Review Falcon Eyes F7 mini LED lamp
Review of the Falcon Eyes F7 5W lighting unit
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Keith has been looking at the Falcon Eyes F7 Mini LED variable RGB colour lamp.
It has an internal 3.7V 2600maH battery and provides full RGB control over lighting as well as continuous white lighting with a corrected colour temperature range from 2500K to 9000K
The device is available from a variety of suppliers
F7 Mini – portable light source
The Falconeyes Mini is a lightweight battery powered light source that provides multi-colour and white lighting at a range of colour temperatures.
- I’ve also produced a short (7m 30s) YT video looking at this lighting unit
The device itself is palm sized and only weighs ~130g. It’s powered by an internal battery (USB-C charged) and in testing let me use it for several hours. It’s rated at 90 mins at full power, and can be charged/powered from a USB powerbank, giving useful accessory lighting for smaller product photography.
It has a number of ‘effects’ more suited for video use (flashing lights of various sorts and colours) and includes full colour modes which emulate assorted colour gels. One interesting trick, if using the remote control phone app is to be able to use the phones camera to pick a colour and set the device to output that colour.
I’ve been trying it as an accessory for my stills photography, particularly with using it to provide additional lighting inside machinery for my industrial photography.
What do you get
The unit comes in a very nice box, and has a soft bag for all accessories.
- F7 Mini RGB Light
- Honeycomb Grid
- USB Charging Cable
- Adjustable Arm / Cold Shoe Mount
There are a lot of LEDs under the diffuse front panel. Taking note of these explains the basic lighting functionality and the light levels the device is capable of putting out.
There are 24 0.5W white and 24 0.5W yellow LEDs in square groups. These provide the ‘white’ light at a colour temperature from 2500K to 9000 K.
Inside each group of white/yellow LEDs is a 0.5W RGB LED.These contain three coloured LEDs in a single package and can be independently adjusted to give a particular RGB mix.
These LEDs can be used to give a colour adjustment to the white LEDs, or on their own to give a wider colour range,
Here is a white light with two different tint settings added.
First a green adjustment:
Secondly, a Magenta adjustment.
The colours in the photo here are not quite accurate – with the white LEDs at minimum (1%) the coloured LEDs have difficulty in going low enough. At brighter settings and with the diffuser. the light does just look a different ±G/M tint.
At full brightness however, the RGB LEDs are not bright enough for very strong tints.
The white LEDS give the brightest output, but are not used for the RGB settings.
It is possible to see the individual colours in the RGB LEDs.
The F7 mini comes with two rubber clip on light modifiers, a diffuser and a honeycomb directional modifier.
The white diffuser is several millimetres away from the front of the F7, making the diffusion more effective.
At higher brightnesses you won’t spot the colour differences nearly as much as in this photo.
The back of the unit has two magnets which are very good at attaching the unit. Just don’t keep the F7 mini in your pocket if you have a wallet with credit cards…
The tripod bush can accept an arca style plate if needed.
Here’s the F7 mounted on a tripod arm.
Controlling the F7 Mini
The device can be set using the controls and screen, or via an app.
The manual (a single folded sheet) is I’m afraid of relatively little help, with text so fine that I needed my extra powerful close work glasses on to read the English bits.
Fortunately, once you get the hang of the way the controls work, it relatively easy to use.
The phone app
Even easier (just needing my normal reading glasses) is to use the bluetooth based phone app. I tested it on an iPhone (android available), where pairing was a simple operation. I note that it can control multiple F7 units.
The screen simply switches between modes with pretty simple interfaces to control settings. I noticed that you sometimes needed to change a setting on the new mode to get the unit to adjust output.
The display options (from the Falcon Eyes F7 mini product page)
Here’s white light at a candle like 2800K
The 5500K and 7000K settings are much less obviously different, but remember that showing this in photos depends on the white balance of the camera, so just under 5000K here, matching the CFL lighting on my small product photo table.
These are shot at fairly low settings to emphasise the different colour LEDs
5500K – note the settings also visible on the F7 display.
7K – mostly the white LEDs
Switching to RGB mode, the HSL selector is easy to use.
A more saturated and purer green.
or a purple…
These will be far more familiar to video and large studio users, but a range of filter effects are available. I don’t use such filters so can’t comment on their accuracy.
Colour accuracy and camera profiles
Experience with LED lighting tells me that whilst it’s improved a lot over recent years, if you want more accurate colour rendition then making a custom DNG camera profile can help.
With the free ColorChecker camera calibration software you can create a profile for a single light setup, or if it’s variable make a dual illuminant (DI) one. See my LED ring light review for more detail about profiles and making them.
For the DI one I just took two well exposed shots of my ColorChecker Passport, lit with the F7 set to 3500K and 5000K. The RAW files need converting to DNG for the software (Adobe have a free application for this).
You just drop the files into the software, and a while later you are prompted to name it – do make sure to give it a meaningful name.
Whilst I’ve used 3500K + 5000K, you could pick a different range if it better fitted in with the sorts of lighting conditions you were using with the F7.
The profile appears as an option when processing my RAW camera files in Adobe camera RAW. The software also supports making camera ICC profiles.
You can’t actually see a huge change when using the profile, which is a good thing since it suggests that the colour rendition of the white lighting is fairly good.
