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Author Topic: Ring Lights  (Read 3791 times)

beckstoy

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Ring Lights
« on: January 31, 2013, 11:26:04 AM »
Hey, does anyone use Ring Lights for portraits?  If so, LED or what kind?  I'd appreciate some suggestions from anyone who's used one or has an opinion.

Thanks!
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Ring Lights
« on: January 31, 2013, 11:26:04 AM »

brad goda

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Re: Ring Lights
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2013, 08:08:06 AM »
"shiyaa-bah diyee it-tiyeen" < chin down in mandarin lol

Ive only use Profoto ringlight and ringlight with reflector.
great power, accurate consistent output with ultra fast recycle and flash duration.
Pro units are best but not what you could consider handheld/walking portable...
Acute model is packable...
Ive looked at sunpack and other brands for speedlight type ringlights but they dont accommodate
the lens diameter I use...

AdamJ

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Re: Ring Lights
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2013, 02:39:33 PM »
I've been doing a little research into ring flashes myself recently, though primarily for macro rather than portraits. Apart from the default choice of the Canon unit, the nicest third party unit seems to be the Nissin MF18. It's fully featured, accommodates lenses up to 82mm filter thread and has an icon-driven colour display similar to their top hot-shoe flashes. Also, the firmware is updatable via USB.

I've chosen not to consider an LED ring light since they aren't nearly as powerful. I very much doubt an LED unit would be powerful enough for portrait use.

paul13walnut5

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Re: Ring Lights
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2013, 04:12:43 PM »
I use rotolights for my video work, but they require a very fast lens, and a close working distance, they are very much a get me out of a dark hole solution, and I wouldn't recommend them for stills photography, unless tripod mounted / still life etc.

Most of the LED solutions I've seen have been similar, low output etc.

For stills I use an old and very cheap Centon MR-20.

My camera has a PC socket, so theres no issue with trigger voltages, but I can confirm I've also used it on a rebel via an adaptor without incident.  Your call.

Cost me about £30 new, has two modes, auto (a sensor on the flash, not TTL) or manual.

I prefer to shoot manual and juggle my aperture.

It does give that ring light and weird shadow halo thing that is de-rigeur at the moment.  I shoot portraiture so rarely that I've never thought to upgrade to anything better for this very specific look.  I would usually have my 430EX either off camera on an L grip synched via a TTL cable, or if the environment allows, entirely off camera on a stand (both my cameras support wireless speedlite control)

If you are playing with the ring flash look then the centon will give you usable power (and thus more choice of perspective) and will also allow you a much faster shutter (up to your cameras max synch) and lower ISO.

I would go for conventional ring flash, and if you are confident using manual expsoure settings get a cheap centon (also sold under vivitar brand) or there are intermediate options with auto TTL by the likes of Murami (?) and then a bit more for the Sigma option, and then of course the canon versions, but it becomes £30 vs £350.

One on ebay just now: item number 350698781079 for reference.


« Last Edit: February 10, 2013, 04:15:35 PM by paul13walnut5 »

pwp

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Re: Ring Lights
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2013, 05:21:04 PM »
Yes I used to rent Profoto ringlights too, very powerful and built like a tank. But if you need good, controllable power for meaningful portrait shoots, the Profoto can be too strong, even dialed right down. On my 2400 Profoto floorpack I had to run another head on an extension lead out the door just to get the power low enough. Nuts.

The little speedlight style ringlights are very low powered and purpose designed for macro/medical work. As a portrait ringlight they just don't have the horsepower unless you are happy to work with very big apertures and high ISO setings.

Enter the happy medium from Paul C Buff, the maker of Alien Bees and the incredible Einsteins.
http://www.paulcbuff.com/abr800.php They have a very useful power range and OMG check out the price! Five cents change from $400.

http://www.shutterbug.com/content/alienbees%E2%80%99-ringflash-attractive-lighting-option
http://photo.net/photography-news-forum/00KPXA
http://www.ppmag.com/web-exclusives/2007/06/review-supplement-alienbees-ab.html

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Quasimodo

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Re: Ring Lights
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2013, 05:47:54 PM »
Yes I used to rent Profoto ringlights too, very powerful and built like a tank. But if you need good, controllable power for meaningful portrait shoots, the Profoto can be too strong, even dialed right down. On my 2400 Profoto floorpack I had to run another head on an extension lead out the door just to get the power low enough. Nuts.

The little speedlight style ringlights are very low powered and purpose designed for macro/medical work. As a portrait ringlight they just don't have the horsepower unless you are happy to work with very big apertures and high ISO setings.

