Create Striking Catchlights
The ring light look has been popular among fashion photographers for a while, but recently, it’s been making its way into other types of photography. The problem with using flash is that it makes it difficult to create images with a shallow depth of field because you’re usually up at f/8, f/11, or even higher. Thanks to the rising popularity of constant lights like the Kino Flo, Westcott Spiderlite, and others, it’s now possible to create shallow depth-of-field images with lighting that actually looks good.
Flashpoint has released the most affordable option for a constant ring light, the 14″ Fluorescent Dimmable Ring Light. It’s slightly smaller in diameter than the other option that’s on the market, but it’s also more than $100 less. It has an 80-watt compact fluorescent bulb with a color temperature of 5600 K. At its brightest power setting, you can shoot at ISO 100 and f/1.4 easily without worrying about getting blurry shots. Of course, not everyone has a lens that can shoot at f/1.4, so most people will want to be at ISO 200 to shoot at f/2.8 or f/3.5. If you have a variable-aperture lens that you’re zooming in with and going to f/5.6, then you might go up to ISO 400. If you’re brave and want to use the light at its lowest dimmable setting, then ISO 400 will be your minimum, depending on the lens.
What stands out most about this light is the catch light it produces in your subjects’ eyes. Rather than seeing the solid white shape of a softbox, the ring light creates a hollow but glimmering circle that makes eyes pop. The quality of light is soft, even, and very pleasing. It’s not the most versatile light, but you get plenty of bang for your buck.
Company: Adorama Camera, Inc.
Hot: Good light for a great price
Not: No cover to protect the bulb