Monday, March 31, 2008

Full Review: Ray Flash Ring Flash Adapter

Ray Flash is the first commercially produced ring flash adapter designed to turn a speedlight into a ringflash. While ringlight is nothing new around here, up until now you have had to either go the DIY route, or lug around a much bigger piece of gear.

Assuming you've got the wallet to handle it, I think a lot of people are gonna go for this thing. More on the unit itself -- and how much it'll set you back -- after the jump.
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Good News, Bad News

I'll give you the bad news first: The Ray Flash ring flash adapter costs $300.00.

Still here? Okay.

Because despite those 300 reasons against it, the Ray Flash is one very cool pice of gear. I've been playing with one for a couple of weeks. And to a person, almost every photog that I have shown it to was pretty smitten by it.

IMO, it's gonna be very popular with the wedding and people shooters. It's small, lightweight, maintains all of the flash's TTL functions. Best yet, it loses only one stop of light as compared to direct flash.

That last bit alone puts it head and shoulders above any DIY versions I have seen or tried. With that kind of output, it is even usable outside during the daylight at modest portrait distances. Especially as fill against other lights, which is the way you want to be using a ring flash if you want to have some variety in your photos.


That's the way I used it at the Southern Short Course in Photojournalism this weekend when a group of four photographers out of Florence, SC, asked me to do a group shot of them after we had finished portfolio reviews at about 1:00 a.m. (That's still early in the evening at a SSC.)

IMO, ring flashes have a total of exactly one look when used by themselves. That is fine, if you have, say, Czech supermodel Lenka standing in front of you against a wall. But that look is gonna get old for you if you just use it as a main light with nothing else. (Unless, of course, you are using it to mint coin every week at weddings...)

To my mind, the people using ring flash well are folks like Dan Winters, who combine it off-axis light (frequently, hard light) and create some really cool schemes.

For this shot, I placed (L to R) Keri, Heidi, Erin and Rebecca about 2-3 feet away from a wall and filled them with the ring flash. My SB-800 (which powered the ring flash) was dialed down on manual so it would light them at about three stops below the exposure at which he hand-held flashes would light them. I was also shooting with a CTO gel on the ring flash and straight light on the other flashes.

Being photographers, they all lit themselves using Nikon handheld SB-800's in the special slave mode. Those strobes were set at 1/128 power. I very much appreciate not having to do all of the work myself, especially after a day of teaching and a night of reviewing portfolios. (Thanks, guys!)

Now the classic ring light coming form the Ray Flash becomes a cool, 3D-ish, wrapping fill. This is the kind of approach that gets me excited about the Ray Flash as a lighting tool. Using it in conjunction with another speedlight (or four, in this case) gets you into all kinds of funky stuff.

(You can see a bigger version of the photo here.)

As specifics of the unit itself, the two things that stand out are its efficiency and its thin size. I cannot for the life of me figure out how they got that light around the lens while only using one stop. Amazing. That bit of engineering makes the adapter more usable in a wide variety of situations. And I am definitely gonna be experimenting with this baby some more.



Speaking of engineering, this is a pretty impressive piece of optical design. It uses little light channels to guide the flash around the lens pretty darn evenly. Given that the top is closer to the flash, you know that is gonna be the hot area. But they counter it by not releasing the light fully until they are an inch or two from the top of the ring, going around. Seems to work great.

The build quality seems to be pretty good, too. I had a little bit of de-silvering (de-painting, actually...) in one of my little light fiber channels, but there was no effect on the final output that I could discern. And to be fair, this was an early production model.

They have designs either in production or on the way for all of the current popular speedlights (the mounting bracket is designed to fit the individual flash heads). It attaches with a very sturdy clamp that makes both the strobe and the ring flash adapter essentially one unit.

As for size, they say you can't be too rich or two thin. And the Ray Flash is A-list in both categories. It will easily slide into the side pocket of a Domke F2 bag, the standard bag for PJ's. When you need to use it, you simply slip it onto a camera-mounted flash and you are good to go.


Here is a straight shot, typical up-against-the-wall stuff from a seminar in Phoenix earlier this month. (No added light sources were used here.) The whole, camera-flash-adpater combo is very easy to hand hold. The Ray Flash adds very little weight or bulk to your setup.

Shooting with it is a breeze. Works great in both manual or TTL mode, although you'll probably wanna tweak your compensation a little to fine-tune the look in TTL mode. But that's easy enough.

Gelling the Ray Flash flash is easy, too. You slip a gel on the actual speedlight before you mount the adapter. The Rosco sample pack gels work great.

