer with FREE after our review on it(in about 4 weeks) , make sure the real good quality W96 LED, I mean it. it's my responsibility.
    5. my email is: [email protected], you have any question or complain on it, just send email to me, I do reply your question in 12 hours.

    if you still have any question on it, please contact with me, your any questions are welcome!


  69. Videoguy916

    Darn, just ordered a W96 last week hoping to use it along side my Z96. I should wait for a review before buying things...

  70. Sheldon

    Okay, so I just man up and ordered a z96 on ebay. Didn't budget for this, but I need a good light.

    Haven't received the W96 as yet, but atleast I got a heads up how much it sucks.

  71. Sheldon

    Great I am pissed of! Finally I pull trigger and got something early.. and this happen.. pissed offf!

  72. Emm

    Post author

    @Serge - CSOA? LOL. Just a reminder folks, I know some sellers try to use the blog name on their products. The official word is that I do not endorse any vendor using the name on their products. It's actually a legally registered trademark.

  73. @ Bruce Philpott You're welcome. 🙂

    I think the "CSOA (Cheesycam Seal Of Approval)" would be a great idea to help us all out... I hope Emm implements something of its kind.

  74. @Alberto De Jesus Sorry you ended up duped just like me, but imagine how those who purchased the 4 unit kits! ouch!

    @Tony Marco,

    I'm glad you stood away, Emm takes it for the team all the time someone had to help him out 🙂 Definitely go for the original Z96 the extra $20 is worth it, Do invest in them sooner than later, once word gets around that these W96 are horrible the Z96 prices will go up even higher due to greedy sellers and buyers driving demand.

  75. THANK you, Serge and Emm! If it were not for you and those like you, we'd all be suckered half of the time. Since you make it more likely that scammers will be exposed, they're less likely to try it.

  76. Tony Maceo

    When will Chinese shanzhai ever end. SMH. Thanks Serge for "taking one for the team." And to think all the others who got in on the initial orders. I won't be buying anything no-name company until it meets CSOA (Cheesycam Seal Of Approval).

  77. Alberto De Jesus

    I just got mine and I am unhappy with it. 🙁
    Everything serge says is true. Especially the humming.

  78. Yay! I'm on cheesycam! 😛

    Yeah, I am super disappointed in this purchase. I guess I can have it as a back up for those times you need fill light somewhere but not as a main unit, Or just to keep in the shop for use as a camp light... The pop of flash when turned on will ruined your shot, it's a very strong strobe pop!

    This thing will not take the abuse of traveling neither.
    Just had to order a couple of original Z96 before everyone depletes the little inventory available.

    Thank again Emm for sharing this!
    I have a cheesy smile on pun not intended.

  79. Verm

    I was waiting for the price to drop back down, but thanks for sharing this review, I won't be buying it! Serge doesn't seem too happy about it eh...

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