Shopping for Macro Lights and Ringlights
Macro lights and ringlights are circular lights mounted on cameras to provide even lighting. Unlike other flashes and on-camera lights, these reduce harsh shadows by bathing subjects in a diffused glow. Ring lights are useful for all kinds of close-up portraiture including food, fashion, and nature photography. You can also use them to provide soft lighting for video cameras.
Types of Macro Flash Lights
A ring light is the most common type of on-camera light used for macro photography. It usually attaches directly in front of a camera's lens to provide illumination as close to the subject as possible. Some ring lights are made of circular fluorescent tubes while others use LED lamps. A macro LED ring light uses less power than a fluorescent unit does, and it doesn't get as hot. LED's also make it easier to dim light output and switch between completely illuminating a scene and brightening it from an angle.
A macro twin light is a ring light alternative for close-up photography. Like a ring light, it mounts on the camera's lens to illuminate the subject closely. However, it employs two flash units rather than a light ring. Nikon's wireless close-up speedlight system is a good example of a macro twin light. You can use both types of macro flash lights alone, or in conjunction with high-wattage battery-powered strobe flash heads.
Features to Look for in a Macro Ring Light
First, choose a macro light that's compatible with your camera. Look for a unit with multiple diffusers as well as adapter rings to mount it on different types of lenses. In addition to the standard hot shoe mount, some on-camera lights also include stand/tripod mounts. Select a model that works with a wide range of macro and ringlight accessories.
The light itself should have multiple levels of brightness while also offering continuous illumination and flash modes. The ability to use only left or right illumination also gives you more control over lighting for close-up shots. A backlit LCD display to adjust settings helpful in a macro ring light. Power supply is another important factor to consider. Most small and mid-size ring lights use AA batteries, while some also can run on rechargeable battery packs.
What's a Flexible Macro Light?
This is a macro lighting fixture with long, flexible arms. Rather than mounting directly on a camera lens, it has small, floating flash heads connected to a controller with a hot shoe mount. The illuminating lamps at the ends of the articulating arms can be twin or LED macro ring flash lights. The flexible arms allow you to position the lights exactly where you need them. Each arm also has an independent light output.
Improve your close-up shots by providing bright, soft, and even illumination with the right macro and ringlights. Choose the perfect unit from B&H Photo and Video's premium selection of new and used macro lights, ringlights and accessories.