Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digicam Help > Flash (External)

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Nov 24, 2009, 5:14 PM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 63
Default Why ring light flashes?

If you guys could humor me. Why do some photographers like using ring flash. I see on the examples on the Expoimaging.net website that the results are more natural. Less harsh compared to direct flash. Giving you that "studio look" from a portable flash. Have any of you used this ring flash or ring flashes in general?

Such as this one by Expoimaging called the "Ray Flash"...


And would it leave a reflected white ring in the subjects eyes? Which might bother some photographers. Though, since you would still need to use your external flash with this ring flash I suppose most would rather use some kind of diffuser like those offered by Lumiquest http://www.lumiquest.com/products/promax-system.htm) since it would give you similar results without the white ring in the eyes of the subject. And I think less cumbersome to setup and use.

Last edited by agc828; Nov 24, 2009 at 5:29 PM.
agc828 is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Nov 24, 2009, 5:40 PM   #2
Senior Member
mtclimber's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Oregon, USA
Posts: 18,143


A ring flash is particularly helpful when taking macro or close-up shots. A ring flash's out put can be finely tuned to give the right amount of light in the exact right spot, thus creating the basis for the "studio look comment.

In the final analysis, it is a very specialized light source. However, for a photographer doing lots and lots of macro photos, it is an especially good light solution.

Have a great day and a Happy Thanksgiving.

Sarah Joyce
mtclimber is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 24, 2009, 8:26 PM   #3
Senior Member
VTphotog's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Extreme Northeastern Vermont, USA
Posts: 4,164

Ring flashes, as Sarah says, are intended mostly for macro work. As such, they normally have a diffuse lens for even illumination at close ranges. Used for portraits, they give nice, even light, but, as you mention, do often show a ring reflection in subject's eye (or glasses). It won't eliminate redeye, though, being directly in line with the camera lens, so you would only want to use it for fill when general illumination is good.
VTphotog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 24, 2009, 11:39 PM   #4
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 63

Ok thanks people.

I also ask because I've seen them used by reportage photographers as well for portraits.

My only problems with this kind of flash is that it will likely create a white ring reflection in the subjects eyes or glasses. Would you really want that in your photos? Personal choice. And that this "Ray Flash" is put on "top" of the external flash. making for a monsterous handheld camera setup.

I think the Lumiquest diffuser is more flexible as you can swap in different reflectors (e.g. silver, gold...etc.), no white ring reflection, and less imposing.

But as you both mentioned for macro photography I can see it's benefit.

I'll be picking up the Lumiquest diffuser kit in the end any how. That or the Gary Fong diffuser. Both very effective.
agc828 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 25, 2009, 12:20 AM   #5
neilcrichton's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Claresholm, AB, Canada
Posts: 79

Ring lights were originally intended for close-ups, where nearly shadowless lighting was required. They appear to used a lot for photographing items on a white background for use on e-Bay. There are far better ways to get diffuse lighting for portraits and other subjects. Bounce flash is one. And yes, the Gary Fong Lightsphere works very well. He's got a new one in the stores now, a little one for pop-up flashes. It isn't for P&S cameras, because it fits on the camera's hot shoe. Just got one yesterday. Seems to work okay, but not as well as the lightsphere on an external flash. It reduces contrast in the photo quite a bit, although that's easily fixed.
neilcrichton is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 8:45 PM.