There is a kind of Holy Grail of RingFlash lighting.
It’s a somewhat specific, shadowless light, mainly thought of as beauty light.
You are either tethered by cable to a strobe pack, like the ProFoto ring,or you are using your speedlight and a pop up, lightweight doughnut, like the Roundflash, or a hard unit like the RayFlash. Here is a look at those on a previous post.
And the hunt goes on.
The latest, and in my opinion most versatile, has come into the market.
The Flashpoint Ring Li-On.
I took this unit to ComicCon NY 2015 and it performed just like I hoped it would
Let’s talk about the features first: With the flash being a 400WS, you have some real juice.
It has 4 modes: Manual, Slave 1, Slave 2, and Repeat for stroboscopic mode.
I kept it on Manual the whole day, and used it for it’s flash capability, adjusting the power down for tight shots (it goes down to 1/128 power), and up when I needed a bigger field of view.
Using a PC connection, first time in awhile for THAT socket to be employed, it worked like charm. Every time. Recycle time is between. 05 sec- 2.8 secs. I only had to wait once in the day, after firing off a ton of full tilt flashes.
Here is one of the unique deals with this unit: As a flash i found it to work great in the flash mode, but it is also an LED Ring Light! How good is that for some sweet video lighting? Now while the flash has an incredible range of power on the wheel, the LED only has 3 positions. Still a crazy good feature.
In my test the mounting hardware all tightened great, and the camera didn’t move once in position.
You do have to rig the camera to the light in a simple to adjust way, and I’d recommend setting it up before you hit a gig. In other words, mount your camera so it’s centered through the ring, then mark that placement with colored tape, perhaps, dismount, fold up the hardware for transport.
It fit perfectly in my ThinkTank Airport backpack, the mounting hardware folded down, with the rest of my gear. Another reason I love these bags.They just work.
To be sure,the rig is not light, (sorry) and adds about 3lbs to your setup.
If doing walk around, I would not recco using a Black Rapid, or other strap, due to the weight and form factor.
I went back to an old standby Crumpler shoulder strap using 2 rings on the camera and it was fine. I now always have a cotton carrier wrist strap, and that was on it, too.
The battery is rate at 450 flashes at full power. I didn’t use it for the last 2 hours, and it had power to spare, charging up pretty fast at night for the next day.
On a true assignment using this only , I’d have 2 batteries on hand at least.
As I said the true nature of a ring flash is a pretty specific look.
The beauty here is having 400 WS in your hand and not tethered by cable.
It does have a few ways to sync you camera-wireless controller like Pocket Wizard, PC Sync, or Sync Cable.
Walking around ComicCon, even with a press pass, this lighting unit said serious. It allowed me to get shots I never would have been able to make.
The current price I just saw was $450.
Oh, one other bit of versatility here:
You can mount a umbrella in it for that ultra spread soft light, even on location.
It does have a 1/4-20 on the bottom so yo can put the whole rig on a tripod.
I didn’t. In my hands or on my shoulder the whole time.
It comes with all of this:
So, what are the downsides?
A bit heavy in the hands and transporting. Once I was set-up, it was fine, but 5 hours later I was feeling it.
The color temp has a variance of 200º +/- from 5600K, so be aware either in the camera or in your post production. This may affect you more in video.
Overall, the build feels solid after a day on a trade show floor.
Set-up and break down for transport went easy, and felt secure throughout.
At $450 dollars this is a great value and you will use it.
I know I will.