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Author Topic: Anyone used a LED ring light for macro?  (Read 5434 times)

Richard8971

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Anyone used a LED ring light for macro?
« on: August 02, 2012, 06:01:34 PM »
I have been looking for some decent lighting for my macro work. I have speedlites already but no ring flashes. I have been looking at the "aftermarket" ones for the Canons. Has anyone used either the ring flashes or LED lights? Thoughts?

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Anyone used a LED ring light for macro?
« on: August 02, 2012, 06:01:34 PM »

drjlo

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Re: Anyone used a LED ring light for macro?
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2012, 07:39:35 PM »
As you are likely aware, the Canon ring flashes are quite spendy.  However, I never could find a decent LED macro ring flash in my search and ended up buying this Phoenix Macro Ring Flash for 90 some bucks. 

It's an actual macro ring flash, not just LED ring light, which supports Canon ETTL.  Obviously the build quality is not exactly stellar, and there isn't a whole lot of controls, but flash exposure comp can be used to tweak the light output on top of ETTL, and mine is still working. 

QC is not exactly consistent, so make sure to buy from somewhere with good return policy, e.g. Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/Phoenix-Smart-Flash-Digital-Cameras/dp/B0013XTIFG

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Re: Anyone used a LED ring light for macro?
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2012, 08:11:58 PM »
I've tinkered a bit with these, I much prefer monolights to flashes for work, especially macro, it's so much easier to work under full lighting than take/retake with flashes to get the perfect exposure.
The only reason *not* to use monolights is that when you have some high-power stuff that will cook or melt your subject, a problem you don't get with LEDs.

As for which brand, I didn't bother, I just bought a bunch of huge step-up rings (like 58->82mm), drilled 5mm holes in them, and mounted my own LEDs...
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Re: Anyone used a LED ring light for macro?
« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2012, 08:32:53 PM »
I've tinkered a bit with these, I much prefer monolights to flashes for work, especially macro, it's so much easier to work under full lighting than take/retake with flashes to get the perfect exposure.
The only reason *not* to use monolights is that when you have some high-power stuff that will cook or melt your subject, a problem you don't get with LEDs.

As for which brand, I didn't bother, I just bought a bunch of huge step-up rings (like 58->82mm), drilled 5mm holes in them, and mounted my own LEDs...
That is innovative! Could you share pics of your engineering? Also how do you power it? I'd love to do this project.

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Re: Anyone used a LED ring light for macro?
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2012, 08:47:15 PM »
Correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't LED's be continuous light, not a 'flash'? So would it be more correct to say a ring LED light? Or are there actual LEDs that are used to 'flash' like a traditional ring/speedlite flash?
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dr croubie

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Re: Anyone used a LED ring light for macro?
« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2012, 09:09:26 PM »
That is innovative! Could you share pics of your engineering? Also how do you power it? I'd love to do this project.

Main problem is, that I went a little bit tricky with it, I didn't just use White LEDs, but I got hold of some RGB Superbrights, so that I could change the colours if I wanted too (I was mainly thinking, at the time, that I'd use it with my Lensbaby and/or film for some lomo-esque lo-fi shots.)

First incarnation was using 4 potentiometers, 1 for each colour and 1 for brightness. Worked well at prototype stage but the pcbs were so big (using normal through-hole resistors etc) that I could only get 4-6 LEDs in each ring, so wasn't actually too bright. If i'd designed a proper surface-mount PCB then I could have gotten a lot more LEDs in.

Instead, I'm now trying for a digitally-controlled version, using an Arduino board (freetronics even sell a controllable RGB LED module, although it's probably not bright enough so I'll use the superbright 5mm ones from the first incarnation. (Long term project is to write an app with a colour wheel, click the mouse on the colour wheel and the LEDs will change to that colour. It'll probably never happen).

But then work and buying a house and whatnot got in the way, so it's sort of on permanent hiatus, I'll resurrect in in a few months maybe when I get time (and the new house). But I can probably share shots of it this weekend.

