Taking the Sirui Dragon Series Bendable RGB Panel light B25R out of the box for the first time and it’s instantly apparent that this is a light like no other. The design is quite different, with the nine light sections interlinked with seven smaller units in the middle and two larger units at either end.
Flipping the light over and on the back is the slot for the NP-F battery along with the control panel and plug for the AC power. The control panel is nice and simple with an M (Mode), Fn (Function) and +, – buttons. It’s about as simple and intuitive as it gets, but it does require a little time with the controls once powered up to get the hang of switching mode, then function and then scrolling through the options with the +- buttons. In reality, compared with some of the other lighting options, this is straightforward to use.
However, with the Sirui dedicated app, the need to use the direct controls is minimal after the initial power is on. The app lets you control the lighting, from the power to colour and effects.
Set-up of the light is easy, and used for straight product photography, moving the light into position is incredibly easy. Usually, you would need two lights at the very least to cast the illumination on the product you want, and then there’s the issue of diffusion. However, due to the flex that enables you to bend the light around the subject directing the light illumination is incredibly easy. What helps even more is the ability to connect additional lights to increase the spread of light further.
While the constant lighting source might not have the power or impact of traditional flash lighting, the results you can gain are not far off. You gain incredible flexibility without the need for multiple lights and diffusers. As ever, with constant lighting, you get to see the exact effect of the lamp before the image is taken rather than a representation from the modelling lights.
One feature that interested me during the use of the dragon light was the ability to connect further lights. Connection comes in two waves; firstly, the physical attachment, where the design enables one light to slot into another so they can be flexed together. This opens up a huge opportunity, especially for product and creative portrait photography. While the lamps physically connect, there isn’t direct communication between the two units; it is just a physical rather than a data bond. To adjust settings, you still need to pop into the control panel and adjust the lighting power, colour temperature or RGB value. However, there is then the section connection option through the app. When one light is connected to the app, you can adjust all the settings, connect another, and then control the two, either individually or both.
Ultimately when it comes to flexibility, the Sirui Dragon Series Bendable RGB Panel light B25R does this physically but also in the workflow. The B25R is an incredibly powerful creative light. The quality of the plastic used is good, but there’s a feeling a slightly different plastic-type could have been used as when bending the light, it is quite creaky. However, this doesn’t affect the performance of the illumination, which is simply outstanding.