DIY Ring Light

I read about how you can use a certain kind of camping flashlight as a ring light, so I got one of these cheap off eBay sometime last year. Don’t do it. Just get a proper ring light — a generic one isn’t that much more cost and you get a much more useful product.

Here is the camping light next to a generic ring light with an orange diffuser (which helps my Fuji’s get proper white balance).

20160521 230751 DSCF2925 XE2_DCE.jpg

Both of mine have 48 LEDs, but the camping light:

  • has a tiny opening for a lens
  • has no diffusers to even out the light (and no corrective diffuser like the one above that I like)
  • is heavy (4 batteries inside the ring)
  • has no lens mount (so you have to hold the ring in some way often blocking the LEDs)
  • does not have left/right light options — you can only have all lights or the inner or outer lights (silly because both have the same number of lights pointed in the same direction)
  • and it isn’t easy changing the batteries
  • (and it gets rather hot after several minutes which is a little disconcerting)

20160521 171518 IMG_0123 G15_DCE.jpg

I could address some of these issues by gluing filter rings, sanding down parts, etc, but really just avoid the headache and buy a proper ring light. This thing is so much of a headache to use that I have no motivation to take pictures illustrating each of the above problems.

But here is my Canon G15 by itself vs with the DIY ring light.

By itself, the lens could be 1/2″ away from the quarter. With the huge ring light, there was no way to get that close, and I had to zoom in in order:

  • to avoid vignetting,
  • to avoid the ring light losing its own light,
  • and to get the same magnification (but lost the cool angle).

And, obviously, the Canon had a hard time determining white balance. My iPhone was no better. This is an awful ring light unless either:

  • You want everything blue
  • You want to / can set manual white balance
  • or you want to spend a lot of time post processing.

Yuck. Yuck. Yuck.

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