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Best ring flashes: rating and reviews
Best ring flashes: rating and reviews

Practically any person who was fond of photography, both those who photographed everything in a row, and those who tried to take an artistic photo, had the opportunity and the desire to take a photo of a completely small object. Take a macro photo. And here the amateur photographer faced certain difficulties, the main of which was the correct lighting of the model or the subject.

The Importance of Light

Lots of light

After all, the final result depends on how to put the light, how to illuminate the object. Lighting is especially important for macro photography. After all, it is difficult to find the right shooting angle for a small object: it can either be completely or partially in shadow, and sometimes when choosing a photographic angle, it turns out that with the best location, the object is completely in shadow. In such cases, ring flash comes to the rescue.

History of the ring flash

Surprisingly, this kind of outbreak owes itsthe advent of medicine. Dentists were the first to use such a flash back in the early 50s. It was used to photograph the oral cavity, the light from the flash was supposed to illuminate it. A conventional flash could not cope with this task, and a special device was developed that had an annular shape and was attached directly to the camera lens. It was this form and this method of fastening that made it possible to take high-quality clear pictures, which were then printed in textbooks.

She is absolutely indispensable in cases where the object of filming is flowers, insects or jewelry. It is thanks to the ring flash that the illumination of macro subjects can be improved and the camera lens can be brought as close to the object as possible. It is this kind of flash that allows you to brightly illuminate the subject and leave the background dark. As a rule, in most cases, ring flashes are used to illuminate a small object and take a macro photograph. But in some cases they can also be used in portraiture and advertising photography. With the development of technology in the production of flashes, modern technologies began to be used and modern materials were used. And that is why LED ring flashes are currently being used.

Device Settings

flash ring

Like in any technique, flashes have their own parameters, according to which you can make your choice. They are characterized by many values, among which there are several main ones. These include the guide number, the anglelighting, power adjustment range, color temperature, second-curtain flash sync, recycling time and overall dimensions. The guide number characterizes the power of the flash itself. Referred to as GN and measured in meters. This assumes ISO-100 and assumes the actual f/1 aperture. It will not be superfluous to have various rings for connecting flashes with lenses.

Macro device features

Macro photo example

Macro and portrait flashes are different. The close-up ring flash fits right on top of the lens, providing soft, non-directional, shadow-free light. It is the combination of many light sources concentrated around the camera lens that gives the desired lighting effect used in macro photography. Due to the fact that this mode is rather specific, the use of conventional or built-in flashes is undesirable for it. It's just that such devices can cast a shadow from the lens on the object being photographed. A ring macro flash is free from such a disadvantage: its light gently illuminates the subject of photography. This type of flash gives a balanced, even illumination of the subject, allowing you to show the true beauty in the details.

Portrait ring

An unforgettable portrait

Perhaps the most controversial use of ring flash is portrait photography. This application has its supporters and opponents. Indeed, such a device makes the subject flat, and in order to highlight the model, it is necessary to applyand other types of lighting (for example, backlight or modeling light). When using a ring flash for portraits, use it as a fill light. This will avoid unnecessary glare. However, it can add additional highlights that will give the photo a certain charm. Particularly memorable are photos of models with the original effect of glare from the ring flash in the eyes.

Currently, you can easily find a suitable device option for almost any camera model.

A bit about Canon flashes

Yongnuo YN-14EX

Canon cameras use their own developed flash algorithm. It is based on the TTL system and is called E-TTL or a more advanced version of the flash firing algorithm - E-TTL II.

The ring flash for canon Yongnuo YN-14EX has the following specifications:

  • GN-14 (ISO 100).
  • TTL support - E-TTL II available.
  • Reflector Zoom - None.
  • Illumination angle - 80.
  • Power adjustable: 1/1-1/128.

Also includes lens adapter rings (52mm, 58mm, 67mm, 72mm) and a soft carrying case. This flash has two flash modes: manual flash output and E-TTL mode. The device allows you to shift the intensity of the glow between the left and right LEDs. This flash has a fast recycle time of 3 seconds.

Another flash for Canon cameras - YongnuoYN-24EX. This device supports all the E-TTL mode. There are also two lamps, the intensity of which can be adjusted separately for each, thereby creating lighting from the desired side. The flash has a built-in large display. Includes adapters for various lenses (52mm, 58mm, 67mm, 72mm).


  • GN-24 (ISO 100).
  • TTL support - E-TTL II available.
  • Reflector Zoom - None.
  • Illumination angle - 80.
  • Power adjustable: 1/1-1/128.
  • Color temperature - 5600 K.

