Ray Flash Redux

There were lots of questions following the earlier review of the new Ray Flash Ring Flash Adpater.

I have tried to answer them best I could -- and found a video to boot -- after the jump.

Ring Flash Q-n-A

Q: 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?

A: Yes, it will block the AF-assist light on the SB-800. But FWIW, I am not sure that this thing is that much of a run-and-gun light source. (At least, that is not the way that I would use it.)

Q: What is this? No Konica-Minolta/Sony flash units? That's a pretty poor business choice... (Ditto other question, re: Sunpak/Vivitar)

A: Dunno which other flashes are coming, but you have to understand that Nikon and Canon comprise the vast amount of the DSLR market. They have to go where the numbers are, at least at first.

Q: 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?

A: I actually have bought, tried and discarded a couple of those types of flashes. They are far too weak (and the light source size far too small) to be very useful for subjects other than macro.

Q: 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?

A: It does block the front of the flash, because it channels it to the ring light area. Being a Nikon guy, I tried it in SB-800 Commander mode to see if it would control other flashes wirelessly. It did.

Q: 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." ... Do you mean that the light output is evenly distributed around the whole ring?

A: If the light were emitted all of the way around the ring, it would definitely be hotter up top, which would be closer to the flash. They balance this out by not starting to release the light until it is just a little bit of the way around the circle. The end effect is a pretty even lighting effect around the ring.

(You can see a good, albeit brief, visual example of this in the video below.)

Q: 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?

A: That depends on whether or not your camera will trigger a PW from the PC jack when a hot-shoe flash is mounted. Some will, some won't.

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

A: I'd eat my hat. This thing has a pretty complex light distribution system. Second thought, I would not be surprised to see a piece-of-crap knockoff. But this thing is actually more complicated that it looks from a distance.

Q: I've noticed it's $50 cheaper if you're a Canon user yeah!

A: FYI: That appears to be the older model. It is not as efficient as the new, thinner model.

Q: I'm sure the Gadget Infinity folks already have a prototype in the works.

A: We actually gave them an engraved invitation to create one about six months ago, and they pretty much dropped the ball. Shame, too.

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

A: That's the older, less efficient model. Same principle, though.

Q: 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.

A: Can't speak for the plastic hot shoe flashes, but on my SB-800 (with a metal hot shoe) there did not seem to be much stress at all on the shoe or the foot. I would think that they would already know it if flashes snapping off were a problem. Having used it on mine, I am not worried.

Q: 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".

A: It is a little smaller than the ABR or other big-powered ring flashes. But at portrait distances, it seems to fine. Personal preference, tho.

Q: 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.

A: Yup. EU Types will want to look at Flaghead Photographic.

Q: 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.

A: (As if on cue.) Thanks for the gel tip. I'll try it!

Q: Does it work with high-speed (FP) flash?

A: Yes -- remembering that it is totally passive. It'll handle close-in portraiture outside using the FP synch stuff.

For a better look at it's size, thickness, how it attaches, etc., check out this YouTube video, which we have conveniently dubbed for our readers from The Netherlands. Please bear in mind that this man is not a professional actor, but merely a normal photographer person such as yourself:


New to Strobist? Start here | Or jump right to Lighting 101
Connect w/Strobist readers via: Words | Photos
Got a question? Hit me on Twitter: @Strobist
Grab your passport: Strobist Destination Workshops