The first ones were powered by either a 6V Sealed Lead Acid battery, or from a DC wall-charger from any number of transformers i've got floating around. The Arduino-based one I did have in mind to power from USB, once i get to that stage at least...


Correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't LED's be continuous light, not a 'flash'? So would it be more correct to say a ring LED light? Or are there actual LEDs that are used to 'flash' like a traditional ring/speedlite flash?

AFAIK there's both. The reason I started building my own (besides the fact that that's what I do, even though probably more expensive than ebay), is that they all seemed to be 'flashes', and as I said, I prefer monolights. If you count my attempts as a monolight version, then there's definitely at least one of each type in the world...
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Re: Anyone used a LED ring light for macro?
« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2012, 11:42:36 PM »
But I can probably share shots of it this weekend.

That would be great!

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Re: Anyone used a LED ring light for macro?
« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2012, 11:42:36 PM »

Drizzt321

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Re: Anyone used a LED ring light for macro?
« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2012, 10:58:10 AM »
That is innovative! Could you share pics of your engineering? Also how do you power it? I'd love to do this project.

Main problem is, that I went a little bit tricky with it, I didn't just use White LEDs, but I got hold of some RGB Superbrights, so that I could change the colours if I wanted too (I was mainly thinking, at the time, that I'd use it with my Lensbaby and/or film for some lomo-esque lo-fi shots.)

First incarnation was using 4 potentiometers, 1 for each colour and 1 for brightness. Worked well at prototype stage but the pcbs were so big (using normal through-hole resistors etc) that I could only get 4-6 LEDs in each ring, so wasn't actually too bright. If i'd designed a proper surface-mount PCB then I could have gotten a lot more LEDs in.

Instead, I'm now trying for a digitally-controlled version, using an Arduino board (freetronics even sell a controllable RGB LED module, although it's probably not bright enough so I'll use the superbright 5mm ones from the first incarnation. (Long term project is to write an app with a colour wheel, click the mouse on the colour wheel and the LEDs will change to that colour. It'll probably never happen).

But then work and buying a house and whatnot got in the way, so it's sort of on permanent hiatus, I'll resurrect in in a few months maybe when I get time (and the new house). But I can probably share shots of it this weekend.

The first ones were powered by either a 6V Sealed Lead Acid battery, or from a DC wall-charger from any number of transformers i've got floating around. The Arduino-based one I did have in mind to power from USB, once i get to that stage at least...


Correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't LED's be continuous light, not a 'flash'? So would it be more correct to say a ring LED light? Or are there actual LEDs that are used to 'flash' like a traditional ring/speedlite flash?

AFAIK there's both. The reason I started building my own (besides the fact that that's what I do, even though probably more expensive than ebay), is that they all seemed to be 'flashes', and as I said, I prefer monolights. If you count my attempts as a monolight version, then there's definitely at least one of each type in the world...

Awesome engineering :)  Arduino's are so cool, aren't they? I keep meaning to try and play with them, but I'm not much of a hardware guy (yet).
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Re: Anyone used a LED ring light for macro?
« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2012, 12:09:31 PM »
Got a cheap LED rig for Macro work. I think it was a $30-40 feebay purchase. I have not used it much, light output is very limited, but better than nothing I guess... I don't use it anymore. It is collecting dust somewhere.

On the flipside, I bought an Ultrabright LED flashlight ($80) that I use often to illuminate some small subjects. It has over 1000 lumens and works well, however is very directional, so a bit tricky to work with.

I would be happy spening $100-150 for a decent used macro flash... no luck so far
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infilm

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Re: Anyone used a LED ring light for macro?
« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2012, 12:40:13 PM »
I would use light ribbon to make a ring light. You can buy a 16' roll daylight balanced for about $130. Then just pick a power source. I have run a whole roll from a AA battery pack for about an hour. That would be 8 AA batteries. Have a look at www.litegear.com. For some reason he doesn't list just the roll of LED's on the website but I do know he sell it.
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Re: Anyone used a LED ring light for macro?
« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2012, 12:54:27 PM »
I would use light ribbon to make a ring light. You can buy a 16' roll daylight balanced for about $130. Then just pick a power source. I have run a whole roll from a AA battery pack for about an hour. That would be 8 AA batteries. Have a look at www.litegear.com. For some reason he doesn't list just the roll of LED's on the website but I do know he sell it.

