Simple but effective can be good. The Zhiyun Fiveray M40 LED panel has no menu, two knobs, and a great looking daylight LED light. Let’s have a closer look!
Note: Zhiyun sent the FiveRay M40 LED panel to review and keep. However, this is a completely independent review. All thoughts about this LED light are our own.
- Very easy to use
- Intuitive, simple controls
- Variable controls for brightness and color temperature from 2700K-6200K
- USB charging
- Minimalist design
- Appears to be a solid build
- Pocket-size and lightweight
- White letters on the orange dials are more challenging to see in low light because they lack contrast. I did not find this to be an issue for adjusting the controls but it bears mentioning.
Zhiyun FiveRay M40 — Technical specifications
All of the technical specifications for the Zhiyun FiveRay M40 are from the printed owner’s manual that came with the light.
- Maximum Power Output: 40W
- Illuminance (Maximum Power): 14000 lux
- Color Temperature Range: 2700K-6200K
- TLCI: >=97
- CRI (RA): >=96
- LED Chip: 88PCS (cool light chips + 88PCS warm light chips)
- Charging Time: 1H50min
- Runtime (Maximum Power): 29 min
- Operation Temperature: 14-104 Degree F (-10-40 Degree C)
- Charging: 32-113 Degree F (0-45 Degree C)
- Extension: 1/4″ (6.35mm) Threaded Hole
- Battery Capacity: 2S/2600MAH
- Dimensions (W x D x H): 5.37 x 3.06 x 1.14″ (136.5 x 77.8 x 29mm)
- Weight: 11.28 oz (320g)
Zhiyun FiveRay M40 — Ergonomics and build quality
Ergonomics are excellent. It is easy to turn on and off or turn on the control dials at various angles from either the rear or the front. You also don’t need to grasp the dials at all. You can turn them very easily with the side of your finger from either side. I really like the simplicity of the layout of the controls in particular. The unit does not have a menu. I do not see this as any issue at all.
The dimensions of the light are small, not much larger than a 4.7″ iPhone SE 2020, although it’s of course noticeably thicker.
Aren’t you glad you use dials
There are two orange-colored dials. These are easily visible with low light. However, the temperature markings and percentage of brightness were difficult to see in low light. Because the unit’s dials are so simple to use, I didn’t feel this was much of an issue.
One dial is labeled “CCT.” This controls the temperature of the light. The other is labeled “Dim.” This turns the unit on and off and provides 0-100% control over brightness. When the unit is set at maximum, it seems extremely bright, and can run on a fully charged battery for 29 minutes.
The four small lights located near the dials indicate the battery level.
The light feels solid in the hand. All parts appear to be machined well. The dials feel tight and do not wiggle. The swivel seems solidly built as well. The unit has a fan, and therefore vents, so like any electronic device of this sort, you want to keep it away from liquids and moisture. I don’t believe I would use this near any spray of the ocean water.
The Zhiyun LED panel has a built-in fan which operates quietly. During use at room temperature indoors, the fan kicked on after two minutes. When turned off and then turned back on, the fan turned back on again for a brief moment until the unit had cooled down. The fan was quiet enough that I felt that unless you are doing very very quiet material, microphones would not pick up the sound. The fan operates on temperature, adjusting the cooling power for whatever is needed.
The LED panel can operate while charging.
Zhiyun FiveRay M40 — In the field
Quality of light
The light has a color temperature range of 2700K-6200K, producing rather warm tones to cool tones. The light was pleasing and produced no strobing or flicker when video was employed on an iPhone SE 2020 or a Pentax K-1 DSLR camera in video mode.
Controls, menus and display
The controls are immediately easy and simple to use. You could literally hand this to anyone and they would know how to operate it almost instantly.
I like that the light allows you to control everything between the two temperatures rather than having discrete color settings the way many LED light panels do.
For that matter, the brightness operates similarly. Using the Dim Dial, you can have control from 0-100% for brightness.
Because of the lack of precise controls, if you require perfect consistency of either brightness or temperature when either photographing or shooting video, this unit may not be the best choice for you. Other LED light panels offer either a menu with specific percentages or even an app in your phone to control brightness and color. The beauty here is in the simplicity.
The included paper user manual states that you may use “Zhiyun Gimbal Tools” to upgrade the firmware. This involves connecting to the computer via the included USB cable. You may perform this upgrade when the unit is powered off.
When fully charged, the LED panel has a run time of 29 minutes when operating at 100% brightness. The unit operates while charging.
The FiveRay M40 has two ¼” screw holes, allowing you to mount it vertically or horizontally on a tripod, camera, or camera light stand. The swivel allows you to position the light without having to move the stand.
Once I mounted the light to the sturdy Oben CTT-1000 tabletop tripod, it took me only a few seconds to dial in the brightness and the color temperature. Because the controls are so simple to operate, it was just a matter of turning a couple of dials. Bam. Done. Nice and quick.