The Doctors Eyes ringlight has been created with the Medical profession in mind and Dentists in particular. That doesn't mean that us photographers can't rip them off, though.
Doctors Eyes Ringlight Specification
- Micro-processor controlled illumination for constant, maximum brightness
- 12 levels of brightness
- Different LED segments can be lit independently
- Memory function for custom settings
- LCD display shows all ringlight functions
- Winglights are removable for a wider spread of light
- Micro-processor controlled fast charge
- Custom buttons
Allows fast access to preset Custom set up
- Light grid controller
Manipulates the LEDs lit on the ring or winglights
- Light grid display
Displays the LEDs lit after using the Light grid controller
- Battery gauge
Shows amount of power available. Will update when the brightness is adjusted
- Light brightness meter
Graph to show the brightness of the LEDs
- Power button
Powers up or powers down the unit
- Brightness controller
Controls the brightness of the LEDs which is then displayed on the Light Brightness meter
The main light is screwed onto the front of the lens on the filter thread using the adapter provided. A nice touch is that the main body of the light is attached to the holder by powerful magnets. The light can then be snapped off quickly and left dangling for the odd no flash capture.
The Lights are powerful LEDs that give a constant stream of light to help with shadow detail.
Two small ball joints stick out of the sides of the ringlight and these are for the winglights to be attached to. All three of the light attachments have a connecting wire with a modem type plug and snap easily into the main unit.
The main controlling unit is a large block of plastic, metal and wires that sits under the camera and attaches using the tripod bush. An additional bush is provided on the Controller so tripods can still be used if necessary. The tripod bush has multiple holes for a universal fit. The bush may not secure properly, though causing the camera to move.
The back of the controller is bewildering upon first inspection, but there are actually only a few controls. The left of the unit shows a diagram of the ring and winglights with two buttons in blue labelled one and two either side. These are Custom buttons that you can input your preferences into like luminescence, which lights are lit, that kind of thing.
The six buttons below are marked with plus and minus signs. These are for rotating through the different options of which lights are lit. The left plus and minus buttons control the left winglight, the centre buttons control the ringlight, leaving the right buttons to control the right winglight.
The lights attach to the main power unit by a modem style plug. The wires are bendy cords for added flexibility.
The Power button is located in the top right of the panel and the brightness of the lights can be controlled below it.
The LCD display panel shows a variety of information for you. It will display the lights in a diagram and as the plus and minus buttons are pressed, the lights will rotate through the six different options it has and the display will illustrate this for quick reference.
F1 and F2 signify the Custom buttons and will highlight if you activate them. A battery gauge is also shown and a neat trick is if the brightness is manipulated, the battery gauge will go down to show how much power is left at that present setting. The brightness is displayed as a graph in the bottom right corner and as a number in the top right.
The ringlight has a circle of LEDs hidden behind a diffuser which gives a more even level of light.
The back is easy to use to manipulate which lights are inactive or not. Because the lights are constant, everything is predetermined before shooting.
Doctors Eyes Ringlight Performance
The Doctorseyes ringlight could be mistaken for a ringflash and it shouldn't be because it isn't a flash. The lights are powerful LEDs which give a constant stream of light for you to make any adjustments realtime.
The battery takes a long time to charge, so allow an overnight job if possible. The more intense the light, the quicker the power will drain and you can practically watch it flow out of the battery at its highest setting.
My main interest in the Doctorseyes ringlight is whether it will make a good portrait light. For the pictures of Becky, I used a Macro lens to get rid of any vignetting.
For portrait shots, I had to set the lights to the minimum brightness or the shots came out completely burnt out.
For macro work, the light is great for setting up the scene that you are going to be photographing as it allows you to move the lights or the subject to fit.
Using the Ringlight with the main unit and the right wing brings out more light on the right side of the face causing contrasting shadows. The main reason for using these lights is balanced exposure and great catchlights.
Using the opposite light gives a more even light because of the way the face is directed. It shows that the way portrait is taken can determine which shots to use.
Using just the wings from the Pro pack also gives an even light, to the point of not needing the main light. The wings can be moved around as they are on ball joints.
Different effects can be made by adjusting the light. I wanted an effect of night fall and knocked the light to minimum and turned off the main light.
Doctors Eyes Ringlight Verdict
Despite being designed for dentist work, the Doctors Eyes ringlight works just as well photographing other objects. A standard lens doesn't work due to vignetting, so a telephoto or dedicated macro lens will be needed.
If you do a lot of macro work, then this is a worthwhile item to look at due to the constant light source and no flash.
Doctors Eyes Ringlight Plus points
Continuous light stream
Even the pro pack is easy to use
Doctors Eyes Ringlight Minus points
Battery life is not great
Pack is very heavy
Tripod bush can come loose
EASE OF USE
The DoctorsEyes Ringlight Professional for SLR cameras has an SRP of £600.
The Compact pack starts at £360 for the SonyW1 set and £500 for the Canon A630/A640 set.
Take a look at Kauser international for more info.