Enter the happy medium from Paul C Buff, the maker of Alien Bees and the incredible Einsteins.
http://www.paulcbuff.com/abr800.php They have a very useful power range and OMG check out the price! Five cents change from $400.

http://www.shutterbug.com/content/alienbees%E2%80%99-ringflash-attractive-lighting-option
http://photo.net/photography-news-forum/00KPXA
http://www.ppmag.com/web-exclusives/2007/06/review-supplement-alienbees-ab.html

-PW

I looked at your links and this is interesting. I have no experience in using these types (apart from trying a plastic thing attached to a 580 once, american company I believe...). In the second link it argues that the use of ring lights give a distinct look that you only get from these.. Do you or any other have any examples, and also an explanation of how they differ from other types of lighting? (apart from the near no-shadows, also mentioned in the article).
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Quasimodo

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Re: Ring Lights
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2013, 06:19:23 PM »
This link might help.

http://strobist.blogspot.com/2009/10/ray-flash-vs-orbis-vs-alienbees-abr800.html

Small flash style accessories really do lack the power to do very much, though they can be fun. One thing they are very good for is controlling contrast by filling shadows on axis, once you have done the narrow dof thing then that really is their best use.

Here is an example of the narrow dof on axis "look", done with one of the cheap $200 options (I forget which!).

Sweet photo! I will look at the link tomorrow :)
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Re: Ring Lights
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2013, 06:19:23 PM »

agierke

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Re: Ring Lights
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2013, 07:33:59 PM »
here are examples with the PCB ABR800. fun strobe unit. perfect for the budget minded portraitist.
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Quasimodo

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Re: Ring Lights
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2013, 07:01:42 AM »
This link might help.

http://strobist.blogspot.com/2009/10/ray-flash-vs-orbis-vs-alienbees-abr800.html

Small flash style accessories really do lack the power to do very much, though they can be fun. One thing they are very good for is controlling contrast by filling shadows on axis, once you have done the narrow dof thing then that really is their best use.

Here is an example of the narrow dof on axis "look", done with one of the cheap $200 options (I forget which!).

Again, thank you.

I looked at the link and the links from there, among the video.

Hmmm...  I love the look you have on this shot. The other ones posted further down are great too, but I see that they cast shaddows (not that that in itself is wrong when going for that).. Why would one use a ring flach instead of a beaty dish (in studio). My impression is that you can get the same effect with a deep beauty dish, but also because of the deepness and the curve of it eliminates the shaddows behind the subject much more? Or are these really two different things for different looks? Is the main benefit of the ringflash that you can have the lens through the light, thus giving other angles of light?

Please forgive me my ignorance.
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paul13walnut5

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Re: Ring Lights
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2013, 07:32:35 AM »
A favour to an aspiring model friend:


Taken with the cheapo Centon MR-20 discuss earlier, and the nifty fifty.  So decent results needn't cost the earth.

Quasimodo

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Re: Ring Lights
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2013, 02:46:05 PM »

Again, thank you.

I looked at the link and the links from there, among the video.

Hmmm...  I love the look you have on this shot. The other ones posted further down are great too, but I see that they cast shaddows (not that that in itself is wrong when going for that).. Why would one use a ring flach instead of a beaty dish (in studio). My impression is that you can get the same effect with a deep beauty dish, but also because of the deepness and the curve of it eliminates the shaddows behind the subject much more? Or are these really two different things for different looks? Is the main benefit of the ringflash that you can have the lens through the light, thus giving other angles of light?

Please forgive me my ignorance.

Your are not quite right, the difference between mine and the ones with shadows is the proximity of the background, a ringlight will make a shadow all around the subject unless the background is far enough away to fall into dark, it still makes the shadow you just can't see it, which isn't difficult with shoe mount flash powered lights. Look at the shadows in agierke's first shot, the head is much closer to the background so the shadow is smaller, his hands further away so the shadows much bigger, mine the background is so far away the huge shadow just merges with the underexposed background.

You can use a ringlight like a beauty dish, just take it off axis, but you can't use a beautydish like a ringlight, you can never get it 100% on axis. All lights make shadows, the angle they are to the subject is what gives us the three dimensional impression. Now the next important thing is falloff, my example has very pronounced falloff, that is the luminosity of the cheek and neck are very different, the light is so close to the subject that there is a difference in illumination. In agierke's third shot the subject is far enough away from the lightsource that the falloff doesn't come into the equation, she is evenly illuminated.

They are both very distinctive ringlight "look" shots, but quite different.

If you can only afford to get a ringlight or a beautydish, get a beautydish, they are more versatile. They can't do a true ringlight look, but they are much more efficient than a ringlight attachment and it won't take you long to realise power is king. The ONLY benefit of the ringlight is your ability to shoot through the circle of light, like I said in my first post, once you get bored of the "rinlight look" the true advantage of the ringlight attaxhments is on axis contrast control, fill.

Thanks a lot for your detailed answer. I think I might get both and experiment :)
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bycostello

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Re: Ring Lights
« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2013, 07:01:48 PM »
not the most flattering light for a lot of faces..

TexasBadger

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Re: Ring Lights
« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2013, 07:41:12 PM »
I think fing lights for portraits are creepy!  Unless you are going for a vampire effect.  Wait a minute, can you photograph a vampire...
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Re: Ring Lights
« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2013, 07:41:12 PM »

tolusina

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Re: Ring Lights
« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2013, 07:55:47 PM »
I think fing lights for portraits are creepy!  Unless you are going for a vampire effect.  Wait a minute, can you photograph a vampire...
Only in live view. Since vampires don't reflect in mirrors, the viewfinder will be blank on an SLR.  :P
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Re: Ring Lights
« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2013, 07:55:47 PM »