I tried the Zhiyun Fiveray M40 pocket light — and it’s bright as a Star!

Zhiyun Fiveray M40

The Zhiyun Fiveray M40 pocket LED panel was designed as a lightweight, handheld, and tripod-mountable video light for Vloggers and content creators. The combination of 88 cool and 88 warm light LEDs can generate up to 40W of power with an adjustable color temperature from 2700 to 6200K.

Pocket continuous lights like the Fiveray M40 are perfect for shooting videos because you can position them anywhere to provide the best lighting for your subject. Using built-in batteries and LEDs doesn’t need a power cord and generates less heat than traditional bulb lights. Unlike strobe flashes, external LED panels allow you to transition from photography to videography seamlessly.

You may have the world’s best camera, but your videos will be less expressive if you don’t have the appropriate lighting. Using dimmable white and orange LED chips, the Zhiyun Fiveray M40 LED panel lets you precisely vary your light’s intensity and color temperature, making it straightforward to achieve the perfect illumination you want in the shot.

LED vlogging light

LED vlogging light

Professional photographers recommend that when purchasing lights, seek those with high ratings: 95+ for CRI (Color Rendering Index) or 90+ for TLCI (Television Lighting Consistency Index). The Zhiyun M40 LED panel has TLCI 97 and CRI 96; check this article to learn more about these two parameters that define the quality of artificial light sources.

Zhiyun FIVERAY M40 fill light review

Disclosure: I received this pocket fill light in a product review collaboration with Zhiyun. Although the product was free, all the opinions in this review remain mine.

ZHIYUN Tech is a world leader in camera stabilizers (gimbals) for everyone, from social media content creators to professional filmmakers. The company also has three video light series, the FIVERAY (M20C/M20, M40, V60, F100, and FR100C), MOLUS (G200, X100, and X60), and the newest CINEPEER (CX100 and CM25).

Unboxing

Unboxing

The Fiveray M40 comes packed in a nice foam-padded storage box with a magnetic flap. Only a warranty card and a USB Type-C charging cable are provided with the fill light. No diffuser, bouncer, or other light manipulation accessories are included.

The smartphone-size LED panel measures 136*78*29 cm and weighs 320 grams. It fits perfectly in any photography backpack or even into your pocket. It adopts an elegant white color scheme, like the Crane M3 gimbal.

LED panel and Gimbal

LED panel and Gimbal

A transparent white plastic shield is in front of the 176 LEDs, making the light softer. The black battery bay and the large cooling fan are on opposite sides. Four charging level indicator LEDs are between the two control dials at the unit’s base. The USB Type-C charging port of the light is hidden by the 360-degree rotational mounting bracket.

mounting\extension bracket
Foldable\Rotatable mounting bracket

Instead of built-in tripod mounts, the Fiveray M40 has a foldable extension bracket with two 1/4″ screw holes. The bracket allows vertical and horizontal installation on a tripod and doubles as a self-stand. You can attach the light to the top of your camera using a cold shoe adapter. With a mini tripod, you can use it as a fill light for video conferences.

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For fun, I mounted the M40 on my iFlight Chimera 9 drone and did a test flight. It gave me the light to fly FPV in completely dark conditions. Flying through smoke, it looked like a flying OZN. My only problem was that the bracket couldn’t be secured in a position and rotated mid-flight.

DIM and CCT dial knobs
DIM for intensity and CCT for color temperature

Zhiyun Fiveray M40: Controls & Adjustments

The control interface on the bottom of the light is about as basic as you will get. It has only two dials for adjusting CCT (color temperature) and Dimming (intensity from off to 100%). You can adjust the CCT from 2700-6200K by balancing\mixing between warm and cool LEDs. The unit has 16 columns (eight warm and eight cool) of 11 LEDs. At 2700K, only the orange LEDs light up, and at 6200K, only white ones -the maximum light intensity (1050 Lux at 1 m) can obtained around 3500K.

Unfortunately, the M40 doesn’t have built-in Bluetooth connectivity for remote control and creative light modes like the much more versatile Fiveray M20C.

Zhiyun Fiveray M40: Battery and working time

Two built-in 2600 mAh batteries power the Fiveray M40. The manufacturer’s technical specs on the product page say it uses a 6S battery LiION pack, which is wrong!

The 2S 18650 battery pack lasts about 30 minutes at full power and, connected to a 10W power adapter, can work for more than 90 minutes. Using a 15W PD fast charger, the M40 can be fully charged in less than 2 hours.

