Ring flash for portraits and macro?

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87
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Roger
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I am thinking of a ring flash as an extra option for portrait and also macro photography. Canon ETTL preferred. Any preferences and options I should consider as the price of them varies from £25 to £150? Thanks in advance.
 
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Steven
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A ring flash for portraits is very different from a ring flash for macro (MUCH larger)... personally, IDKW anyone wants a ring flash for portraits. For macro, I think a multi light setup is still best; so if going for a ringflash I would look for one that can at least be separated into two sides.
 

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1,273
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Trevor
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I think ring flash in portraits gives dreadful catchlights and I'd never use it myself because of this. I also think it makes anyone lit with a ringlight in video look like an alien too. (n)

Still, some people do - we're all different I suppose.

Macro - natural light or multiple flash for me . . .
 
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87
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Roger
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I use this on my Sony- for insects and the like ( never used for Portraits though)
Les :)
Ok. I understand horses for courses etc and having never owned a ring flash I appreciate the advice. However why the great difference in price compared to THIS?
 
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Terry
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I would go as far as to say that ring flash is unsuitable for portraiture as it give no modelling or shape at all.
You could perhaps use it for medical photography. to show diseased areas more clearly.
 
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Steven
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Ok. I understand horses for courses etc and having never owned a ring flash I appreciate the advice. However why the great difference in price compared to THIS?
That is an LED setup and not true flash. FWIW, I own a Nikon R1C1 macro flash kit which costs over $700 new/$400 used... it's a more advanced twin flash version of a ring light. And I never use it. My preference is for a speedlight in a small softbox; or multiple remotely located flashes.

I really should sell that R1C1 kit...
 
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2,618
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Graham
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I own a Nikon R1C1 macro flash kit which costs over $700 new/$400 used... it''s a more advanced twin flash version of a ring light. And I never use it. My preference is for a speedlight in a small softbox; or multiple remotely located flashes.

I really should sell that R1C1 kit...
I had that set up...I never used it either. Too much of a faff to set up.
 
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Richard
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Ringflash used for portraits leaves the subjects eye with a brilliant white doughnut that looks indescribably ugly, unless it's removed in post. Otherwise I'd agree with Steven.
Eddie Jones autobiography has that and it really really annoys me.
 
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Garry Edwards
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The concept of ringflash was created by a dentist who wanted to get close-up photos of teeth, illuminated from all angles and therefore shadow-free, and it's perfect for that and other close-up work.
But, as others have said, it's a very poor tool for portrait use, even with a ringflash big enough for the job.
 
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498
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I use both a macro twin flash and a macro ring flash, and both have their uses with macro shots.
 
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After reading the views on here and elsewhere I bought a Meike twin flash set up on Ebay yesterday. At the very least I won't have to dismantle my "studio" setup each time I want to go outside for macro photography.
I also looked at some Youtube videos about twin flash and there seemed to be a recurring issue of adequate diffusion. There were many examples of home made solutions but knowing the limitations of my own modelling skills I found a chap in Derbyshire who makes them for twin flash. Not cheap but has decent reviews.
https://www.macrodiffuser.com/
I had previously been using my Metz 44 AF-2 flashgun with a Lumiquest softbox for outdoor macro but it only goes to 1/32 power on manual and that's frequently too bright.
 
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498
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I have those diffusers, I needed to place further diffusion material inside, and now have very good diffused light.
 
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498
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The light simply wasn't diffused enough. I used some of that thin packing polystyrene, its more plastic than polystyrene if you get what I mean, I cut out the shape of the top, and added layers until I was happy with the results, good fun actually.
 
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