I feel slightly embarrassed for running another 5-star review on a Zhiyun COB light not long after giving the Zhiyun Molus G60 five stars, but I can't help myself. Like the pocket-sized G60, the Zhiyun Molus X100 is a compact yet highly versatile studio light tailor-made for today's content creators.
The Molus X100 works like a charm and offers just enough functionality to make it unmissable for people who like creating content on the go. Thanks to its easy-to-understand user interface and small form factor, it can be used in scenarios that probably even Zhiyun didn't consider when creating the Molus X100, making it all the more appealing to everyone with a creative flair for videography.
You should most certainly buy it, but read my full Zhiyun Molus X100 below first to learn more about this beautiful piece of lighting equipment.
[First reviewed November 2023]
Zhiyun Molus X100 review
Zhiyun Molus X100 review: price and availability
The Zhiyun Molus X100 COB LED light was launched in early 2023 and is available to buy now directly from Zhiyun UK, Zhiyun US and Zhiyun AU for a recommended retail price of £269/ $249/ AU$ 459. It's the price of the standard version, which includes the Molus X100 light, 120W Power Adaptor, Power Adaptor Organiser Bag, Mini Reflector (ZY Mount), Pocket Light Strap, and a Quick Start Guide.
If you'd like to use the Molus X100 on the go, I'd recommend investing a bit more money in the Combo pack, which adds a Bowens Mount Adaptor - B (ZY Mount), X100 Grip Battery and a Storage Bag. You'll find it troublesome to use the light in outdoor locations without the X100 Grip Battery!
Zhiyun Molus X100 review: specifications
- Max Power Output: 100W
- Colour Temperature Range: 2700K~6500K
- Max light output (at 1 metre): 3,881 lux
- Dimming Range: 0~100%
- Connectivity: Bluetooth
- Operation Temperature: -10°～40°
- Size (mm): W144.5 x D94 x H36.1
- Weight: 385g
- Extension: 1/4" Threaded Hole
Zhiyun Molus X100 review: design and build quality
The Zhiyun Molus X100 is a step up from the ultra-compact Molus G60 and offers more power output in a slightly larger package. Of course, what 'slightly larger' means is that it won't fit in the tiny pocket inside the hand pocket in your jeans, but it can easily be sunk into a moderately-sized cargo pocket or a small crevice in your photo bag, like the Chrome Industries Niko 3.0.
In fact, although the Molus X100 is wider and taller than the Molus G60, it's actually thinner than its smaller sibling. The user interface is similar – a small LCD at the back of the unit – and there are two dials to adjust the colour temperature and light output. I like the dials on the X100 better, as they feel firmer and are definitely easier to locate from most angles.
To continue the comparison between the two light units, the Molus X100 uses the same DynaVort Cooling System (DVCS) as the Molus G60, although the fan setup is significantly larger here due to increased light output. Zhiyun claims the DVCS is based on the fluid dynamics and attitude-control algorithm – all I know is that it does its job well and doesn't sound like a fighter jet trying to fly past me at low altitude.
Zhiyun Molus X100 review: features
The Zhiyun Molus X100 has a maximum power output of 100 Watts and a colour temperature range of 2700K-6500K, the latter of which is the same as the smaller Molus G60 unit. The maximum light output at 1 metre (approx. 3.3 feet) is just under 4,000 lux (3,881 lux, to be precise), and the light can be dimmed from zero to 100 per cent using the bottom dial on the side of the unit.
You also get Bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to control the light via the ZY Vega app. This is also where you can toggle stuff, such as the Music and Live modes. Music Mode isn't found on the smaller Molus G60 unit, making the Molus X100 react to sound and sim the light accordingly.
On the other hand, Live Mode allows you to turn on multiple lights at once via the app, perfect for a one-person crew (like me). You can set up and control various Zhiyun light units in the ZY Vega app – e.g. your preferred lighting setup for recording videos at home – and make them come alive with a touch of a button on your smartphone. Handy!
The Zhiyun Molus X100 weighs only 385g (approx. 13.6oz) and has two quarter-inch threaded holes for easy mounting on lighting tripods. The additional battery grip doubles the weight (adds another 439g/ 15.5oz) and allows you to run the light for 30 minutes (at 100W).
Zhiyun Molus X100 review: performance
I love the Zhiyun Molus X100 for the same reason I love the Molus G60: it's simple to use and has just the right features to help budding content creators spread their creative wings. Unlike traditional studio lights, the Molus X100 is dumb-proof; all you have to do is turn it on using the self-explanatory red circular button, adjust the dials accordingly, and start shooting.
The DynaVort Cooling System is magic and lets you use the light for as long as you want. I had it on for hours on end on occasions, and although you can tell the Molus X100 has warmed up significantly – there are stickers on it saying some parts of the unit can get warm during use – it never scalded me or made too much noise during shooting videos.
The light output is excellent, and I like the versatility offered by the different lighting modes, colour temperatures and dimming options. It would be fantastic if the Molus X100 had an RGB light function with different setup options in the app.
Just imagine how cool it would be if there were templates on the ZY Vega app to create different mood lighting for your videos. You could set your key light warmer and cast a cool blue halo around you with a fill light coming in from the side/behind. However, I appreciate that would complicate the Molus lights, which is the complete opposite of what they are for.
Zhiyun Molus X100 review: verdict
Zhiyun's main aim with the Molus range is to democratise studio lighting. To achieve this, the company had to reduce all unnecessary features and keep the bare minimum. That bare minimum, though, is more than enough for most people, especially content creators, streamers, and mobile on-the-go videographers who need some versatility without the hassle.
The Molus X100 isn't just a happy medium between the ultra-compact Molus G60 and the monster Molus G200. It's a superb, compact COB light that offers a lot of value for money for those who want to up their lighting game. Thanks to its portability while using the battery grip, I'd recommend the Molus X100 for people who like to shoot on location and don't like being bogged down by cables.