But $300, you say? You can buy an ABR-800 for $400, right?

Yeah, sure. But then you'd have to lug it around with a Vagabond -- or find some AC. It all comes down to your shooting venue and style. If you are primarily a studio shooter, it is ABR-800. No brainer. Or something else, which would be north of $1,000.00. Way north.

But if you are mobile -- and especially if you like the TTL thing -- you have to give the Ray Flash strong consideration. And this design clearly took a lot of time and effort to produce. Not to mention a some very expensive mold design.

For the people for whom it makes economic sense, the cost will be returned many times.

I suspect that the Ray Flash will be a hit with the hipster wedding shooter crowd. It takes up almost no room in the bag, then you just slip it on when you wanna do the funky bride shot. You can do it at each wedding -- it's always new to them, right? This thing could make some cool reception pix, too, if you are into that kind of thing.

The Ray Flash ring flash adapter is a sophisticated light modifier that fills a big gap in today's strobe gear, and will open up new possibilities for many shooters. It's great to see a company taking light to a new level.
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More Info:

:: Ray Flash ::
:: Ring Flash Resource Page ::


__________

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87 Comments:

Anonymous Rafal Krolik said...

This is pretty neat with one exception. The design of it and the way it flops down, won't it block the infrared focus assist on the SB800?

March 31, 2008 11:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A quick search for "Ring Light" or "Ring Flash" on eBay lists a lot of ring flashes that sell for less than $100. So what's the advantage of a ring flash adapter over such an eBay flash? Are the eBay ones restricted to macro photography?

Peter

March 31, 2008 11:33 AM  
Blogger -MiKe- said...

What is this? No Konica-Minolta/Sony flash units? That's a pretty poor business choice...

March 31, 2008 11:44 AM  
Blogger hibiscusroto said...

No love for the Vivitar & Sunpak users out there?? If you shoot Canon you need the 580ex (1 or 2) to use this. Shame. If they put one out for the Sunpak 383 I'm buying one.

March 31, 2008 11:45 AM  
Blogger David said...

To Anon @11:33a.m. --

Nope, they are not suited for people shooting. They are very small, so the light is very harsh. Also, they are hopelessly underpowered.

I actually bought, tried and threw away two different models like the ones on eBay.

-DH

March 31, 2008 11:47 AM  
Blogger phatphotographer said...

Seems well thought out, if a bit expensive. Definitely more portable then what I was in the process of building - http://www.flickr.com/photos/phatphotographer/2376850615/

March 31, 2008 11:51 AM  
Blogger -MiKe- said...

Anon:

This also has the advantage of full TTL and camera control. Honestly, I would rather just make the fiber-optic light-ring DIY myself.

Cheaper, same advantage, it's DIY, and it can be fitted to whatever mount you've got (K-M/Sony in my case).

The only issue is finding the fiber... Anyone have any ideas?

March 31, 2008 11:52 AM  
Anonymous DonJinTX said...

Looks like this would block the front of the flash body.. any idea if it kills the built in wireless flash capability of say a Canon 580exII?

Could I use this unit and still fire another canon flash off-camera?

Thanks!

March 31, 2008 11:52 AM  
Anonymous dan c said...

I don't mean to be cheap, but at $100 this would be a great adapter. At $300 it will find it's market, but the average hobbyist isn't going to find it near useful enough in my opinion.

For $300 it oughta come with a flash.

March 31, 2008 12:09 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

Buyers may also want to look into the nikon sb 21- I picked one up for $100, pretty powerful unit the disadvantage is it's small diameter so you cant use it on a big zoom.

March 31, 2008 12:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

By saying "But they counter it by not releasing the light fully until they are an inch or two from the top of the ring, going around. Seems to work great."
you mean that the light output is evenly distributed around the whole ring?
Sorry, but my mother language is spanish...

greetings

javi

March 31, 2008 12:56 PM  
Blogger JS said...

Okay, I'm operating on zero sleep, but what if you want to use your PWs in addition to the ringlight? Are you out of luck?

March 31, 2008 1:23 PM  
Blogger Rob said...

Who wants to bet that there will be a $29 knock-off available in/from Korea within 3 months?
It looks pretty backwards engineerable.

March 31, 2008 1:27 PM  
Blogger eric paul owens said...

It looks wonderful, but $300 is a bit or even a lot steep for an adapter. That price just has to come down... some one will build on just as good cheaper soon enough...

