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Old Apr 8, 2009, 7:38 PM   #1
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Anyone have any experience with ring flash? Want to use it for fill flash on portraits and head shots. Most are pretty pricey-any input would be appreciated. Thanks
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Old Apr 8, 2009, 8:39 PM   #2
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Hi DMJJR,

I don't have any real experience, but I've done some research considering the alternatives. For P-TTL operation, the least costly would probably be the Saturn Ring Flash Adapter with a P-TTL compatible flash. It's half the price of an Orbis or Ray (@ $100 USD as opposed to @ $200). The Saturn transmits a bit less light -- which probably won't hurt you for your main purpose. I've read enough testimonials to come to the conclusion that this would probably work for my purposes.

They could also be used with a good used high-end manual/Auto flash which are available for literally pennies on the original dollar since they aren't digital compatible -- so you could get into one for significantly less than $200 total including the gun and the ring adapter. With some additional used guns, this could be made into a pretty inexpensive and very portable studio lighting setup.

One of the downsides of all of these fiber optic ring adapters is that they don't fix to the lens, so some users have complained that they have to hold on to the unit while operating the camera, but I'm pretty confident that something could be worked out to support it more firmly in the area of the lens. Shouldn't be too hard to figure something out.

All of the "real" P-TTL ring flashes are a bit pricey for me (and the amount that I'd probably use it)-- but at least they're available now -- a much better situation than just a year ago. . . I'd consider the Sigma, Pentax, and Metz units about equally over the Promaster for these -- purely from reputation. I'd check to make sure that it could be used as a wireless P-TTL master if you think that you might be using other P-TTL flashes as remote wireless TTL slaves (some will work for this, and others won't).

Another one to consider would be the Pentax AF 140C -- especially if you have a D or DS body. TTL compatible -- so it could work in that mode with those bodies only, or Auto Thyristor capable which could work with any system -- but OEM quality available for a lot less than the 160. This could also be used with optical slaves as remotes for a very inexpensive and portable studio setup. (Last time I looked, there were two used units available at KEH.)

Scott
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Old Apr 8, 2009, 8:47 PM   #3
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Thanks for all the info-looks like I have some investigating to do. Appreciate your input.
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Old Apr 8, 2009, 9:06 PM   #4
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If you get a ring flash, be sure it has a modeling light feature and is separably adjustable at least for each half, otherwise the illumination can be disappointingly flat. You might want to consider a ring light rather than a flash - there are some good ones using newer LED technology - Digi-Slave has some good ones. With these you can preview your lighting and don't have to wait for the image to be recorded to see what you have gotten. The one I have is a smaller model and is not as bright as a flash, but it adjustable both side-to-side and in intensity and is great for close-ups and macro work.
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Old Apr 9, 2009, 8:04 PM   #5
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penolta wrote:
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If you get a ring flash, be sure it has a modeling light feature and is separably adjustable at least for each half, otherwise the illumination can be disappointingly flat. You might want to consider a ring light rather than a flash - there are some good ones using newer LED technology - Digi-Slave has some good ones. With these you can preview your lighting and don't have to wait for the image to be recorded to see what you have gotten. The one I have is a smaller model and is not as bright as a flash, but it adjustable both side-to-side and in intensity and is great for close-ups and macro work.
i agree,
but you can always tape one side w/black tape (which i've never tried)... i've tried a ring flash and a ring light.. but always end up using a grip and off camera flash with a diffuser...

roy
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