RayFlash Universal RingFlash Adapter Review

RayFlash Universal RingFlash Adapter Review - We test the RayFlash Universal RingFlash Adapter - designed to give any flash head a ring flash effect.

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RayFlash Universal Adapter in Portable Flash Accessories

Features
Handling
Performance
Verdict

RayFlash Ringflash (2)

The RayFlash Universal RingFlash adapter is designed to attach to any flash head and can be used for macro photography to produce an even distribution of light as well as fashion and still-life photography to create interesting halo shadows around the subject. We tested the RayFlash Universal RingFlash adapter with the Metz 64 AF-1, although the universal nature of the flash means it should work with nearly all flash heads available. The RayFlash Universal RingFlash adapter is available from RobertWhite, for £99.

RayFlash Universal RingFlash Adapter Features

RayFlash Ringflash (3)

The RayFlash RingFlash adapter was designed as a lightweight and portable ringflash adapter for use with any hot-shoe flash. Designed to replicate the lighting effect produced by studio or portable ringflash units, but without the cost of a dedicated ringflash. 

The light from the RayFlash RingFlash adapter originates from a circle areound the camera lens, creating a distinctive lighting effect, as well as an almost shadowless look on the front of the subject, as well as a soft even shadow around the edges, which can be seen when the subject is close to a light coloured background. The effect is called a "3D shadow-wrapped look", which makes it suitable for Fashion, Wedding, Portrait, Press, PR, Events and macro photography, as a main or fill-in light.

The RayFlash RingFlash adapter uses the hot-shoe flash (speedlite) to generate its light and takes advantage of a camera’s TTL metering capabilities. The adapter slides over the front of a flash head and locks into place for secure use, using an adjustable spring loaded clamp with padding. It contains no electronics, batteries or flash tubes and does not require any cables. A quick video showing the RayFlash being attached to a flash head can be found here.

RayFlash Ringflash (4)

Key Features

  • Works with nearly all flash head / camera combinations
  • Colour of light output does not change
  • Low levels of light loss
  • Includes O-Ring to stabilise flash head
  • Adjustable spring-loaded grip with padding
  • Adjustable position to align with the lens

RayFlash Universal RingFlash Adapter Handling

Universal Adapter

RayFlash say that the additional weight can easily be accommodated by the flash unit, although this may depend on the build quality of the flash head you are using. The provided O-ring can give additional support to the flash head and with various widths is easily adjusted to give the correct fit. The bracket at the top of the RayFlash is spring loaded, with foam padding inside to protect your flash head, and care should be taken when putting the RayFlash on the flash head in order to prevent damage to the foam padding. We used the adapter with a Metz 64 AF-1 flash head and had no problems with the weight of the RayFlash adapter.

Digital SLR exposure control operates as usual, with TTL functions, based on the flash head used with the camera. You can also set the exposure manually either using a light meter or through test-shots on the digital camera. On automatic settings when using TTL metering, you may wish to adjust the flash output to avoid over or under-exposing your images. 

Flash head joints (i.e. the neck that allows movement in the upper part of the flash unit) vary slightly in the angle of their orientation relative to the camera’s body. If the flash head tilts down slightly when fitted with the RayFlash, the enclosed black rubber O-Ring can be used in the joint until the RayFlash is parallel with the camera body and the face of the lens. The O-Ring has four different thickness sections to suit any flash unit. 

There are two sizes available, large (L) and small (S), with the model required depending on the camera you have, with details available on the RayFlash website

RayFlash Ringflash (1)
 

RayFlash Universal RingFlash Adapter Performance

The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the equipment. Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

RayFlash Universal Adapter Sample Photos


Sample Photos - The RayFlash produces images with very good colour, and good light distribution, with minimal shadows. This is particularly useful for macro photography for small items like watches, or jewelry. In portrait photos shadows are very minimal, and any that are seen are quite soft, for example, where there is a background close to the subject. The ringflash also looks good, giving you and your subject something to discuss.

Rayflash Eyes Detail
Rayflash Eyes Catch-light Detail

You need to be quite close to your model, or use a telephoto / portrait lens (50mm+) to get a detailed shot of the ringflash effect in the eyes, and the closer you are the better, particularly if this is the look you are going for. There was no red-eye visible in the portrait shots.

Value For Money

The RayFlash Universal RingFlash adapter is available from RobertWhite for £99, making it very good value for money compared to a dedicated ringflash, which are often in the £300 price range, or an alternative, the Orbis RingFlash is available from £119, although does not include the mounting backet, which costs an additional £49. If you already have a flash head you can use, then the RayFlash is an excellent way to get a ring-light flash without the full expense of a dedicated ringflash. Even if you don't own a flash head, then a Nikon or Canon branded flash head is around £200, with ones from other manufacturers available from around £100, making the RayFlash an extremely well priced solution.

RayFlash Universal RingFlash Adapter Verdict

There is very little on the market to compare this to, making this a unique and affordable option for those looking to improve the look and appearance of flash photography, particularly for macro or portrait photography. If you already have a flash head, then this makes an excellent choice, being well priced, and effective. The build quality is good, and the RayFlash is made out of high quality materials. The universal nature of the RayFlash means that you can continue to use it even if you change your flash head or camera systems.  

RayFlash Universal RingFlash Adapter Pros

Good results
Good value for money
Gives circular catchlight
O-ring provided to support flash head
Easy to attach and use

RayFlash Universal RingFlash Adapter Cons

Requires an existing flash-head
Could stress weaker or older flash heads

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

The RayFlash RingFlash Adapter is a great addition and will be particularly useful for macro and portrait photography.

 

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Comments


ChrisV Plus
11 2.3k 26 United Kingdom
27 Nov 2014 2:39PM
Just bought one of these on the strength of this review. Haven't tried it yet [I don't have my flash with me today], but it looks well made. Hoping to use it at a wedding this weekend which looks like it's going to be pretty much all indoors...

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