March 31, 2008 1:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, I understand why one would need it. But, for the life of me, I can't understand why it costs so much! Why would I pay $300 for a piece of plastic? Can someone please give me a thorough explanation? I'm really really lost; just don't get it.

March 31, 2008 1:57 PM  
Anonymous Scott C. said...

"For $300 it oughta come with a flash."
My thoughts exactly. Forgeddaboudit.

March 31, 2008 2:14 PM  
Blogger J. Beckley said...

I actually looked into this months ago before I bought my ABR800, but it was only sold in the UK at the time or at certain US online stores. It seemed to always show that it was sold out. I went with the ABR800 and vagabond, which can be a hassle to setup, but I have so many other options with it.(i.e. of camera with moon unit for softbox use). It is rather expensive, but it would serve its purpose if you travel a lot. I've noticed it's $50 cheaper if you're a Canon user yeah!

March 31, 2008 2:21 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

Things to do in life:

Have picture of self posted on strobist

*CHECK*


For the price and simplicity of this adapter, I really think it's a decent little toy to add to your "bag of tricks"

March 31, 2008 2:24 PM  
Blogger J. Beckley said...

Never mind...that was the old model.

March 31, 2008 2:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure the Gadget Infinity folks already have a prototype in the works....
-Carlos

March 31, 2008 2:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

David,

Correct me if I'm wrong, but it looks like it would block the AF assist light (not to mention the sensors on the old-fashioned auto units).

Lack of AF assist will pretty much cripple you in a low light environment like a wedding reception.

But (for donjintx), the command pulses from wireless E-TTL units such as the Canon 580EX II come from the flash itself, so theoretically it won't mess up your wireless E-TTL.

Curtis

March 31, 2008 3:28 PM  
Anonymous Petar Neychev said...

I'm a bit confused - is this the same product as that: http://www.ringflash.cz/en_index_go.php?!

Pricewise they come to the same level, but wondering about quality....

Anyways, now the funky question is who came up with it first if that is two different products we're seeing. :))

March 31, 2008 3:37 PM  
Blogger David Manning said...

Woo! Keri Rasmussen made strobist!

March 31, 2008 3:40 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

I admit it seems expensive but I really think I would use one all the time and I'll probably buy one as soon as the revised canon units are available. Most of the homemade solutions are either too fragile or too bulky to be of much use to me.

I see a lot of advantages to having the camera mounted Ray Ring used in conjunction with additional ettl slave units for the type of action location shots I'm always trying to get. Also, I see no reason why the RayRing couldn't be used off-camera for a cool effect.

I think expodisc would be batting one out of the park at $150 -- but my head is reeling with the endless possibilities, I want one today!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/joesales/

March 31, 2008 3:42 PM  
Blogger LERtastic said...

Another piece of overpriced camera equipment. I'm sure it's very well designed, and works great, but $300!? I'd rather get another flash and PW for that.

The blatent raping of photographers wallets will continue though, because they will sell these things for $300.

March 31, 2008 3:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A note to those hoping for knock-offs:

If this thing is patented, then knock-offs are illegal. It probably took a bit of work to engineer and produce it thus the fairly high price. Maybe they could be persuaded to offer Strobist members a discount if enough units were ordered.

And about patents and knock-offs: It's also illegal to make one yourself, even for just your own use.

March 31, 2008 4:01 PM  
Anonymous Mike P said...

I'd love to have one of these, just to add to the bag of tricks, as noted before. The DIY options are just too cumbersome to throw in any camera bag I own, and too fragile even if my bag were a rolling suitcase... which it isn't.

What really gets me is that this is designed only to fit onto the SB800 or the 580EX II. I have the old clunky 550 EX, and have no intentions of upgrading to the 580EX at the cost of $420 when I use the 550 on manual most of the time anywhere. Where's the love for odd-shaped flashes? It seems like the designers would've made this a one-size-fits-all-with-extra-adapter-added gizmo. Guess I'll just keep waiting until round 2 gets it right.

March 31, 2008 4:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can someone please tell me what 'after the jump' means? It's not an expression I've heard before. And for those moaning about the price it cuts both ways. An Alien Bees Ringlight would cost silly money over here in the UK and it would need a voltage adapter. It ain't so bad! Is everyone certain there are no hot or flat spots with the Ray Flash Ring flash? I've seen differing reviews.

March 31, 2008 4:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how does this compare to this http://www.ringflash.cz/en_index_go.php

???

