What Is It
If you have already tried taking close-up pictures, you know that a built-in camera flash doesn't deliver a decent result - the light is distributed unevenly and an object might be unrecognizable. However, there is a way out and it's called a ring flash. This accessory allows you to take stunning and highly detailed photos of small objects in a dim-lit area or at nighttime. Some ring flashes can work as ring lights, which is important for shooting videos. A ring flash is mounted right on the lens while a control panel is installed into a so-called 'hot shoe' of a camera, so such accessories are portable and easy-to-use.
If you wish to take portrait photos in a studio, make sure to read the review of the best Ring Lights. If you are interested in macro photography, you need to use an appropriate lens. Therefore, check out our shortlist of the best Macro Lenses for Canon.
Canon MR-14EX II
Let's Measure the Distance
It's a popular ring flash manufactured by one of the leading manufacturers of cameras - Canon. MR-14EX II is a new model that combines a number of improvements (compared with the previous versions), such as a better ergonomics, upgraded controls, etc. The ring flash is compatible with the time-proven E-TTL technology as well as its upgraded version - E-TTL II. Among other functions, the new technology measures the distance to the object being photographed and configures the exposure after focusing. The ring flash consists of 2 semi-rings that allow for a separate light intensity adjustment. There are 2 focusing lamps between the semi-rings; they provide a quick focusing on an object. The most important feature of any flash is its guide number and it's 45.9' for this model. Thus, the focusing depth is excellent even at the minimal aperture settings. To start using this ring flash, you just need to install 4 AA batteries (fully charged, of course). The recycling time varies from 0.1 to 5.5 seconds, so you can make a series of shots till an object (an insect or a bird, for example) leaves the field of view. The twin-tube design allows you to control shades. If both semi-rings emit the same light intensity, you will be able to minimize shades whereas if the settings are different - you will be able to add some shade to the object. Moreover, the ring flash is installed right on the lens and it's possible to rotate it, which means only a photographer controls shades and light options. Yet, this cutting-edge Canon ring flash isn't fully perfect and there is a drawback - it's incompatible with some lenses and you might need a special adapter. We would like to mention an important advantage of this photo accessory - it comes with a carry bag for easy and safe transportation.
Needless to say, this Canon ring flash package doesn't include batteries, so we recommend you to purchase really durable ones like Duracell Rechargeable Long Life AA-4 Batteries. Each of them has the capacity of 2400 mAh which is sufficient for any professional photo session.
No doubt, this ring flash will help you take amazing close-up photos and all the controls are simple and intuitive. No matter how experienced you are, you will master the art of photography with this gadget from Canon.
Sigma EM-140 DG
Before You Take a Picture...
Sigma is a renowned manufacturer of cameras, light filters, lenses, and other accessories for photography. For this review, we have picked the Sigma ring light for Nikon DSLR cameras. This ring flash consists of 2 separate lamps that can work together or independently. Therefore, you can easily take pictures of the same object in different light conditions in order to reach the best result. Sigma ring flash for Nikon has a peculiar feature - a high-speed synchro mode. For a more precise focusing, for example in a dark room or at night, the flash has a couple of lamps that you can turn on and your camera will autofocus quicker. As for the recycling time this ring flash requires, it's around 4 seconds though, of course, it might take longer for the gadget to get ready for the next photo if the batteries are running low. Lots of photographers buy conventional batteries but we recommend using rechargeable ones since they can be recharged multiple times and save your money this way. So, follow our piece of advice and use this Energizer +B6 L6 Recharge Pro Charger with 4 AA NiMH Rechargeable Batteries.
There are lots of lenses available on the market and that's why Sigma ring flash comes with 2 adapters, 55mm and 62mm. That's very important if you use several lenses with your Nikon DSLR camera.
In all, this is a worthy ring flash that will help you take awesome pictures at any party or create breathtaking close-ups. And what's more - the item has a 4-year warranty in the USA!
Yongnuo YN-14EX TTL LED Macro
For more than 10 years the Yongnuo company has produced such important electronic gadgets as TTL cables, remote controls, battery sets, and so on. However, the company is known mostly for its camera flashes and we have picked one of them for this shortlist.