When used in both manual and E-TTL modes, the flash fires very clearly and correctly. This device implements the operation of the flash on the second curtain. In general, it turned out to be a good mechanism, in many respects similar and working just as well as the Canon Macro Twin Lite MT-24 EX.

Nikon keeps up

Meike MK-14EXT

Nikon has developed two proprietary flash algorithms for its flashes - D-TTL, which is based on the camera's matrix metering. This algorithm is implemented for lenses marked "D" and "G". And the i-TTL algorithm designed for system digital flashes.

Meike MK-14EXT is one of Nikon's ring flashes. There is a large convenient LCD screen, TTL support, setting both manual and automatic modes, it is possible to set the power for different segments of the flash. The kit includes rings for fastening various diameters (from 52 mm to77 mm). GN-14, color temperature - 5500 K, has seven power levels: from 1/1 to 1/128 in 1/3 increments. Good for macro photography.

Another flash for Nikon - Nissin digital MF18. Budget option, works well in modern i-TTL mode. GN-16; color temperature - 5600 K; the same as in the previous flash - the ability to control the power in 1/3 steps; the ability to control other external flashes is implemented. Mounting rings included (from 52 mm to 77 mm).


Of course, flashes are now available and you can always buy them both on Internet sites and in regular stores. But you can make a ring flash with your own hands. There are many such examples on the World Wide Web. Moreover, you can make both stationary - for working in the studio, and portable. In the manufacture of such a flash, you can use lamps with an E27 cartridge (that is, ordinary ones). Then in this case an impressive ring is obtained, which will be permanently located in the studio. Or you can apply modern technology and use LEDs. In this case, you will have to get confused over the heat dissipation system and the flash voltage supply system.

Selfies in the dark? – Not a question

Selfie flash

It has now become popular to take pictures of oneself. Although this hobby has little to do with real portrait photography, the abundance of selfie-style photos on the Internet makes it worth considering. And indeed, because everyone wants to keep a photo, for example, from a concert orspring evening walk. But, unfortunately, on rare phones there are built-in flashes on the front cameras. And manufacturers went to meet the desire of people and invented ring flashes for phones. These devices run on two AAA batteries. Diameter - 85 mm, thickness - 25 mm. The device is put on the phone and securely attached to it with a clothespin. The inner side of the clothespin is covered with soft protective silicone, and thanks to this, the phone screen is not damaged. There are 32 built-in LEDs in the flash ring, which have three glow modes. Thanks to this device, you can take a selfie in a dark room on your phone, without fear that later nothing will be visible in the photo.

Among the large number of ring flashes, one can, perhaps, single out several options and make a kind of rating.

Nissin MF 18

The Nissin MF 18 flash comes with six lens mount rings (52mm to 77mm in diameter), for larger or smaller diameter lenses you will need to purchase additional rings. Its leading number is 16. The flash itself is attached with an adapter to the hot shoe of the camera. Universal - suitable for many models of lenses. The flash is easy to use with intuitive controls. The disadvantages include excessive bulkiness. Can be rated for a solid 4.

Sigma EM 140 DG

This flash is equipped with many functions (high speed sync, second curtain sync, flash lock, etc.) It has a guide number of 14 at ISO-100. Works as inmanual mode as well as automatic. It is possible to adjust the power and choose the side of the glow. On the negative side, this flash comes with only two rings (55mm and 62mm), and it has a control system that will have to suffer. Because of this, it can be rated 3.

Viltrox JY-670 Macro Light Pro Kit

Ability to control one or two lamps. Guide number - 14. Flash adjustment - only manual. It is possible to change the power of the lamps from maximum power to 1/128. The kit comes with six rings (49 - 67 mm). At a relatively low cost, this is a pretty good flash. Grade - 4.

Metz 15 MS-1

One of the most compact flash units. The guide number is 15. Implemented second-curtain sync, six-speed power control, the ability to distribute power to the sides of the flash. Wireless control. Requires only two AAA batteries to operate. The disadvantages include a small display. Grade - 4.

Nikon R1

The flash is not implemented in the form of a classic ring, but has the form of two reflectors located on opposite sides of the lens opposite each other. The device is wireless. Includes five rings (from 52 mm to 77 mm). Guide number - 10. Implemented wireless communication and fully automatic calculation of exposure and synchronization. Of the minuses, we can only say that this flash works exclusively with Nikon cameras. Mechanism score - solid 5.

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