March 31, 2008 5:27 PM  
Anonymous Tobiah Tayo said...

how does this compare to http://www.ringflash.cz/en_index_go.php

March 31, 2008 5:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do feel sorry for them: the number of people complaining about price; for what is obviously a nice bit of kit: His deity DH says so... that's god enough for me! (LOL or did I mean good?)

Remember guys: they are a business not a charity. How many are they going to sell? I can't beleieve it's a massive market: they have to pay all their overheads (phones; admin rent and general staff wages; postage costs etc never mind porduction costs, as well as amotorise depreciation on set up costs)I have the same argument thrown at me in my principle business: an industrial laundry "You mean we have to pay for that... but I could take it home and do it myself!": qed we must be overcharging: at the moment the business is making a loss: bouyed up by other business activities; as everyone else in this UK sector are: clearly it's a free world (well outside America anyway ;) but for the rest of you.. come on guys .... ! Do you think there's a great business oportunity in this ? I can't help but feel it's probably "OK" rather than fantastic. The limited market; and the poor worldwide patent system means it's almost impossible to protect a product anyway (I don't know if it's patented or not)
And those arguments effect projected revenue; before they laid out for design costs: and tooling up. Any idea what the fixed cost on getting tooling for plastic widgets made is? Enormous ! Ok if you sell 1 squillion fine : but not for modest production runs.

Give them a break !

(Am I going to buy one... mmm no... not a toy I want to play with too expensive; but that's my budgetry constraints; not because I think it is unreasonable what they charge)

Cheers everyone == happy snapping !
Jonathan Histed

March 31, 2008 5:39 PM  
Blogger tangcla said...

This looks promising. The hefty price tag I'd be willing to fork out, as long as it's something durable and will last a while, and it was regularly used.

Only issue I have is that it blocks the AF-assist beam... :(

March 31, 2008 6:04 PM  
Blogger RootyB said...

A product is worth exactly what people will pay. *shrug*

Personally, I'd have a hard time spending $300 on a piece of (albeit well-designed) plastic, and it has a lot to do with perceived value. Probably not going to get much penetration into the "hobbyist" market.

People were making their own before this, and they'll be making their own after this.

There have been several DIYs that looked pretty similar.

March 31, 2008 6:30 PM  
Anonymous Scott C. said...

Sorry Jonathan,
I'm a businessman, I understand that there is overhead, but I also understand a little about the marketplace. When consumers like myself look at all of the technology and utility in say a 430 EX speedlite that sells for $244.95, and then they look at this thing at $300, and the world stops making sense.
When you produce goods you have to consider the marketplace and your position in it. Good luck to them, but they won't get all that cash out of me for this thing. At that money it should perform without additional components.

March 31, 2008 7:02 PM  
Blogger John Leonard Photography said...

DH-

Do me a favor, just take a couple CLS shots with it using the on camera SB800/ring light combo as the commander. I'm just curious as to the performance I know it "should work" fine, but I just want to see it really. I would buy one if that part of my business picks up. It is a CLS capable ring light, how cool is that! Oh, and I know you said you already loose one stop of power, but what would a Auto FP capable ring light bring to the game? It has to be very close to the subject, but there is something other ring lights just can't do!

John

March 31, 2008 7:09 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

Blocking the AF assist is a total deal breaker in my book. I'd say it's a very rare situation where I would want ring flash and be able to live without AF assist (event/club photography). If I'm shooting in a crowd I use the AF light for aiming overhead shots as well. This thing ain't going to cut the mustard at any price.

March 31, 2008 7:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"what if you want to use your PWs in addition to the ringlight? Are you out of luck?"

I can't speak for all cameras, but my Canon 30D and 1D both have external flash outputs that work at the same time as the hot shoe.

You simply attach a PC cord to the Pocket Wizard (literally in a pocket sometimes, other times in a pouch) and you get both.

I use this with a low powered on-camera flash when I shoot basketball, and I can't get the off-camera flash behind (and above) me.

March 31, 2008 7:44 PM  
Blogger Ken said...

The last plastic device I designed had a tooling cost of $45,000 for the prototype mold. It's not unusual for a production mold to cost $200,000. So if he sells a thousand parts, he needs to charge $200 just to pay for the mold. If he sells 20,000 parts, then the mold cost only adds $10 to each part. But if he only sells 500 parts, he's in deep deep trouble.

Just how big do you guys think the market is for a device like this?

So all you guys who want a $100 ring light could just send me your cash, and when we get $300,000 in the bank, I'll design the ring, have the mold made and send you a ringlight.

Don't want to put your money up before the product exists? Then you should realize that this guy is taking the risk of losing his money, and that's one of the things you pay for.