However, this animated GIF flicks between using the profile and the default for the camera (an EOS RP).
Not a big difference, but important when shooting coloured products.
These are dynamic light changes, so obviously a video feature. If you need a warm lightsource just out of shot to simulate a candle or TV (with flicker) the the F7 mini will do it for you.
Using the F7 mini
Whilst I do my utmost to make photos of machinery interesting and relevant, sometimes a splash of colour helps. Setting up lighting and changing coloured gels on flash heads is time consuming and may not be warranted for some shots, yet alone the difficulty of repeated access to change settings.
Having a remotely variable coloured light is just useful and at around £50 won’t break the bank.
These two pictures were taken of an old 120 camera in the studio – the F7 with diffuser is behind the camera. The colour and lighting were set via my phone from the other side of the room. No, I don’t much like coloured backgrounds like this but I have clients that do…
I get quite a few craft people contacting me to ask about ways they can improve their product photography. Whilst we do more formal bespoke training, that’s for bigger businesses. I’ve tested a few lighting/photography products over the years that are a useful help for very simple product photography, such as on a windowsill using just a phone.
A simple photo of a plant on my kitchen windowsill. The day is overcast – and excellent soft diffuse light which can work well.
The first shot shows just the window light.
It might be thought that the on-camera flash would help, but unless you are looking for a harsh flat light, it’s rarely a good choice
Using the F7 (and diffuser) held just out of shot.
The first example is the F7 working in ‘white’ mode, with full brightness and a colour temperature set at 4800K. Somewhat warmer than the daylight.
Putting the temperature up to 5800K gives a cooler looking fill light.
Of course, changing daylight will throw off the lighting and colours, but an adjustable light source like this and maybe a bit of white card to reflect some daylight back makes for a good simple lighting setup.
With a desk lamp
The F7 is variable enough to also work as a fill or accent light if you were using a desk lamp as your main light.
The lamp here is a 40W incandescent halogen lamp, with a colour temperature probably around 2900K.
The F7 is set to 2900K. The photo is a from a RAW camera file so as to make it easier to white balance the image, however the main point is that the lighting from the F7 is so close to the main lamp.
To get an even better match, you might need to experiment with the best settings for the F7.
The F7 Mini feels quite solid for its light weight, but is delicate enough that the pouch with accessories is where it would be kept in my camera bag.
The phone app is easy to use, but do remember that the very brightest light only comes with the ‘white’ setting around 5000K where the white/yellow LEDs are both active. For strong primary colours you are relying on 1/3 of the RGB LED. The small size of the light does mean that light falls off quite quickly with increasing distance – that can be a nuisance or a creative feature depending on just what you need.
The battery lifetime depends on the sort of light and intensity – so over an hour with white and likely several hours with RGB – I didn’t test this fully since it was still going strong after a couple of hours experimenting. It charges via USB-C and with my Powerbank it seems to run off the USB too – giving a lengthy period of working.
The F7 Mini isn’t going to fill a studio with light – then again it’s not for that. Where I see it being of use is for people photographing small products needing coloured accent light effects or simply shadow fill to complement daylight or a larger lamp. Two units or one combined with the larger and more powerful F7 II [product info] would make a useful tabletop photo setup for small items, particularly with the ability to control light colour and brightness from a phone, whilst standing at the camera or looking at a tethered camera view on a screen.
For my own work it’s most useful inside machinery or in an interior shot where I need a small amount of light of a particular colour temperature, without the time and expense of rigging a full lighting setup.
- Model : F7 Mini
- Output : 5W
- LEDs : 24pcs x 0.5W<W> / 24pcs x 0.5W<T> / 12pcs x 0.5W<RGB>
- Voltage : 5V 2A – 5V 3A
- Battery Capacity : 3.7V / 2600mAh
- Runtime : 90 minutes (full power at 5600K)
- Beam Angle : 58°
- Bi-Colour : 2500K-9000K
- HSI : Hue (0-360) / Saturation 0-100 / Intensity 0-100%
- Effect Scenes : multiple
- USB Type-C Charging : USB Type-C port
- CRI: 96
- LUX (2500K) : 0.3M 1690 / 0.5M 537 / 1M 124 / 2M 35
- LUX (5600K) : 0.3M 1900 / 0.5M 612/ 1M 145/ 2M 39
- Dimension : 100 x 71 x 18mm
- Weight : 132g
- Magnetic Attachment : Yes
- DESAL Lite (Bluetooth Remote APP Control)
- Quick Selection of 2800K / 3200K / 4000K / 5500K / 6000K / 7000K
- Stepless adjustment from 2500K-9000K
- Adjustment of Red / Green / Blue colours from 0-255
- Adjustment of Hue / Saturation / Intensity from 0-360
Colour Gel Mode
Selection of various colors from LEE and ROSCO colour gels
Effect Scenes Mode (may vary)
- Police Car / Ambulance / Fire Truck / Lightning 1 / Lightning 2 / HSI (Slow) / HSI (Fast) / TV / Candle / Paparazzi / Strobe / High/Low Beam / Double Flash (Hazard) / Gathering 1 / Gathering 2 / Breathing / Red Flash / Green Flash / Blue Flash / RGB Flash
Picture Colour Mode
- Allows you to take picture or upload a picture for the DESAL Lite APP to recognize its colour and to set the F7 Mini to that colour
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