Seagull MRC-80+ Flash LED Ring Light Review

We review the Seagull MRC-80+ Flash LED Ring Light - designed for macro and portrait stills photography, it can also be used as a constant light source.


|  Seagull MRC 80+FLASH LED Ring Light in Portable Flash and Lighting
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Features and Handling
Performance
Verdict
Specification

MRC 80+FLASH LED Ring Light

The ring flash has traditionally been used for macro photography, as well as portrait lighting, and using traditional flash technology has often been expensive to purchase. With the recent introduction of LED lighting, Seagull has developed an LED ring light, suitable for both video and flash photography. The Seagull MRC-80 is available for £89 from Kauser International.

Seagull MRC-80+ Flash LED Ring Light Features and Handling

Seagull MRC 80plus LED Ringflash (3)

The Seagull MRC-80+ Flash LED Ring Light features a battery compartment that sits on top of the hot-shoe, and with a single connection pin will work with all standard hot-shoes. The unit takes 4x AA batteries, with a test button on the back as well as the on/off switch that lets you select between F (Flash), Off, and L (Light). A wheel lets you adjust the light level of the LEDs when using it as a video or modelling light. On the Flash setting it can also be used as a modelling / video light, and will flash when the shutter is released on the camera. 

Key Features

  • LED Light output 5w
  • 80+ LEDs
  • 5800k colour temperature
  • 480 lumens
  • 8.5ft (ISO100, 1/60s)
  • 4x AA batteries (batteries not included)

Seagull MRC 80plus LED Ringflash (5)

The flash level is not adjustable, and is 4x brighter than just the LEDs on their own, on full power. When using the flash, manual settings will need to be used on the camera and adjusted for correct exposure, depending on how far away the subject is from the camera.

Using the Ring Light as a light, you can leave your camera in auto or program mode, and then the camera will set the correct aperture, shutter speed, and ISO setting for you for the correct exposure. On a mirrorless or compact system camera, or using DSLR in live view mode you'll be able to see the effect before shooting as well. 

Seagull MRC 80plus LED Ringflash (9)

Build quality is not great, with cheap looking plastic used, and fairly poor construction, for example you can see the gaps in the joins of the plastic surrounding the LED ring. 

The flash comes with a number of filter sizes from 49mm to 72mm (49mm, 52mm, 55mm, 58mm, 62mm, 67mm and 72mm) and once these are slid onto the flash ring, you can screw the ringflash onto the front of the lens. The ringflash is then connected to the battery compartment with the provided sync cable, which stretches comfortably to roughly 1 metre.

The flash can also be remotely triggered with a remote receiver unit (not included). Despite the front of the battery compartment looking like it might feature an infrared reciever or transmitter unit, it does not feature one.

Seagull MRC-80+ Flash LED Ring Light Performance

Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Seagull MRC 80+FLASH LED Ring Light Sample Photos

For portrait photography the ring light gives the traditional dark halo ring around the subject, which is more flattering. Particularly when compared to lighting a subject with a dedicated flashgun which often produces harsh shadows. If you try to use this with a lens that is too wide, then light fall-off is quite noticeable, and using a dedicated macro lens or zoom lens is a good idea.

Using the Flash in continuous shooting mode, it was possible to shoot at 8fps with an Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II without the flash missing a shot. 

Catchlight Close
Catchlight Close - You need to be very close to your subject to get a circular catchlight in the eyes, so for the most part you won't see this.

Product photography on lens:

Product shot LED (On lens) | 1/160 sec | f/5.6 | 70.0 mm | ISO 400
Product shot LED (On lens) | 1/160 sec | f/5.6 | 70.0 mm | ISO 400

Product photography off lens:

Low-key product shot LED (Off Camera) | 1/50 sec | f/4.5 | 70.0 mm | ISO 400
Low-key product shot LED (Off Camera) | 1/50 sec | f/4.5 | 70.0 mm | ISO 400

Battery life appeared to be very good when using alkaline AA batteries, and as an LED light the power usage is quite low. Although, as there is not battery strength indicator provided you may find you run out of battery power unexpectedly. 

Value For Money

Compared to traditional ringflashes such as the Bowens Pro ringflash (£999), the Canon MR-14EX II (£449), Sigma EM-140 DG (£300), the Seagull MRC-80+ Flash LED ring light at £89 offers excellent value for money, although these traditional ringflashes offer TTL (Through The Lens) metering and exposure control for automatic shooting. 

Although there are other, cheaper LED ringflashes available, care needs to be taken to ensure you are buying an LED lighting ring that can also be used as a flash, as some do not feature a flash function, and instead only offer continuous lighting. Another option would be an adapter, such as the RayFlash (£99), although for this accessory to work you already need to have a traditional flashgun.

Seagull MRC-80+ Flash LED Ring Light Verdict

Priced at £89 the build quality can be forgiven, although it would be nice to see this improved in future revisions. The photographic results are good, and the versatility of being able to use it as video lighting massively improves the appeal of the ringflash compared to more traditional flashguns. Even if you don't regularly record video, the option will be there, should you ever require it. The LED continuous lighting can also be used as a subtle additional light source for fill-in lighting, if you don't necessarily want the full effect of the flash. The Seagull MRC-80+ Flash LED Ring Light offers a wealth of creative shooting possibilities, including shooting high speed continuous shots with flash, meaning the MRC-80+ performs far beyond what we were expecting from a budget ring light.

Seagull MRC-80+ Flash LED Ring Light Pros

LED lighting can be used a constant light source
A number of filter sizes included
Good results for macro and portrait photography
Works with any camera with a hot-shoe
Significantly cheaper than traditional ringflash, and more versatile
Fast continuous flash shooting possible

Seagull MRC-80+ Flash LED Ring Light Cons

Build quality could be better
Manual settings needed for flash

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

The Seagull MRC-80+ performs far beyond what we were expecting from a budget ring light.

 

 

Seagull MRC 80+FLASH LED Ring Light Specifications

Flash
Flash Guide Number (ISO100/m)9m
Camera Dedication
  • Not dedicated
Flash DurationNo Data
Power Source
Battery Type4x AA
Dimensions
WeightNo Data
WidthNo Data
HeightNo Data
DepthNo Data

View Full Product Details

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Comments


StrayCat 15 19.1k 3 Canada
4 Nov 2015 6:52PM
I have a ring light very similar to this, cheaper though, that I used on the E-M5, and it was superb, better for close-up stuff than the Olympus $300 flash, and the Nissin i40 that I used on the Nikon D7000 and D7100. It also has a steady on mode for video with selectable levels of intensity. I had forgotten about it since I sold my E-M5, must dig it out and try it on the FZ1000, might come in handy. Good review, and if it's anything like mine, I'd buy it.Smile

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