I believe I'll buy one. If he goes under, I'll be one of the few photographer with one.

Everyone whined when Nikon had a high priced 28mm f/1.4, and they stopped production. Now the eBay price for a used lens is far higher.

March 31, 2008 8:49 PM  
Blogger Basswork said...

I'm missing something. If I want to trigger two other flashes off camera with PWs, how can I do that if my hot shoe is used by the flash attached to the ring adaptor? Or are you stuck using CLS or Canon's equivalent?

March 31, 2008 10:03 PM  
Blogger GeoDesigner said...

As a college Product Design student, I agree with Dan. The product design process is hard and dangerous for the manufacturer. Big companies can dillute these manufacturing risks easily, but the small entrepreneur has a much harder time.

I agree that the product's MSRP is very expensive and nonsensical at first, but we have to understand that we are paying not only for that tangible amount of plastic, but also for a good design Idea and the guy's way out of an oppressive manufacturing and marketing setup.

March 31, 2008 10:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A possible weak link in this arrangement is the plastic hot shoe on many flashes. The 580EX II being the only one I am aware that has gone to metal. I base my concern on past experience when adding diffuers to the head of the flash. Not too much extra stress for horizontal photos, but for verticals, the extra weight and leverage on the plastic shoe of an original 580 EX was too much, and I have had several break.

I would like to see some evidence that this attachment wouldn't overtstress the the plastic hot shoe, otherwise add a new 580 EX II to the price package.

March 31, 2008 11:26 PM  
Anonymous Scott C. said...

I learned from Schoolhouse Rock that 3 is a magic number. :-)
Direct mailers will tell you that the return rate on a direct mail campaign is 1-3%.
If there are 1 million subscribers to The Strobist, (Thought I heard that somewhere>) and 1-3% buy this thing for $300 each, this guy has his upfront money covered to the tune of up to 9 million bucks if my math is right.
Sure it's a risk, but it is a calculated one that can bring great returns, so don' task for my $300 and my pity.

April 01, 2008 12:15 AM  
Blogger mtreinik said...

If you really need the AF assist light with this thing, I think you could mount the flash upside down on a bracket and connect it to the camera with a TTL cord.

April 01, 2008 2:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It looks a little small. I think you'd need something a lot larger (maybe 12-14" across) to get the proper ring light "look".

I'd guess it is better suited to macro photography where you need to get a LOT of light into a small area because of the small apertures required to get anything like a decent depth of field.

April 01, 2008 5:13 AM  
Blogger mphgt said...

Anybody know where these are available in the UK, only one I managed to find was on Amazon.co.uk but it was a Nikon fit and I have canon 580EX II

April 01, 2008 7:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks exactly like my Flaghead ring flash that I got for exactly 292 dollars US from Bob Rigby in the UK. They are fun to use and handy beyond. I use it with my G-9 and a canon speedlight. Needs a 1/4 CTO, just a tad bit cool straight out the cow.

April 01, 2008 9:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hmmm... for that price, I would want something that would offer an option of quickly attaching to the bottom of the camera as well for added stability. I am a little concerned about damaging the camera hot shoe in everyday use.

All this talk about expensive plastic molds and so forth has little to do with the fact that the design is very basic and limited. A very simple (removeable) arm and screw attachment could have made this a much more durable piece of kit, and better justified the price tag.

Will I buy one? Possibly. But I am not in a rush, and hope that there are some better versions to come out shortly.

April 01, 2008 10:47 AM  
Blogger BR said...

Thanks for the lesson in entrepreneurial economics folks. As Ken says, this guy probably shelled out over $245K just to get where he is. And $300 a pop is his only way of turning any profit.

I have to echo the sentiment of many others before me... too rich for my blood. I understand the costs associated with this undertaking if Ken is right. However, plastic is plastic and I will wait for someone to do it cheaper.

Why didn't the designer simply create the design, patent and license it (and 4 other variations) take that patent to a big Mega-Manufacturer and sell it to them for $500K? Less headache and quicker money.

Then, DH doesn't look like he's doing his cousin a favor by pimping it here.

April 01, 2008 2:01 PM  
Anonymous Brad said...

I'm not sure why anyone (at least Canon users) would buy this thing when you can get the fantastic Canon MR-14EX Ringlite from B&H for about $450.

I love this flash: ridiculously powerful as well as having two independent flashtubes so that you can vary the look as needed, and it's ETTL.

Oh yeah, since it's on a cord, you can get it OFF CAMERA!! Woo hoo! Ringflash plus Strobist philosophy in one package!

