At NAB 2023, Zhiyun announced two new LED lights; the Molus G60 (buy here) and X100 (buy here). While not the company’s first LED lights, it is a new market for Zhiyun, and on in which they’ll face some tough competition. To see what the new LED lights could do and have a look at some practical applications for them, we went back to the Zhiyun stand to speak with product photographer Oleksii Hurinenko.
Small LED lights like the Zhiyun Molus G60 are often a product photographer’s best friend. Quite regularly, you need lights that are fairly small, as the products are typically quite small themselves – at least compared to what you’d need for portrait photography. But while the Molus G60 and X100 are small, they are also powerful with 60W and 100W outputs.
Product Photography isn’t easy
A lot of people decide to have a go at product photography thinking that it’s quite simple. And if you’re just shooting very basic (that means boring) photos for eBay listings, then sure, it can be. But to do it properly presents quite a number of challenges. Challenges that you don’t often face with other types of photography, like portraits.
Most products are made from multiple materials with different surface textures, often covered in graphics and logos. Being able to light all these effectively can require some pretty advanced lighting setups with multiple lights, all very finely controlled to present light on a small part of an already small product. With many of the larger lights on the market, getting this level of control can be difficult, if not impossible.
Larger lights may flood too much light on other parts of the scene or you might not physically have the space to be able to put them exactly where you need them to be. Smaller light sources, like the recently announced Zhiyun Molis G60 and X100 LED lights, alleviate both of these issues. They’re much easier to manoeuvre around your set and they’re usually easier to control to get the light where you want it. You can even hold them by hand if you need to – which isn’t exactly easy with big, heavy LED lights and large modifiers.
Breaking it down
The video above isn’t so much a tutorial as it is a breakdown of the lighting setup used to create a particular photo of a can of energy drink. But it shows the versatility of small LED lights and how they can be used in product photography to achieve a very effective look. The scene is built up using several lights, as well as a little smoke, in order to get the final result. Here are each of the steps, adding one element at a time.
This look would be difficult to achieve with larger LED lights due to space constraints. But seeing the image built up in this way, one light at a time, really shows just how effective small LED lights can be, both in terms of appearance as well as the ease with which you can place them in the space you have available.
The Zhiyun Molus G60 is available to pre-order now from $199 and the Zhiyun Molus X100 is available to buy now from $249. You can find out more about the Molus G60 and X100 LED lights here, and to see more of Oleksii’s work, be sure to check out his Instagram.