The Z96 started off as a very unassuming bit of kit. It is cheap, made in China and so was waved off as inferior when compared to the more well known pioneers like LitePanels.
The amazing thing is, this low priced LED light outperforms it’s much more expensive competitor and offers more innovative features in the process.
AA or Sony style battery mount
One of it’s features include the ability to use either 5 X AA batteries or a Sony type video camera battery or a DC power plug.
Magnetic detachable gel and diffuser
The Z96 sports clip-on CTO gel and diffuser. They are magnetic so you can put them in your shirt pocket when not in use. The magnetic buttons on the front of the light lets you quickly attach the diffuser when you need it in a flash. No more fumbling around trying to slot in a diffuser!
Flexible Ball Mount
It comes with a ball mount that attaches to your HDSLR or video camera’s hotshoe. You can now point your light in any direction, not just up or down.
Really wide coverage
The coverage of the Z96 is simply fantastic. Check out the video review below. While its competitor could only light up a subject from medium close up (chest up), the Z96 is able to light up an entire human being- head to toe (Wide Shot).
The throw of the Z96 is incredible. Don’t go full blast with this little light, you’ll have your subjects raising their hands to shield their eyes. Its brightness is much greater than the LitePanels equivalent.
Team player- combine up to 4 lights
It’s also a team player- The Z96 can be combined with up to 4 of its brothers to form a powerful studio light. It can transform into a studio light that emits virtually no heat and consumes very little power. Its a force to be reckoned with.
We have a few Z96 in our studio and we’re very pleased with them. We use them for corporate events where run & gun is required. We use them for corporate films where a controlled, studio setting is necessary. We also use them on film making projects. They’re a small but powerful and robust addition to our existing gear.
We would recommend the Z96 to independent film makers and event videographers. This light is featured in all our Videography Courses.
Here is a very well produced video review of the Z96 by Ben McMillan
DSLR News Shooter has a detailed review about it by DJ Clark: DJ Clark tests out the F&V light Z96 LED – an inexpensive video light for DSLR