Currently, there’s a huge amount of innovation in the lighting market, especially with the potential of full RGB. Over the last year, I’ve seen a huge array of bright, programable panels that enable you to illuminate your subjects in a completely new way.
The Sirui Dragon Series Bendable RGB Panel light B25R is a light like no other consisting of nine lighting sections linked together, enabling them to flex and bend. The result is that, unlike all other lights, you can effectively bend the light around the subject, and the effect is quite unlike any other lighting system I have seen.
In this review, I’ve just looked at a single unit, but with the ability to link and connect, multiple RGB units can be slotted together to make larger and even more impressive lighting rigs.
Slightly plastic build
What is the Sirui Dragon Series Bendable RGB Panel light B25R?
The Sirui Dragon Series Bendable RGB Panel light B25R is a full RGB LED light. What makes it different from the countless other stick-design lights is that it is built up of nine interlinked lighting blocks. This means rather than a standard fixed panel, the light can be bent in two directions enabling you far more versatility than you would usually get with the light projection of a single light.
Being RGB, the light has the usual colours that can be scrolled using the control pad and small mono LCD screen. What’s useful here is that a full 360º colour choice and full RGB Mode give you the option for creative colour or an exact match for when you need the light to match in with larger lighting systems.
Like other RGB lights, there’s also the option to switch to the effects mode, where you can use any pre-programmed effects. There are 16-effects in total that give you a good amount of flexibility when you’re either on a creative shoot or using the light on a video production.
When used for video and still photography, the light enables more traditional lighting control with a CCT of 2700K-8500K and a high CRI/TLCI rating.
Finally, when it comes to power, the light either takes an NP-F style battery that can be plugged in directly next to the control panel, or it can be plugged directly into the mains.
Taking the Sirui Dragon Series Bendable RGB Panel light B25R out of the box for the first time and it’s instantly apparent that this is a light like no other. The design is quite different, with the nine light sections interlinked with seven smaller units in the middle and two larger units at either end.
Flipping the light over and on the back is the slot for the NP-F battery along with the control panel and plug for the AC power. The control panel is nice and simple with an M (Mode), Fn (Function) and +, – buttons. It’s about as simple and intuitive as it gets, but it does require a little time with the controls once powered up to get the hang of switching mode, then function and then scrolling through the options with the +- buttons. In reality, compared with some of the other lighting options, this is straightforward to use.
However, with the Sirui dedicated app, the need to use the direct controls is minimal after the initial power is on. The app lets you control the lighting, from the power to colour and effects.
Set-up of the light is easy, and used for straight product photography, moving the light into position is incredibly easy. Usually, you would need two lights at the very least to cast the illumination on the product you want, and then there’s the issue of diffusion. However, due to the flex that enables you to bend the light around the subject directing the light illumination is incredibly easy. What helps even more is the ability to connect additional lights to increase the spread of light further.
While the constant lighting source might not have the power or impact of traditional flash lighting, the results you can gain are not far off. You gain incredible flexibility without the need for multiple lights and diffusers. As ever, with constant lighting, you get to see the exact effect of the lamp before the image is taken rather than a representation from the modelling lights.
One feature that interested me during the use of the dragon light was the ability to connect further lights. Connection comes in two waves; firstly, the physical attachment, where the design enables one light to slot into another so they can be flexed together. This opens up a huge opportunity, especially for product and creative portrait photography. While the lamps physically connect, there isn’t direct communication between the two units; it is just a physical rather than a data bond. To adjust settings, you still need to pop into the control panel and adjust the lighting power, colour temperature or RGB value. However, there is then the section connection option through the app. When one light is connected to the app, you can adjust all the settings, connect another, and then control the two, either individually or both.
Ultimately when it comes to flexibility, the Sirui Dragon Series Bendable RGB Panel light B25R does this physically but also in the workflow. The B25R is an incredibly powerful creative light. The quality of the plastic used is good, but there’s a feeling a slightly different plastic-type could have been used as when bending the light, it is quite creaky. However, this doesn’t affect the performance of the illumination, which is simply outstanding.
At present, many new products are coming through the doors, and innovation seems to be the key to getting recognised in an increasingly crowded market of great products. The Sirui Dragon Series Bendable RGB Panel light B25R is an outstanding product, not just because of the innovation, quality of illumination and flexibility in both physical design and use. The main purpose of that light and innovation works.
Used for product photography, the light wraps around the product, producing a new and interesting light. The ability to adjust the colour temperature enables you to change the look and feel of the picture, and of course, being a constant light, you can see the effect of that lighting change instantly.
Over the last couple of months, I have looked at and used several new and extremely good lighting solutions, and while they have been good, only a handful have added something new to the market. The Sirui Dragon Series Bendable RGB Panel light B25R is one of those products; one is good. Two to four would be a great lighting solution, especially considering the ability to control your entire lighting set-up through an App. The Sirui Dragon Series Bendable RGB Panel light B25R is a quirky idea that shows incredible innovation and a product that works to help you enhance your photography.
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