Review Phottix M500R LED Panel
This is the Phottix M500R, and is much larger than the previously reviewed M200R. Interestingly, the operation and features are pretty much identical. Whereas the M200R had two mounting points, the M500R is large enough to have three. One on the opposite side to the controls, and the other two are on both the top and bottom of the panel.
It also comes supplied with a very high quality light stand mount. It’s made from metal with a good solid locking mechanism. The quality of the mount surprised me, as they are often an afterthought, made of plastic, and rarely durable. Kudos to Phottix!
It is quite large when compared to the M200R. More akin to a small tablet in size. The case is metal and certainly built to be carried around. Although a little more thought may need to be put into how you carry or pack it. Whereas the M200R would replace a power bank, as it’s similar in size to a phone, the M500R would need a space appointed for it n your camera bag. Weight wise, it’s heavier, obviously, with it being larger. The M200R weighed 200g, whereas the M500R is 992g. But, whilst the M200R has a maximum output of 10W, the M500R is more than double at 24W, which is quite a bit brighter.
The OLED display panel is nice and clear, and found in the upper right corner of the rear of the panel.
Controls for the unit are along the right side, when viewed from behind. From top to bottom, you have Power, Mode, Select/Adjust and Brightness.
The power switch is self explanatory. The mode button allows you to select CCT (the default mode), HSI (Hue or Saturation) and lastly, Effects.
CCT: Brightness dial adjusts the brightness, obviously. The set/adjust switch allows you to adjust the colour temperature between 3200K and 5600K. This is the basic mode for the standard operation of the unit.
HSI: Pressing the select/adjust switch lets you select between H (hue) and S (saturation). Turning the same switch, lets you select the desired colour hue from 0 to 360°. Or the desired colour saturation fro 0 to 100.
Effects: Pressing the select/adjustment switch lets you select from the range of effects. There are 21 effects in total, including flash, candle, police, strobe lights, chase, fireworks and club. Once the effect has been chosen, turning the select/adjustment switch will then allow you to choose from three variations of each effect.
Video and film makers will certainly find the effects useful. Personally, I doubt I’ll likely use them as a stills photographer. But as Mr. Bond once said, “Never say never!”.
Like the M200R, there are two USB sockets. A USB-C is the charge port, and can be charged via numerous options, from socket adaptors to laptop or PCs. Whilst Phottix recommended the M200R wasn’t charged whilst in use, as the unit would likely become warm enough for the overheating protection circuit to cut in, and tun off the unit; The M500R can be used and charged simultaneously, providing the unit isn’t used above a brightness of 45%. The second USB A socket is there so as you can use the M500R as a rather large power bank.
This is very simple product shoot on white. Absolutely nothing fancy. The M500R ws placed camera right on a lightstand, and angled down towards the subject. The created the key light with a nice overall fill. To create the fill and the frame left of the subject, I made use of a silver card. It was simply placed on the table, and moved until I had the amount of fill light I wanted, without the card fouling the frame.
These are the behind the scenes (phone) images, showing the positions of the M500R and card, in relevance to the subject and camera.
This is the same image as the first, but cleaned up for the client.
A great panel to use, and as shown above, extremely capable for product photography, even as a sole light source.
The controls are very straight forward, and to be perfectly honest, it doesn’t take much poking and prodding to work out their use and relevance, should you forget your user manual.
The light stand adaptor was a really nice surprise, as the quality surpasses most of the adaptors I already own. The build quality of the panel is outstanding, and I’d expect it to brush off the knocks and bounces equipment tends to get when used on location.
The range of Phottix LED lights can be found on The Flash Centre website.