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Ray Flash: The Ringflash Adapter

Posted on May 08, 2009 in News: Camera Accessories, Ray Flash

The ringflash originally invented in 1952 for use in dental photography is a circular photographic flash that fits around the lens. Having illumination on the same axis as the lens is particularly useful, especially for use in macro (or close-up) photography as the light surrounding the lens gives very even illumination with few shadows. Moreover, at close working distances, off-axis lighting can present problems as the lens itself can cast a shadow on the subject.

Ringflashes are also very popular in portrait and fashion photography. The light coming from all round the lens softens shadows thus minimizing unsightly wrinkles and the unique way that ringflashes give the model a "glowing" appearance sees it often used for fashion and glamour shoots. Next time you pick up a magazine, look into the eyes of the model. Circular catchlights in the eyes are tell-tale signs that a ringflash was used.

Until the recent introduction of the Ray Flash Ringflash Adapter, most photographers could only dream of working with a ring flash because they are expensive and big and need to be plugged into a power source. This restricts their use to those with fat wallets and dedicated camera rooms. Then along comes this clever Czechoslovakian photographer who ingeniously designed a lightweight ring flash that uses a camera’s hot shoe flash to generate the light.

The Ray Flash doesn’t have any electronics, flash tubes or cumbersome cables. Instead it employs a clever system of internal prisms, reflectors and light shapers, to distribute the light from the flash unit evenly around the large diameter of the Ringflash Adapter. The Ringflash Adapter is so efficient that it loses only one stop of light compared to direct flash.

Its efficiency apart, the Ray Flash scores many other plus points. It is flat and lightweight, making it very portable as it can easily be carried in a pocket of some equipment bags. It attaches very easily to the shoe mount flash; you simply fit it over the head of the flash, secure it and the two become one solid sturdy unit. Where it scores over larger, heavier and more expensive ringflashes is that as it is powered by a dedicated hot shoe flash, you also enjoy all the sophisticated TTL metering capabilities of your camera.

Presently, the Ringflash Adapter is only available for the Canon 580EX and Nikon SB800 flashes. Its large internal diameter allows almost all the lenses from Canon and Nikon to be used. If you’re a fortunate Canon or Nikon user who works with these flashes, you’re really in luck for you’ll be able to enjoy the added creativity that a Ringflash Adapter will give you.

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