A while back, I had the opportunity to review the 100W Fiveray F100 Lightstick as well as compare it to the previous generation FR100C. However, as compact as Zhiyun’s lightsticks are, sometimes you need something a little more portable. That’s where a light like the pocket-sized Fiveray M40 comes in handy. Thanks to Zhiyun for sending this one out for review.
One of the biggest benefits of the Fiveray M40 is its size. It measures in at 5.37 x 3 x 1.14 inches and weighs less than one pound. This makes the Fiveray M40 easy to slip in a pocket for on the go or toss in a bag without weighing you down.
The next best thing about the Fiveray M40 is its output. The brightness of this tiny light is kind of hard to comprehend. It’s beyond impressive how much light the M40 puts out for its size and it works great as a fill light and can even step in for a key light in a pinch. Especially, if you have multiple M40s on hand.
On top of being bright, the Zhiyun Fiveray M40 offers temperature controls ranging from 2700-6500k with a CRI of over 95 to provide a wide range of lighting options with accurate color. While we’re on the subject of color, there are no RGB options on the M40—but that’s fine—because it allowed Zhiyun to squeeze in more LEDs to provide increased brightness.
Another feature I love about the M40 is how Zhiyun included two screw-hole mounts for tripods along with a rotating arm. This makes it convenient to mount the Fiveray M40 vertical or horizontal while being able to rotate it to just the right angle.
Finally, we’ve come to battery life which can be monitored with the four LEDs on the back. The Fiveray M40 can run at 40W for up to half an hour or a little over 90 minutes when set to 10W. It is powered by two built-in 18650 rechargeable batteries and uses a USB Type-C port for charging.
The good news is it can be fully charged in as little as 30 minutes when using a 50W capable charger. The M40 also works while charging, so if you’re near an outlet or have a power bank with enough output, you can run the M40 for longer periods.
The Zhiyun Fiveray M40 is tiny and extremely bright. However, it’s not the softest light source due to its compact size. It looks best when feathered off to the side or when bounced off of a ceiling or wall. It’s a good thing the M40 is so powerful because you’ll lose some light by modifying it, but that’s true of any light source. Despite the harsh direct light and short battery life, the real advantage of the M40 is its portability, versatile mounting options, and being able to charge it while it’s in use.
Bounced off the ceiling
Bounced into a reflector
Additionally, Zhiyun also made the Fiveray M40 easy to use with simple controls, making it simple to set the temperature of the light and the intensity with a roll of the dial.
For video shooters, you’ll want to watch out for fan noise while using the M40. The brighter it is and the longer you use it, the louder it gets. It becomes even worse if it’s also charging while in use. This isn’t a problem if you’re shooting pictures, but if you intend to use it for live streaming it could get picked up on your mic. Although, in my experience, the fan noise is quite low.
I’ve taken the test images in this review using my smartphone just as in my past Zhiyun reviews to show how using a quality light like the Fiveray M40 can really make all the difference no matter what camera you’re using.
Zhiyun has outdone itself with the Fiveray M40. It has combined super bright LEDs into a sturdy compact housing with color temperature options and great controls. It’s easy to mount, easy to use, and can be charged while in use. All of these add up to a fantastic light to use for photography and videography. The only caveats is the minimal fan noise and relatively short battery life. Besides that, the Zhiyun Fiveray M40 makes an excellent addition to your kit, and at only $99 it makes it tempting to pick up more than one.
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