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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 03 Jan 2010 (Sunday) 14:55
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Review of portable Ringflash (RayFlash style)

 
Swaffs
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Jan 03, 2010 14:55 |  #1

After a few weeks away for Xmas, I recently came home to find my latest purchase had arrived.

I had read on the holy grail of small lighting websites Strobist.com (external link)of these portable ringflashes, and decided to have a go myself.

Ringflashes come in two varieties, powered dedicated units from the likes of Alien Bees, and lightweight portable versions that clip onto the front of a regular speedlite.
Rather than rattle on about them, theres a usefull video here;
http://www.youtube.com​/watch?v=9wW6HmpeHaU (external link) (hold out for the english speaking)

The general opinion I was seeing was that Rayflash was a popular choice, and a favourite in the Strobist camp. The only problem was the cost, several hundred's of pounds (GBP)

It didn't take long to find a cheaper alternative on ebay for just £29!

Clearly they are just copying the template, but for under £30 I had to give it a go.

Here are some shots of the flash unit. It reminds me of those home made 'Angel Eye's' that people have been putting in their headlights.

IMAGE: http://www.swaffs.co.uk/images/2010/RSJan2010-Ringflash/RS10JanRingflash-5389.jpg

The unit is made os plastic and has no moving parts at all, it is just basically a light modifier.
IMAGE: http://www.swaffs.co.uk/images/2010/RSJan2010-Ringflash/RS10JanRingflash-5394.jpg

There is a velcro strap at the top for fitting to the flash head, and they fit various models. (more info about compatibility later)
IMAGE: http://www.swaffs.co.uk/images/2010/RSJan2010-Ringflash/RS10JanRingflash-5392.jpg

IMAGE: http://www.swaffs.co.uk/images/2010/RSJan2010-Ringflash/RS10JanRingflash-5457.jpg
The unti slides onto the flash head and the lens pokes through the ring.

IMAGE: http://www.swaffs.co.uk/images/2010/RSJan2010-Ringflash/RS10JanRingflash-5452.jpg


There are two primary reasons for using ring flash, they are often used in fashiopn/portrait shoots, and also macro use. AS I didn't have any models nearby, I decided to shoot some macro subjects with the ring on and off for comparison.

For all of these shots the subject was placed in a light tent and either illuminated from a naked flash on the camera's hotshoe, or witrh the ringflash fitted to the same flash.
IMAGE: http://www.swaffs.co.uk/images/2010/RSJan2010-Ringflash/RS10JanRingflash-5444.jpg

I used a 5D MkII, and 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens in AV mode at f/6.3 and ISO 1600.

Rich Swaffs, Sports & Event photographer.
WWW.SWAFFSPHOTOGRAPHY.​CO.UK (external link)
1DMKIII x 2 | 5DMKII | WFT-E2 | SIGMA 10-20 | SIGMA 24-70 f/2.8 | CANON 24-105 f/4 L IS | CANON 85 f/1.2 L II | CANON 100 f/2.8 Macro | CANON 70-200 f/2.8 L IS | CANON 400 f/2.8 L | 580 EX | 1.4 & 2.0 Extenders| Tubes| Strobes| Bags | PW Flex TT1/TT5/Plus II's

  
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Swaffs
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Jan 03, 2010 15:01 |  #2

Ok here are a few shots from my test, I don't have much to add specifically to each set other than it is clearly noticeable theat the ringflashes loses about 1 stop of flash light.

IMAGE: http://www.swaffs.co.uk/images/2010/RSJan2010-Ringflash/RS10JanRingflash-5381.jpg
IMAGE: http://www.swaffs.co.uk/images/2010/RSJan2010-Ringflash/RS10JanRingflash-5384.jpg

IMAGE: http://www.swaffs.co.uk/images/2010/RSJan2010-Ringflash/RS10JanRingflash-5396.jpg
IMAGE: http://www.swaffs.co.uk/images/2010/RSJan2010-Ringflash/RS10JanRingflash-5397.jpg

IMAGE: http://www.swaffs.co.uk/images/2010/RSJan2010-Ringflash/RS10JanRingflash-5398.jpg
IMAGE: http://www.swaffs.co.uk/images/2010/RSJan2010-Ringflash/RS10JanRingflash-5399.jpg

IMAGE: http://www.swaffs.co.uk/images/2010/RSJan2010-Ringflash/RS10JanRingflash-5401.jpg
IMAGE: http://www.swaffs.co.uk/images/2010/RSJan2010-Ringflash/RS10JanRingflash-5402.jpg

