Sirui’s new light, the B25R, literally puts a twist on traditional studio lights. The defining feature of the B25R – a constant, RGB strip light – is the ability to articulate and curve individual sections of the light to turn it into a wraparound source. Is this feature a must-have for your studio? That’s what I’ll cover in today’s review.
Features of the B25R Light
The Sirui B25R is a 25-watt RGB light. It’s capable of putting out white light between 2700K and 8500K, along with colorful light via an HSL or RGB mode.
The B25R is about 23 inches / 0.6 meters in length with a width of 3 inches / 75mm. It serves a similar purpose to something like a Paul C Buff Stripbox, meaning that it’s good for photographing small objects in the studio or acting as a fill light (especially if you need a color light source).
At 25 watts, the B25R won’t enable you to freeze action or counter daylight, but few LED sources are really capable of that. Instead, when looking at both the form-factor and output, it’s clear this light is meant for studio use.
Considering this, the dual power source option comes in handy. The light supports power from a wall outlet as well as from the pseudo-standard NP-F970 Sony battery. You change which power source you’re using just by flipping the power switch.
The individual LEDs on the B25R are visible through a small amount of frosted plastic diffusion material. On the back is the control interface, composed of four buttons and a small LCD panel, as well as the battery mount and a tripod mount. On the bottom is one additional tripod mount.
The B25R is quite capable in the quality of its light. The light is rated for a TLCI of 96 and a CRI of 98, and in comparison with other high CRI light sources, I found this light to be indistinguishable both to my eye and in photographs.
Because the light is distributed throughout the strip, the “punch” of the light is reduced a bit. Both the diffusion and the dispersed nature of the LEDs further intensifies this effect, leading to a relatively soft light source.
The light can get reasonably bright for the overall small size. For reference, the light is rated for 1000 lux at .5 meters, although I don’t feel that this measurement is particularly intuitive. Instead, think about this light as being sufficient for lighting a person at a bit over a meter/yard away.
In my testing, I was getting great handheld results at ISO 400, f/5.6, and 1/125th of a second, without much ambient light contribution, and with the B25R a few feet away from the subject. That won’t break any records, but it’s plenty for use as a video light, fill light, or studio light for tripod-based product photography.
As far as heat and output are concerned, I had no problem using the light even at 100% brightness for extended periods. The front of the light warmed up, but it never felt hot or started to dim. This is very important for a constant light like the B25R.
For use with video, I noticed no flickering at up to 60fps, both at max brightness and at a range of lower power values. In testing with my iPhone at max brightness, there was no flicker at 240fps, although I only tested it at full output.
The 16 special effect modes – which include simulating camera flashes, disco lighting, broken bulbs, candles, and fire truck lights – all work well for video usage. The special effect modes can be further tweaked in terms of cycle duration and intensity. This makes them far more useful than the special effect modes on some other lights.
The Sirui B25R light supports Bluetooth via a proprietary app, allowing for adjustments at up to 50 feet / 15 meters. While supporting remote control via a phone is nice, I’m not a huge fan of having a separate proprietary app. Since this type of light isn’t usually used at a distance anyway, I’ve preferred just to stick with the physical controls.
Lighting controls can be a bit subjective, with some users preferring a particular interface over others. That said, Sirui’s current implementation isn’t particularly inspiring to me, with four buttons: modes, mode functions, up, and down.
While this setup works fine, it’s not particularly easy to jump between modes or switch between high and low values for settings like brightness and RGB values.
The buttons themselves are a bit small, while the label text in dark blue has low contrast against the body, requiring you to know the buttons by memory when using the light.
I’d love to see the button labels switch to white, or even being backlit, in a future version of the light. Adding better controls would also help – even just a max/min toggle button to change the light’s output more quickly.
This light’s headline feature is that it bends – but I find this feature unnecessary in most scenes in practice.
Once bent, the light does “curve” around the subject a bit more, but the effect is minimal. A second light or reflector can often accomplish something very similar, although naturally the B25R is quicker to use and set up than multiple light sources.
The following side-by-side shows the light at full curve and no curve, with it positioned directly outside the frame. You be the judge, but to me, this shows that the curve just isn’t necessary for a lot of subjects.
That said, maybe Sirui’s official product photo will convince you of a situation where you’ll need this feature:
I’d say that there are some cases – mostly with small subjects – where the curve can be a useful feature. I’m not dismissing it completely.
But I wouldn’t buy this light specifically for the bend. Instead, if you’re looking for a LED source that’s closer to the strip-light format, compared to a conventional rectangular panel, this light is a good option.
To me, the real value of the B25R comes from having an LED source with an unusual aspect ratio. Being able to create tall catchlights and reflections – with less complexity than a full strip-box setup like the Paul C Buff modifier I mentioned earlier – is the true strength of the light. It’s certainly a good choice for product photos as a result.
Overall, the B25R is a good option for photographers or videographers looking to add a special form factor, RGB capability, or pseudo-strip light option to their continuous lighting kit. The curvability didn’t end up being as useful as I expected, and the button layout has room for improvement, but it’s a solid light overall, and a good price.
The B25R light is available now from Sirui. The usual price is $199, but because it’s so new, there’s an early-bird price of $159 until December 13, 2022.
Sirui B25R Bendable RGB Light
- Light Quality
- Ease of Use
Photography Life Overall Rating