Ring Flash quality light while I run and gun on location
Photo Credit: Sion Fullana
I seldom write blog posts about equipment. There’s already a lot of bloggers who review camera equipment on a regular basis out there, much better that I could ever be able to do.
Besides, since the beginning of my career, while learning the smallest minutiae about my gear in order to become able to use it instinctively, I always got slightly annoyed with “gear head” colleagues of mine, who enjoyed more talking about “f stops” and “chromatic aberration” than about the emotions that capturing or looking at an image can provoke in us.
Today I just want to share my excitement about a relatively new device I came across by pure chance, on a Polish website. I got in touch with the company, ASITIS, and was able to get my hands on a unit to experiment with it.
I am talking about a wonderful light modifier called “Round Flash”.
Unlike similar units, built in hard plastic, hence bulkier, fragile, and needing special brackets to attach to the camera, “Round Flash” is made of fabric, with a reflective chamber inside, a front panel of white diffusion material, and an opening, at the back, to attach it directly to a flash on the camera hot-shoe.
It easily folds and can be stored in a small fabric pouch.
Once unfolded, it has a number of magnetic rods around its circumference that quickly snap into place and keep it in the desired shape (BTW it is commonsense not put your magnetic media anywhere near those magnetic rods).
Obviously there is a hole in the middle, where you insert your lens, securing it with a simple pentagonal elastic stretchy rope. Although this is the intended use of the modifier, I have been also able to use it off camera, on a light stand, in the fashion of a nice, round soft-box.
Having used the aforementioned hard plastic ring flash light modifiers, my favorite one being the “Orbis”, I immediately noticed several important advantages using the “Round Flash” unit.
1) The much larger size: Its diameter is 45 cm (17,7 inches), therefore it becomes a substantially large light source, especially working in proximity of your subject.
2) It fits snugly all the flash units I work with, from the bigger Nikon SB900 to the tiny SB 600.
3) It stays firmly and safely attached to the camera. Being incredibly lightweight (313 grams/ 11oz) and despite its rather large size it is very comfortable to work with, maintaining your mobility even in “run and gun” situations.
4) The light quality is beautiful, a very even and soft light with no hotspots, which I find ideal when working at large apertures, outdoors, to give me a nice soft fill on a subject, with the typical round catch light in the eyes, while keeping the background out of focus.
The only drawback I can report is actually communicating with your subject as you are “buried” behind this large contraption. You tend to feel a bit isolated back there. If you need to give advice to the person you are photographing or keep a conversation alive, this is not very conducive and you’ll have to stretch your neck to a side just to say hello !!
I mainly love working with this “Round Flash” because I can have ring flash quality lighting when I work in outdoors locations, places where a “real” ring flash unit, or even the other ring modifiers available, would be unpractical and cumbersome.
With “Round Flash” I can obtain a light quality and effect until now confined to a studio environment, whenever I shoot editorial images, often running all over the place without any assistants.
Its extreme portability and great light quality already made the “Round Flash” a permanent fixture in my camera bag, not to mention that as soon as I unfold this circular marvel it immediately becomes a conversation starter!!
Photo Credit: Sion Fullana
Info about the ROUNDFLASH HERE