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Review: The Photojojo Ring Flash

by Chris Gampat on 04/12/2011

Buy the The Ring Flash Adapter at the Photojojo Store!

We got the Photojojo Ring Flash Adapter in for review last night, and today I took it on a bit of an excursion. I had a busy day in and out of the office, and despite this I got some time to experiment with this item and give it a bit of a run through.

Edit: The real name is the Go Pro Ring Flash Adapter

What is it?

The Photojojo Ring Flash Adapter is a flash modifier that goes around the head of your flash and reshapes the light output to mimic that of a ring flash. This is extremely similar to the Expo Imaging Ray Flash and the Orbis. So far throughout my tests, the Ray Flash has proven to be my favorite, but the Photojojo Ring Flash holds its own very well and at a much more affordable price.

This is a great item for photographers that don’t want to rent or buy actual ring flashes, which cost thousands of dollars but are worth every penny. Another advantage of the Photojojo Ring Flash is that it is light: I had no problem having this, my 7D, a lens, and my 430 EX II around my neck for a good portion of the day. In fact, I enjoyed it.

An item like this is best used for portraits, but can also be used for macro photos and photo booth style setups at a party or event. I’ve done this at a wedding, and the results were super fun!

Durability

The Photojojo Ring Flash didn’t go through much punishment, just:

- Being in my messenger bag with a Sony NEX-VG10 pressing up against along with my Macbook

- Getting onto the NYC subway with said messenger bag and having people squish me, bump into me, and taking tosses and turns with me.

- Fondling by co-workers

It stood up just fine.

Ease of Use

Now here’s the stickler: of all the ring flash adapters I’ve used, this one is perhaps the most difficult to use.

Here’s what they all look like side by side

They are all different:

- The Photojojo doesn’t quite make a full circle like the Orbis and the Ray Flash: which I believe adds to the fact that it can be a bit more difficult to use.

- The Ray Flash and Photojojo have similar construction, where as the Orbis requires you to have your flash head pointed up and slip right into the bottom.

- The Orbis has the softest light because of the larger surface area, but the Ray Flash has the least light loss in my tests (only around 1 stop)

The Photojojo Ring Flash is the only one of the ring flashes that I just couldn’t get to work totally the way I wanted it to in E-TTL mode with my Canon 7D and 430 EX II. Granted, the results weren’t bad at all: most people would be happy with them. However, I’ve grown a lot as a photographer over the past couple of months so I’ve become even more of a manual control freak than I previously was.

Using my knowledge of manual flash, I was often able to get some really nice results that pleased me and those I tested it on.

Joseph Carey, one of my co-workers, used it on me off-camera and using Impact wireless triggers. He balanced it with ambient light coming through the window and at times tried to totally kill the ambient light. The results are photos that look like a light with barn doors.

Because of the light loss induced by this flash modifier, I actually recommend use it with fast lenses. Here are some results.

Results

This photo is perhaps my favorite of the batch I shot today. It was done with the Canon 7D, 85mm F/1.8 and 430 EX II. It was shot with the lens wide open, which allows the flash’s power to really stand out. I remember setting the flash to around 1/4 output and using 1/1000 shutter speed to try to really kill all the ambient light in the studio. I also shot at ISO 1600.

This one was shot with the 24-105mm F/4 L IS. It’s a great lens to use with the Photojojo Ring Flash, but I’d recommend cranking up the ISO and once again using manual flash control.

The Photojojo Ring Flash does a great job of spreading the light out evenly. Notice how there are no shadows at all on Joseph but that behind him the shadows are all very soft.

Now when I put Joseph against a window, I shot in E-TTL mode and the camera and flash were able to work together to be able to balance the ambient light with the flash output on Joseph. I didn’t expect it to do that at all.

Then Joseph turned the camera and ring flash on me. What we both noticed is that weird light in my glasses because of the shape of the Photojojo Ring Flash. Other Ring Flashes don’t seem to do that in other tests.

See: it’s gone now. However, the catchlight in my eyes has a teardrop shape. If you like that, then this is a great item for you. Many people, including myself and Joseph, prefer the nice circles. I’ve personally grown addicted to the circles that The Chris Gampat Special Beauty Dish can do: here’s what I’m talking about.

The Chris Gampat special requires an Interfit Beauty Dish, a Gary Fong Lightsphere Collapsible, and that’s it. You take the Lightsphere, put it around your flash head then pop it up. Then you shove it into the back end of the Beauty Dish and pull it in. Make sure that it’s fixed correctly and then go ahead and shoot. Notice the catch light in the girl’s eyes above? Granted: they’re not circles because the Beauty Dish was higher up above her, but that catch light is still gorgeous.

Anyway, this is one of the results when used off camera left. As stated earlier, it looks like a light with barn doors.

And here is another one.

And here is a photo with the Photojojo Ring Flash totally balancing against the ambient light. It provides for some nice fill light. Joseph was on the floor for this one: so around 5 feet 6 inches away from me.

Overall, the Photojojo Ring Flash is a wonderful little item for the money. Despite it being a bit tough to use, it’s an item that most people would not mind paying for at all.

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