I've used this thing at weddings, band shoots, portraits, and the light is killer.... Frankly, if you'd like to get it off-camera, I don't know why you'd mess around with anything else.

April 02, 2008 2:52 PM  
Blogger fredmdbud said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

April 02, 2008 9:51 PM  
Blogger fredmdbud said...

Looks like this latest version uses thick fiber optic cables (like 3M's Light Fibers) to distribute light inside the ring. I remember this was suggested in the flickr group ...

April 02, 2008 9:52 PM  
Blogger Ellis said...

Hey,
a couple of notes. I've also handled this thing and believe I may review it for Professional Photographer. It's pretty nifty. Loses a stop of light compared to a streaight ahead speedlight at normal working distances.

2.) I interview Dan Winters for Professional Photogrpaher a couple of years ago. He said then that he very rarely uses a ring flash.

April 03, 2008 9:38 AM  
Anonymous Rafal Krolik said...

FYI. OK, I was curious and I ordered one. It arrived yesterday and it performs well. I will have to test if there are any issues when using Nikon CLS because it is in the way of the infrared thingy on the sb800. It feel good, looks well made ad the only thing I see as a quirk is that because of the weight and center of gravity, it hangs slightly titled with the bottom towards the camera. Easily corrected by propping it up with a finger but it would be nice if it could stay on straight. I might have to create some sort of a support system for it though; it should be simple enough.

April 03, 2008 2:04 PM  
Anonymous Bram said...

I works with the CLS. I've tried it with two other sb800 and they certainly flashed!

April 04, 2008 4:43 PM  
Anonymous Jammy Straub said...

If anyone could post a multi strobe studio style shot using the ringflash as fill I'd be grateful. I'm curious if it accomplishes the task as well as a dedicated unit. I'd imagine it would.

Is there any problem with the lens opening size?

It's only 4" and I'm curious if it's possible to use something like a 17-55 f/2.8 at its widest setting without vignetting. (or a 24-70 on an FX camera at 24mm, same thing) I shoot environmental portraits at those wider ranges a lot.


Can you mount a 70-200 f/2.8 through the ringflash or does it cast wonky shadows at that point?

Thanks!

April 11, 2008 1:27 AM  
Anonymous Gordon said...

I've used it with good results with my Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8 (without the hood, of course). Haven't tried it with the 70-200 f/2.8.

April 11, 2008 3:30 PM  
Anonymous Gordon said...

OK, I just tried some shots with the 70-200 f/2.8 (Nikkor), and it fits through just fine (w/o the hood).

I didn't see any odd shadows or anything even at closest focus distance; just nice, even lighting.

April 11, 2008 3:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well i finally got my Ray Flash Ring here in the UK as a belated birthday present from my partner. My views:-
1) Is there a diference between the 170 for the 580 exII and the 170 for the 580 EX. I think the company sent me the one for the EXII when i have a 580 EX (which was ordered specifically for). My reason for asking was that i could not tighten the clamp fully so it was loose, however a small gel pad to act as a 'gripping packer' soon solved that.
2) I'm concerned that the addition of the ray flash ring may either damage the head or the shoe mount of my 580 ex. While it only weighs 509 gms, the law of physics apply. Since it hangs off centre the strain and weight may be too much for the flash unit. I am especially concerned if i shoot portrait orientation.
Can someone from the company absolutely gurantee me that this weight and design will not damage my flash.
3)I feel that nearly £200 is alot for this, but then expo disk charge about £70 for their white balance filter, again a lot for a piece of plastic in my humble opinion.
4)I may mod the ray flash to have some support at the bottom of the ring to add support to the head and shoe of the flash. However this wil make focussing manually more difficult.
5) the earlier models of this unit had an (inverted) 'V' shape down to the ring to let the AF assist beam through from the flash unit. This new improved model does not, so if there is not a lot of ambient light to focus by then you do have to manually focus your lens, a step in the wrong direction if you ask me.
5)However, i am pleased with the resultsthe ring flash adaptor produces and i've only had a little play with it so far. I honestly think that a bit more thought in the ergonomics of the design i.e. support and AF assist beam issue, could have been done.

I'm not sure if i can post my email addy here (moderators plase delete it if i am not)
kieran_j_mac@hotmail.com , if anyone has any questions or coments to my post

April 16, 2008 7:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Got mine last week for my Canon 5D / 580EX II. I shot some portraits with it and was very impressed. Works beautifully -- the results far exceeded my expectations. E-TTL works and I had no problems with wireless triggering my other 580EX II and 420EX flashes with it.

