Hi and welcome back.
I don’t normally review gear, but I’ve gotten a few pieces of gear that warrant reviews.
The first is the improved Ray Flash Ring Light Adapter for small flashes. I have the old Ray Flash and like it but don’t love it. If you have ever used a ring light, you know they produce a shadowless light on your subject but are very, very bright and also obtrusive and unwieldy on your camera. It is a look that goes in and out of fashion, but it is a good piece of gear to have on hand just in case or to be used as on axis fill or even and off camera fill or key light. For my Hensel strobe ring light, I had a custom grid cut by Honey Grids and have used it as a hair and separation light.
Onto the review.
This is the box it comes in. It says Universal, but that is a misnomer and we’ll talk about that later.
Notice the ring in the center. It is used on the flash to keep it upright due to the weight of the unit. It is a pain to install and you can see the steps in it for different flashes. The large one fit my SB910:
Here is a photo of the old Rayflash:
Here is the new and improved version which is slimmer:
And here they are side-by-side. The new version is much slimmer and looks easier to use:
The next photos show what makes the new unit Universal. The top slides up and down so you can use multiple flashes on one camera: Nikon D3 with SB800 or SB900/910. This makes the new unit better in that it is not camera/flash specific and you need to own more that one Ray Flash for more than one camera/flash combo. However, this is where the universal moniker is incorrect. While yes you can use more than one flash on a camera, you cannot use multiple cameras. So a D3/4 Ray Flash will not transfer over to a smaller D800/600/5200 combination. If you have multiple cameras, you still need to own multiple Ray Flashes:
Here is a shot with the old model on my D3 and SB910:
Here is the new model on my D3 with SB910, notice the rubber ring on the flash. You need to install this first on larger flash units as the design of the new Ray Flash pulls the larger flash heads down. You need to keep the Ray Flash on the same plane as the lens so you get even light across the frame:
Here’s the ring installed. Forget about working quickly, it is a pain to install first and then install the Ray Flash:
But on smaller flashes, like the SB800, it works just fine. The other thing to note is now how close the Ray Flash sits to the body of the camera. Now it can be a nuisance to fit larger fingers in between the body and the Ray Flash:
Now to some test shots. After my sitting with Crysta, I took a few test shots for this post. The first shot is with the old Ray Flash, Nikon D3, SB910, Program Auto mode, TTL on the Flash on both test shots. Look at the light coverage on the top and bottom of the frame: it is dark.
I shot nearly the same frame with the new Ray Flash and the same settings on my flash. The coverage is better on the new unit due to the upgrade on the flash tube system and the bigger reflective surface for the light. The new version throws more light from top to bottom and gives a better result out of the camera.
The Ring Light look is a look that is common in photography and many photographers use it in different ways. I like but don’t love the look; however, it is a good tool to have on hand when the need arises.
Fits more flash combinations
Better light output
Slimmer, so you need to use the rubber ring, which can be a pain
Only fits flash combinations of one camera. If you have two different cameras, you are still needing two units
Still unwieldy as every ring light is
Overall, I like the improvements in the Ray Flash. It is brighter than the old unit and the spread of light is broader. The rubber ring is a pain but for the amount I’ll use it, it isn’t so bad.
If you are looking for a ring light for small flashes, take a look at the Ray Flash. I like but don’t love it, but it works well when used properly.
For all you looking for some teaching, I shot the products like this. Every photo above is unretouched, directly out of my camera flaws and all.
Hensel Integra 500, Chimera 36 x 48 softbox, Impact 42 x 72 white reflector.
Till next time, Happy Shooting!