YN-14EX is a handy macro photography ring flash for Canon cameras. It has 2 lamps (right and left) and 2 LED focus assist lights (upper and lower). These lights are very helpful for a quick focusing of your camera in low light conditions; just push the respective button on the control panel of the ring flash. Needless to mention, the 2 lamps of this accessory can work separately and you can easily adjust the light intensity for taking most beautiful close-up pictures in your life! Moreover, you can select not just the intensity but exposure as well. This ring flash is created to help you fully immerse in taking photos without a need of looking at the control panel of the ring flash - just enable a sound prompt system. If you wish to save the battery charge, just turn the system off! But this is not the only advantage of this ring flash as it boasts a really short recycling time - just around 3 seconds whereas the maximum one is no more than 4-5 seconds. The ring flash requires 4 batteries - either conventional or rechargeable ones. Moreover, the manufacturer wants to make this accessory as multifunctional as possible by including 4 different adapters (52mm, 58mm, 67mm, 72mm) in the shipping package. Thus, you can unpack the ring flash and start taking pictures!
Any professional photographer using an SLR camera needs a reliable and big bag for his or her cameras and all the accessories (including a ring flash). We recommend you to use this Canon 100ES Shoulder Bag.
If you don't wish to overpay for branded ring flashes, choose this one and you will be able to take top-grade photo shoots.
Neewer 48 LED
Shooting Videos at Nighttime
Neewer is a young company that has been on the market since 2010. The manufacturer produces a variety of accessories for cameras such as tripods, flashes, remote controls, and lots of others. We have picked the Neewer 48 Macro LED ring light model. Unlike ring flashes, it's a ring light, which means it's an excellent accessory for taking pictures or shooting videos of insects or plants. It's impossible with just a ring flash but these options become available if you want to make videos! The number '48' in the name of this photo accessory means the number of LED pieces placed all around the light ring. The unit operates on 2 AA batteries that you can buy in nearly any mall. If you need to record a long video (for example, for your video blog), this ring light can be connected to the AC power grid. Just like on ring flashes, you can use either both parts of the light or one of them (left or right). Therefore, the Neewer 48 ring light is helpful for photo sets when a photographer wishes to add a bit of shade. The item comes with 6 adapters: 49mm, 52mm, 55mm, 58mm, 62mm, 67 mm. This photo accessory is pretty lightweight - just 0.4 lb so you will feel no discomfort after attaching it to your camera. Though many people use this Neewer ring light for shooting videos and mount a camera on a tripod; the weight of the unit doesn't really matter. Yet, if you are ready to become a blogger, we advise this convenient AmazonBasics tripod with a case included.
Polaroid 48 Macro LED
Polaroid is one of the top-tier companies producing cameras and all kinds of photo accessories. It was founded in 1937 by Edwin H. Land who received 535 patents on the variety of inventions. The company is known for the invention of its groundbreaking instant camera that could make a photo seconds after a photographer took it. Today, Polaroid produces a variety of products such as LCD TV sets, cameras, smartphones, headphones, and even macro ring flashes.
Polaroid 48 Macro ring flash is designed for the usage with Nikon DSLR cameras. This accessory includes 48 LEDs (24 in the left and 24 in the right part of the ring). Unlike most other ring flashes, this model can be both a ring flash and a ring light. This feature adds to the versatility of the item! For example, you can shoot a great video in the light mode or take some stunning pictures in the flash mode. No need to mention, you can use the whole ring or just a half (left or right). Some flashes have LED focusing lamps but this one doesn't. However, it isn't a problem since you can use the light mode for focusing on an object. Polaroid ring flash is shipped with 3 diffusers: orange, white, and blue. The blue and orange ones allow for creating amazing color effects whereas the white one makes the light milder. There are many lenses for Nikon DSLR cameras and that's why this ring flash includes 8 adapters (also called mounting rings) - from 49mm to 77 mm in diameter.
Though this ring flash is lightweight, it's rather bulky and might be too big for your camera bag. Therefore, we recommend you to use this spacious Case Logic camera sling.
In all, Polaroid ring flash is a multifunctional accessory for people who need to take pictures in different places and in various light conditions. Fantastic 2-in-1 gadget!
1. How to Choose a Flash for Your DSLR, eBay. March 3, 2016.
2. Bjorn Petersen A Guide to On-Camera Flash, B&H. November 2015.
3. Ring Flashes, Michigan Tech.
4. Hazel Rigby 3 Creative Ways to Use a Ring for Portrait Photography, PictureCorrect.
5. Ring flash, Wikipedia. October 15, 2016.