2x2600mah batteries and cooling fan
2x2600mah batteries and cooling fan

Zhiyun Fiveray M40: How does it stay cool?

The 176 LEDs generate a lot of heat and must be cooled to operate correctly and last long. The M40 Fiveray features a built-in cooling fan to prevent overheating. There are also ventilation holes on four sides of the unit. The fan starts only when the panel heats up and is reasonably quiet even when operating at 100% output for long periods. It adopts the DynaVort Cooling System, consisting of a gyroscope modeling heat sink, FOC fans, and an attitude-control algorithm to prevent overheating. This advanced cooling technology applies fluid dynamics and improves cooling efficiency by substantially enhancing airflow emissions through intelligent control.

Fiveray M40 pocket light: Key features

  • [Wide Color Temperature – Excellent Color Rendition] 176 LED chips bring an incredible illuminance that rivals the key light provided by bigger equipment. Both cool and warm colors enable the maximum power output at 40W with no strobes. CRI≥96, TLCI≥97.
  • [Dual Wheels For Accurate Dimming] Precise dimming of color temperature and brightness is available via two separate wheels, giving you smooth control at your fingertips.
  • [Variable-Frequency Cooling Via Algorithm Control] M40 adopts the DynaVort Cooling System with a gyroscope modeling heat sink, FOC fans, and attitude-control algorithm to prevent overheating. The DynaVort technology that applies fluid dynamics raises the cooling efficiency by substantially enhancing the airflow emissions through intelligent control.
  • [360° Rotational Stand] The rotational stand of the M40 extends possibilities for various occasions. At the same time, two 1/4″ screw holes allow the M40 to be mounted on a tripod or light stand, offering a fast lighting setup than ever.
  • [Adaptive Charging Technology] With 4 LED indicator lights that display battery level and two 18650 batteries built in, the M40 supports PD fast charge protocol that allows real-time charging. Non-stop work at 10W can last for 97min.

Pricing, availability, and optional accessories

The Fiveray M40 pocket fill light panel has been available for orders since last spring (March 2023) with a retail price of $99 / €119. You can accessorize the M40 with a silicone diffuser for $9.90 and an extension rod with a 1/4″ thread mount for $29.00. The M40 and other Zhiyun Tech lights can also be purchased from Amazon and other platforms.

Light beam pattern at 40W
Light beam and power pattern at 40W

Zhiyun Fiveray M40: Technical parameters

Output power40 Watt dimmable (0~100%)
LED chips88 pcs cool light (white)
88 pcs warm light (orange)
Color Temperature2700 to 6200K
CRI≥96 and TLCI≥97
Color modesDaylight, Tungsten
Color accuracy standardTLCI 97
CRI 96
Photometrics97 fc / 1050 Lux at 3.3′ / 1 m
408 fc / 4400 Lux at 1.6′ / 0.5 m
1300 fc / 14,000 Lux at 1′ / 0.3 m
BatteryBuilt-in 2S/2600mAh LI-Ion
Run time29 min at max power
Dimensions5.37 x 3.06 x 1.1″ / 13.65 x 7.78 x 2.9 cm
Weight0.7 lb / 320 g

Fiveray M40 vs CINEPEER CM25

While I was working on the Fiveray M40 review, Zhiyun released a new series of photography lights called CINEPEER. With its 25W power, the new CinePeer CM25 delivers exceptional portrait and ambient lighting effects, making it ideal for portrait and object photography on a budget. While the M40 has 176 LEDs, the CinePeer CM25 has only 112. The two fill lights have similar designs and are about the same size. Practically, the CM25 is the “lite” version of the M40. The only construction difference between these two fill lights is that the M40 has a foldable extension bracket, and the CM25 only has a built-in tripod mount.

Comparison Table
Fiveray M40CINEPEER CM25
Peek power40W, Full-range CCT25W, Full-range CCT
Light chips112 LEDs
56 pcs Cool
56 pcs Warm
176 LEDs
88 pcs Cool
88 pcs Warm
4300K/100% Brightness Illuminance1050lux, 1 meter883lux, 1 meter
Battery2600mAh2000mAh
Working time29 minutes30 minutes
Extension bracketYesNo
Built-in tripod mountNoYes
Dimensions136*78*29 cm133*78*29mm
Weight320 grams232 grams
Price$99$69
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