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Anyone using a ring flash?

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Old Saturday 8th October 2011, 20:24   #1
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Anyone using a ring flash?

I keep toying with getting a ring flash for macro work but can't decide if it's worth the money... So does anyone on here use one? If so can you show example shots with and without it? Also has anyone compared using one against using a standard flash gun with reflector?
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Old Sunday 9th October 2011, 15:38   #2
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I used to use a ring flash a lot but only for static targets(jewellery for insurance records etc) , my current unit, a Metz 15 is a pain because of its bulk. Nice wireless operation but really cumbersome. To be honest I can't be bothered - probably a character weakness in me.
When taking a close up of a slow worm head I didn't have time to use it before the creature made off. I did have time to hang a macro on and swing the screen out for right angled shot but that was it - shoot then or lose it altogether. I'm not sure that 'in the wild', I could get low enough to get a decent shot of say a spider with the ring on.
In much the same way I find that I can work faster with a short focal length macro lens - my 35mm macro will do a true 1:1 and will autofocus. My Sigma macro 105mm is far slower in operation and really needs manual focus.
All in all it's probably down to the user. For me I'm happy to play with the flash but I can in no way justify its existence. Perhaps I need more practice?

Last edited by iveljay : Sunday 9th October 2011 at 15:44.
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Old Sunday 30th October 2011, 22:23   #3
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I use a ring flash MR14 EX for close macro work.
External light is a must with my lens mpe-65mm.


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Old Monday 31st October 2011, 08:31   #4
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I gave up on buying photographic magazines, when one had an article on how a ring flash was essential of macro work. Noticed the adverts on ring flashes that dominated the issue, and came to the view that I was no longer going to spend money buying adverts.

Whilst a ring flash might be useful, it is not essential, I hardly ever use flash.
They have been inserting little memes in everybody's mind
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Old Monday 31st October 2011, 19:22   #5
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I feel that a standard flash gun is more useful-preferably on a bracket/arm or even hand held. Dont often use a flash for macro myself, but it is handy to have some control over lighting in certain circumstances.
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Old Tuesday 1st November 2011, 08:31   #6
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I use a home made adaptor as a ring flash, basically a silverfoil coated round disk with a silver foil coated tube leqding back to my flash unit! Works a treat (set to manual to adjust as needed). there are plenty of DIY instruction websites out there. Saves a fortune if you want to see how a real ringflash might help.
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Old Tuesday 1st November 2011, 19:43   #7
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I used a ring flash (Canon 14EZ) back in the film days. But being an EZ and not an EX it won't work on a dSLR, so I got an off-shoe cord and used various things I already had (including a 420EX), got this gizmo:

And constructed the setup in the image below. It works pretty well I think as can be seen here:

My experience is that fill-in flash of one kind or another (and preferable more flexible than the built-in flash or a shoe mounted flash gun) is extremely useful for macro.

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Old Thursday 3rd November 2011, 10:42   #8
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This little beauty seems good for home studio work.

Buy a set of cheap and nasty thin plastic mixing bowls, drill and suspend with twine, and you have a bubble, light from below, they come in all colours too!
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Old Friday 4th November 2011, 09:01   #9
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To return to Postcard's original question, whether a ring flash is worth the money: I think that some control of the light is essential in macro photography. Whether you go for a ring flash, a twin flash (probably the best but also most expensive solution), or some sort of personalised setup is really a matter of personal choice and bank account.

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