Had to re-read the post a couple of times since I don't see it on the website, but wow, that's pretty awesome. How can he do a 16' for $130 when his shorter ones are so much more expensive?
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infilm

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Re: Anyone used a LED ring light for macro?
« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2012, 01:04:49 PM »
I would use light ribbon to make a ring light. You can buy a 16' roll daylight balanced for about $130. Then just pick a power source. I have run a whole roll from a AA battery pack for about an hour. That would be 8 AA batteries. Have a look at www.litegear.com. For some reason he doesn't list just the roll of LED's on the website but I do know he sell it.

Had to re-read the post a couple of times since I don't see it on the website, but wow, that's pretty awesome. How can he do a 16' for $130 when his shorter ones are so much more expensive?
The stuff on the website is his new stuff and those prices are for a kit. So, a AC to DC power supply, a dimmer, some extension cables, and some different connectors for the ribbon. All you really need from him is the lite ribbon and the connectors, and maybe the dimmer.
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Re: Anyone used a LED ring light for macro?
« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2012, 01:50:41 PM »
I would use light ribbon to make a ring light. You can buy a 16' roll daylight balanced for about $130. Then just pick a power source. I have run a whole roll from a AA battery pack for about an hour. That would be 8 AA batteries. Have a look at www.litegear.com. For some reason he doesn't list just the roll of LED's on the website but I do know he sell it.

Had to re-read the post a couple of times since I don't see it on the website, but wow, that's pretty awesome. How can he do a 16' for $130 when his shorter ones are so much more expensive?
The stuff on the website is his new stuff and those prices are for a kit. So, a AC to DC power supply, a dimmer, some extension cables, and some different connectors for the ribbon. All you really need from him is the lite ribbon and the connectors, and maybe the dimmer.

Ahh...that makes sense to me then. Very cool, something for me to think about should I decide to try and get some continuous lighting for some video. Could be a very cool rollable light source that fits into a cardboard tube and yet produces plenty of light for video. Have to figure out how to use it with the usual lighting modifiers (barn doors, etc).
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Re: Anyone used a LED ring light for macro?
« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2012, 01:50:41 PM »

infilm

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Re: Anyone used a LED ring light for macro?
« Reply #13 on: August 03, 2012, 04:53:21 PM »
I have used it in commercial shoot under cabinets, down bannisters, in cabinets, in all sorts of cars, ect. I have also made some panels with it. Since the ribbon is adhesive backed I have mounted it to white coroplast and made very shallow units. Put you favorite diffusion and gel on it and instant light panel. I have one that is roughly 4"x8" that has 8 or 9 feet of ribbon on it. Its incredibly bright and it runs off of a small battery pack. They are very useful.
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Re: Anyone used a LED ring light for macro?
« Reply #14 on: August 03, 2012, 06:26:19 PM »
I have used it in commercial shoot under cabinets, down bannisters, in cabinets, in all sorts of cars, ect. I have also made some panels with it. Since the ribbon is adhesive backed I have mounted it to white coroplast and made very shallow units. Put you favorite diffusion and gel on it and instant light panel. I have one that is roughly 4"x8" that has 8 or 9 feet of ribbon on it. Its incredibly bright and it runs off of a small battery pack. They are very useful.

How about for video use? Plenty of light for video? Or do you need to gang lots of the strips together?

Hmm...this would be pretty cool (but expensive!) to have a micro-controller controlled light show using gelled strips & such.
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Re: Anyone used a LED ring light for macro?
« Reply #14 on: August 03, 2012, 06:26:19 PM »