Excellent value for the results it achieves.

April 22, 2008 2:47 AM  
Blogger oopa said...

I have tested one similar kind of product long time ago:

+the quality of light
+easy to fix
+the ring flash effect

-Clumsy
-It really needs power(- ~2f-stops)
-The light is very narrow (lots of vingeting)

But I really liked it...

May 09, 2008 2:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For Joe,
I saw this portfolio today where the guy says all the pictures were done with the ray flash and a few look like it was used off camera.

http://www.modelmayhem.com/pics.php?id=694473

May 09, 2008 11:52 AM  
Blogger damonw said...

The prophoto full tilt ring flash is real gear.Use it all the time.
However...being able to use this as fill for head shots in a nice portable package, coupled with a quantum turbo could be a real worker.Time to check one out.

May 11, 2008 1:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The lighting looks too narrow to me. Not good for indoor group shot unless some owner of this ray flash can prove me wrong...

May 14, 2008 6:00 PM  
Blogger Hans Bakker said...

David, have you seen this? Looks suspiciously much like the rayflash...

http://www.ringflash.cz/en_index_go.php

May 15, 2008 4:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I purchased it this week and I have a few concerns.

With an SB-800 and D80 the weight of the ring tends to want to lower the head of the SB-800 causing the ring to be off-centered compared to the lens barrel. This causes noticeably different lighting results compared to when I manually keep it centered around the barrel with my hand.

Anyone notice this also?

May 16, 2008 3:42 AM  
OpenID MrMikey83 said...

Someone asked where to get cheap fiber optics for a DIY solution.
I purchased one of those fiber optic tabletop X-mas trees for 50% off after the holidays. Remove all the green stuff and you have a 1-2 inch thick bundle of fibers.
I don't know how well a ring flash made out of this would perform. perhaps if you polished the end of every single strand, it might do alright.

Anyway, I'm liking this attachment. Perhaps by the time I get some practice in with my new Nikon D300, the price will come down some.

May 17, 2008 7:36 PM  
Anonymous Robin said...

Anybody have any head and shoulder images that show the shape of the catchlight that this produces? I am worried that the missing top part may make a U shape.

Robin

June 02, 2008 2:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You guys need to stop bitching about this. It's a great accessory that offers great convenience, it comes at a cost. Obviously it's not meant for the amateur hobbyist. If I take this out to the night clubs for some events, I will make the money back in 2-3 days. Just stop bitching already.

June 08, 2008 7:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't really mind the price. However, I am sold if the range of the ray flash can cover a group (let's say Maximum of 10 people) instead of a single person portrait shot. Any test done on that?

July 07, 2008 12:12 PM  
Blogger choochboop said...

I have one & love it. I use it for glamour type lighting or special effects. It doesn't effect the ettl at all, in fact it triggers all my slave flashes just fine. I use it alone or in conjuction with a key light/hairlight.I haven't noticed any hot spots either. Only drawback is some red eye, but easily fixed in PS. For the price it is worth it for portability. I can't wait to use it at a wedding.

July 13, 2008 1:45 AM  
Anonymous Milan Kolarovic said...

I've also owned this 580EX II model of the new Ray Flash for a month now (the shorter model for x0D series Canons), and used it in 3 weddings. Works great, but adds a lot of weight - and after the end of the day you know you've carried it around ;)

Honestly though, a good bounced flash (possibly with a diffuser like OmniBounce) can come awfully close to the quality of results delivered, so it's not an absolute "must have".

July 14, 2008 11:30 PM  
Anonymous the Generic Asian said...

I love this idea but hate teh price tag... but it inspired me to do my home brew version of this...

You can have a look at it over here...

http://thegenericasian.wordpress.com/

Not quite as nice, but for hobbyists like me it would do till I win the next lottery...

---------------
the Generic Asian

July 27, 2008 10:35 AM  
Anonymous Avangelist said...

Wow.

So many posts over an entire year and everyone overlooked something quite major.

In doing this you use up the hotshoe.

Why is that important? Because you cannot put your pocket wiz on the top OR in some cases such as my D80 you cannot put a hotshoe sync block on it either.

I would say that pretty much rules it out of most flash peoples wish lists?

December 20, 2008 1:19 PM  
Blogger H. David Shaw said...

I finally broke down and got one yesterday. I had some major red eye issues. Any suggestions?

December 27, 2008 7:33 AM  
Blogger Bryan said...