Rich Swaffs, Sports & Event photographer.
WWW.SWAFFSPHOTOGRAPHY.​CO.UK (external link)
1DMKIII x 2 | 5DMKII | WFT-E2 | SIGMA 10-20 | SIGMA 24-70 f/2.8 | CANON 24-105 f/4 L IS | CANON 85 f/1.2 L II | CANON 100 f/2.8 Macro | CANON 70-200 f/2.8 L IS | CANON 400 f/2.8 L | 580 EX | 1.4 & 2.0 Extenders| Tubes| Strobes| Bags | PW Flex TT1/TT5/Plus II's

  
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constrict
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Jan 03, 2010 15:02 |  #3

I thought about getting one of these for concert/event coverage but I don't like how it covers the AF assist beam and I'm not getting a feeling that it would fit when using a speedlight on top of a Pocketwizard Flex.


5D | 5DIII | 1DIV| 16-35 f2.8L II | 24-70 f2.8L II | 70-200 f2.8L IS II | 24 f1.4L II | 35 f1.4L | 50mm f1.4 | 85mm f1.2 II
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Swaffs
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Jan 03, 2010 15:03 as a reply to  @ Swaffs's post |  #4

IMAGE: http://www.swaffs.co.uk/images/2010/RSJan2010-Ringflash/RS10JanRingflash-5403.jpg
IMAGE: http://www.swaffs.co.uk/images/2010/RSJan2010-Ringflash/RS10JanRingflash-5404.jpg

These next two show the ringlfash's advantages, the softer surrounding shadows, not only reduce hard shadow, but also enhance the 3 Dimensions.

IMAGE: http://www.swaffs.co.uk/images/2010/RSJan2010-Ringflash/RS10JanRingflash-5411.jpg
IMAGE: http://www.swaffs.co.uk/images/2010/RSJan2010-Ringflash/RS10JanRingflash-5413.jpg

IMAGE: http://www.swaffs.co.uk/images/2010/RSJan2010-Ringflash/RS10JanRingflash-5416.jpg
IMAGE: http://www.swaffs.co.uk/images/2010/RSJan2010-Ringflash/RS10JanRingflash-5417.jpg

IMAGE: http://www.swaffs.co.uk/images/2010/RSJan2010-Ringflash/RS10JanRingflash-5432.jpg
IMAGE: http://www.swaffs.co.uk/images/2010/RSJan2010-Ringflash/RS10JanRingflash-5433.jpg

Rich Swaffs, Sports & Event photographer.
WWW.SWAFFSPHOTOGRAPHY.​CO.UK (external link)
1DMKIII x 2 | 5DMKII | WFT-E2 | SIGMA 10-20 | SIGMA 24-70 f/2.8 | CANON 24-105 f/4 L IS | CANON 85 f/1.2 L II | CANON 100 f/2.8 Macro | CANON 70-200 f/2.8 L IS | CANON 400 f/2.8 L | 580 EX | 1.4 & 2.0 Extenders| Tubes| Strobes| Bags | PW Flex TT1/TT5/Plus II's

  
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Swaffs
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Jan 03, 2010 15:04 |  #5

constrict wrote in post #9315905 (external link)
I thought about getting one of these for concert/event coverage but I don't like how it covers the AF assist beam and I'm not getting a feeling that it would fit when using a speedlight on top of a Pocketwizard Flex.

I'm just getting to that.... ;)


Rich Swaffs, Sports & Event photographer.
WWW.SWAFFSPHOTOGRAPHY.​CO.UK (external link)
1DMKIII x 2 | 5DMKII | WFT-E2 | SIGMA 10-20 | SIGMA 24-70 f/2.8 | CANON 24-105 f/4 L IS | CANON 85 f/1.2 L II | CANON 100 f/2.8 Macro | CANON 70-200 f/2.8 L IS | CANON 400 f/2.8 L | 580 EX | 1.4 & 2.0 Extenders| Tubes| Strobes| Bags | PW Flex TT1/TT5/Plus II's

  
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Swaffs
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Jan 03, 2010 15:14 |  #6

One consideration before buying one is that they are not adjustable so you need to find they corect size...

Here's is the size guide:

IMAGE: http://www.swaffs.co.uk/images/2010/RSJan2010-Ringflash/RS10JanRingflash-sizes.jpg

as I have a 1DIII and 5DII, a 580EX and 430EX I wasn't going to find one size to fit all.

