Anyway the 96 sounds like a good deal too!!! Let us know what you think when it arrives.
Well the TecPro Z96 light arrived. First impressions:
Solid Build - nothing flimsy. The screw in hot shoe attachment with ball head adjustment holds well. Internal battery compartment (for 5 AA's) is rather difficult to open, until you get the hang of it. The attachment for Sony L Series LiION batteries is on the back exterior. Unfortunately M series batteries dont fit, as I was hoping, as I have several from my old Sony DV cam.
Reasonably heavy - havent actually weighed it, but spec is 188g w/o batteries. With my GS400 I'd likely use it more on a tripod or on my DIY figgy-rig, or else as a stand-alone fill light on a mini-tripod.
Magnetic clip on diffuser plate is a neat feature. Also comes with a CTO (Daylight to Tungsten) diffuser plate. I think I'd prefer to slip a gel behind the regular diffuser plate. 1/4 CTO should bring it down to around 4500, around the same as my Sima SL-20LX LED lights (edit: which are not dimmable, but dont flicker
First tests with five fully charged Duracell 2450 mAh rechargeable AA's:
Nice evenly diffused beam (even with w/o diffuser plate). No obvious hotspots. Cant verify that color temp is actually 5600K, but it looks about right with no obvious blue or green tint.
The light is rated at 800 lux (I would assume that is at 1m). Dont have a light meter to verify but, with my GS400 (16:9, fully auto mode, no zoom) at 1m (against white projection screen), full power registers an aperture of f4.0 0db, with or without the regular diffuser plate. My two Sima lights (rated 600 lumens each, according to product specs) linked together achieve f3.4 and the beam is not as well diffused.
The dimmer control is not the best. It's continuous, rather than incremental, but shows some flashes of brightness and one or two points of flicker in the last (quarter turn) to full power. The main gripe -
after around 25 mins on full power, continuous flickering sets in, as other people have noted. I guess the only recourse is to try with a Sony L Series battery (or economical substitute). http://cheesycam.com/z96-led-flicker-test-with-sony-battery/
There is an option for direct DC supply (5.8 - 16.8V) which I might try if I can find a suitable adapter, but obviously the main appeal is as a portable battery powered light.
If, as others have found, using a Sony L Series battery avoids/delays the flicker problem, I guess I'll be OK with it, but I'm glad I didnt pay more than $60. PS - Can anyone recommend a good (and cheaper) alternative to the genuine Sony L series (NP-570/770/970) LiION batteries?