Posted on ExpoImaging.net: "As of January 1, 2009, ExpoImaging is proud to announce that we now have a direct purchasing agreement with the Ray Flash's manufacturer, allowing for a new retail price of $199.95."

http://www.expoimaging.net/index.php

This has now fallen into my reasonable price range and I will be purchasing one.

Just wanted to pass on the word for others who were hoping for something a little more affordable :)

January 03, 2009 7:45 PM  
Blogger Bryan said...

And to the comment above about losing your hotshoe... I think a lot of people on here are either using optical slaves or are using the Nikon CLS, so there is no issue firing other strobes along with the ringlight this way.
Either of these methods will work well in a studio or other controlled environment, indoor or out.

January 03, 2009 7:47 PM  
Blogger GoodEye Photography + Design said...

You can use this with Pocketwizards no problem! Just piggyback the PW on the back of your shoe-mounted strobe with a Hildozine Pocket Wizard Caddy [google it!] and use a short cable to connect the PW to the flash unit. On my D3/SB-800 setup the PW will trigger even if the sb-800 is turned off.

January 12, 2009 6:46 PM  
Anonymous nghia said...

woot didn't realize this finally dropped in price. I think I may pick one up.

March 15, 2009 6:04 PM  
Anonymous Sam Webb said...

First , I won't buy one untill they fit my Olympus FL50R.
In the meantime I hva been looking at the Alien Bee's Ring flash. It produces 320ws, cost $399 and is after al Alien Bee.
Downside, by an expensive and heavy battery pack if you need portability. but for studio no problem

March 28, 2009 11:32 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

I shot an image using a Canon 580EXII and the RayFlash attachment. I set the strobe on ETTL. At 105mm, a wide head-and-shoulders image, the catchlight is very small and centered. There is no perceptible hole in the catchlight from the lens.

The light is even and the effect (if you like it) are as advertised. I didn't choose the best subject for the test (me). I'll have to find someone more attractive to test this fairly.

I was struck by the fact that when setting the camera on manual 1/60 at f/5.0 I had to also set a flash exposure compensation of +2 to achieve proper exposure in an interior with ambient daylight coming through the windows.

May 02, 2009 2:55 PM  
Blogger Claus said...

Got it yesterday and it look as if it looses 3 f stops. Thats bad, but else it looks fine.

I will do some more testing and be back.

June 09, 2009 12:13 AM  
Blogger Logan said...

Personally, I dont see this being useful except in wedding photography or maybe some sort of photojournalism. Anybody serious about shooting would never use this in a studio. A: Simply not enough w/s B: in my opinion, havent used one, but looks very fragile and unprofessional.
Seems the ABR is a much better buy and offers many modifiers, with this you are stuck with gels, and your flashes power.
I dont know the dimensions, but I shoot with fashion and portrait with an 82mm (lens width from the front) I dont think it would even fit over my lenses.
Dosent look like a all bad product for wedding photogs though.

July 12, 2009 3:30 PM  
Blogger Samantha "Hot Scot" said...

I've been eyeing the ray flash but I don't have a 580ex ii, just the little 430ex. I found the Ray flash for $199 at my local camera shop which is why I was tempted. But honestly, having looked at the Alien Bee ring flash, I might just wait and save for that for the quality of the work you get from it.

- Samantha.

December 08, 2009 11:54 AM  
Blogger Denny G said...

I contacted the company to get the model that would fit a Olympus FL50 flash, found it 2.5 hours away drove down and back another 2.5 hours got the thing home and did 30 to 40 shots and disliked everyone, drove down and back the next day to return it. Not worth the money.
I guess I'll have to stay with my soft box's and my umbrellas.

December 23, 2009 6:15 PM  
Blogger contact said...

I know this is an old post by DH, but I thought I would let you guys know about this one from Gadget InFinity

http://www.gadgetinfinity.com/product.php?productid=17467&cat=0&page=1

July 27, 2010 11:06 AM  
Blogger contact said...

I know this is an old post by DH, but I thought I would let you guys know about this one from Gadget InFinity

http://www.gadgetinfinity.com/product.php?productid=17467&cat=0&page=1

July 27, 2010 11:07 AM  
Blogger evi_b said...

Hm, this product on this webpage http://www.gadgetinfinity.com/product.php?productid=17467&cat=0&page=1, I would not recommend. Yes the price is really low in comparison to Ray Flash but the quality copies the price.The colour light changes and you can shoot only on the distance of one meter, trust me I have the experience with both and Ray Flash is definitly worthwhile.

June 16, 2011 9:51 AM  

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