However my other concern was that I use Pocket Wizards Flex TTL system, and need to have the mini unit between the camera and flash.

Thankfully my choice of the RF170 just fits with 5DII PW Mini and 430EX flash, I must admit, the ring is close to rubbing the lens but it all works, and I can trigger other flex units.

Another consideration is that the unit obscures the IR AF beam which can be a pain for achieving focus in low light.

However for £30 I think it's a very usefull tool to have in the bag, and hope to use it more over the next few weeks. I will of course feedback my findings.

Please feel free to share your comments/experiences of these devices. Also if you'd like to see anything else then just ask.

Rich Swaffs, Sports & Event photographer.
WWW.SWAFFSPHOTOGRAPHY.​CO.UK (external link)
1DMKIII x 2 | 5DMKII | WFT-E2 | SIGMA 10-20 | SIGMA 24-70 f/2.8 | CANON 24-105 f/4 L IS | CANON 85 f/1.2 L II | CANON 100 f/2.8 Macro | CANON 70-200 f/2.8 L IS | CANON 400 f/2.8 L | 580 EX | 1.4 & 2.0 Extenders| Tubes| Strobes| Bags | PW Flex TT1/TT5/Plus II's

  
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Dick ­ Emery
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Jan 03, 2010 15:37 |  #7

I'm not seeing much advantage here to be honest. I was mainly thinking of getting one of these for macro work where I can bring the flash closer to the end of the lens. But since it loses so much light it hardly seems worth it.


Canon 450D/XSi (Retired), Canon 70D, Canon 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 STM, Canon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 EF-S IS, Canon 55-250mm f/4.0-5.6 EF-S IS, Canon 80-200mm f/4.5-5.6 EF II, Sigma 30mm F1.4, 430EX Mk I, Canon Powershot S2 IS, Canon Powershot S90 IS, Sigma 1.6x closeup lens.
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Acropora
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Jan 03, 2010 16:45 |  #8

I think this looks interesting for close-ups - doens't matter if it loses some of the light from the flash, what is important is getting the light onto very close subjects, which a normal flash unit mounted up high doesn't do well (for very short distances from lens to subject)


20D, 18-55 IS, 50/1.4, Tamron 18-270 IS

  
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TMR ­ Design
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Jan 03, 2010 17:57 as a reply to  @ Acropora's post |  #9

You may want to also take a look at this:

https://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthre​ad.php?t=641386

These ring flash devices have very limited use and do not exactly replicate the light of a classic ring flash. In my opinion, once you even out the light, they're ok for flat macro lighting, but not much else.

In terms of ring flash adapters that mount to a Speedlight, the Orbis is the better value with the better light.


Robert
RobertMitchellPhotogra​phy (external link)

  
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Swaffs
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Jan 04, 2010 03:53 |  #10

Rob thanks for that, a very interesting writeup.
as I literally took mine out of the box and fired a few shots, I was carefull not to make any immediate conclusions.
Your research has been very informative, and I will look at getting some ND Gel.

I look forward to experimenting with mine, I agree I'm never going to get the full ring flash effect (and to be honest I'm not experienced enough to fully understand what the 'ring flash' effect is)

My plan is to use it more as a fill, as per the strobist articles.


Rich Swaffs, Sports & Event photographer.
WWW.SWAFFSPHOTOGRAPHY.​CO.UK (external link)
1DMKIII x 2 | 5DMKII | WFT-E2 | SIGMA 10-20 | SIGMA 24-70 f/2.8 | CANON 24-105 f/4 L IS | CANON 85 f/1.2 L II | CANON 100 f/2.8 Macro | CANON 70-200 f/2.8 L IS | CANON 400 f/2.8 L | 580 EX | 1.4 & 2.0 Extenders| Tubes| Strobes| Bags | PW Flex TT1/TT5/Plus II's

  
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SnlpeR
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Jan 04, 2010 10:11 as a reply to  @ Swaffs's post |  #11

btw..the rubber band on the top of the ring flash is to be put around the flash head so the clamps have better friction




  
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Chairman7w
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Jan 04, 2010 12:59 as a reply to  @ SnlpeR's post |  #12

Cool review, Thanks for posting!

Any chance you could post some close ups of people's faces? Curious to see how the catchlights come out.




  
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Review of portable Ringflash (RayFlash style)
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