Battle of the Ring Flashes: Orbis vs Ray Flash (As Tested at NYC Comic Con in Practical Use)

Comic Con has been over with for a little while now, but if it has solidified anything that I’ve been taught it’s that your lighting is paramount. The lighting on a convention floor won’t always be ideal, and you can even take your on-camera flash’s capabilities a bit further with a light modifier. Last year, I tested the Orbis at the event and this year I took the Ray Flash—a close competitor. Though the Orbis and Ray Flash have received shining stars from us, here’s a test from us in practical use for portraits.

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Book Review: DIY Photography- Home Studio Photography

Do it yourself projects are usually very fun. I used to work on things like this back in college when I was more into cinematography. DIYPhotography’s Udi Tirosh, the creator of the well reviewed Bokeh Master’s Kit, has written a very informative and carefully explained book: Home Studio Photography. The eBook is a complete listing of a bunch of fun projects to work on at home when you’re bored. Beyond boredom, many of the creations have practical applications in the photo world as well.

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Hands On: The Frio

The Frio, the world’s first truly universal cold-shoe was on display at the Orbis booth at Photo Plus Expo. It’s a very simple product meant to be able to hold not only every flash as I discovered but also shotgun microphones. I’ll be requesting a review unit to test in studio with my Canon speedlites, but it seems to be promising right now as a product. It seems to be a really ideal item for studio and wedding photographers that need to mount their strobes all over the place and may sometimes not carry the foot mounts for their flashes. Being so small, it can easily fit into any pocket of your camera bag.

Just a quick intro: in order to mount your flash or microphone on the Frio all you’ll need to do it slip it in. For extra support and protection you can turn your locking wheels but you don’t really have it. In order to get the unit out of the Frio you’ll need to depress the back hump and slide it out. It can actually be a bit complicated but this works well for safety reasons. This also means that you’ll be able to mount a unit in all sorts of weird directions: perfect for boom microphones, wireless flashes, etc. The bottom allows you to screw the Frio onto any tripod, light stand, etc. I tried this together with the Orbis and my flash and the combination worked really lovely together.

What will really impress me is how this thing works on a gorillapod and other random accessories I’ve got in my bag. Take a look at this very quick gallery.

Field Tutorial: The Orbis And Shooting Firestar

At Comic Con, I was given the opportunity to photograph a lot of talented and wonderful people dressed in their cosplay garb. Jessica Caitlin Foley was one of the attendees that stood out the most. She hails from Virginia and dressed as the Marvel superhero Firestar. As per recent reader requests, this is the beginning for a new type of posting here at ThePhoblographer, detailing Field Tutorials and how the equipment is used in the field. My apologies beforehand for the lack of Strobist photos and diagrams but we will be more careful in the future to do those.

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Samples of The Orbis At a Wedding

A full review of the Orbis is coming, but I recently shot a wedding using it. How did it fare? Very well actually. It’s amazing how subjects tend to react when seeing a ring flash vs the standard flashes that they’re so used to seeing professionals carry. Here are some samples.

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New York Comic Con Day 2: The Orbis Continues to Amaze Me

So yesterday I made the bold statement of talking about how the Orbis was great for conventions. I continue to agree with that statement. It makes a wonderful softbox while on the side of the subject and using available light to illuminate the other side of them. Of course, great posing and a bit of editing works well too. Typically, ring flashes are supposed to be used around the lens. Now, I was doing this before with no problems at all using the infrared transmitter on the 7D and 430 EX II. However, I started to have some problem with it as it hasn’t been very effective in going off when triggered by the 7D’s flash. So off lighting camera tactics as well as using the Orbis under the lens are some tactics that I’ve been using. The Orbis isn’t to blame for this, Canon’s flashes are. Additionally, it probably would would for me to get my hands on some radio transmitters in the future (accepting review pitches.) Here’s the gallery; I’ll be going over certain individuals in depth in future postings. Once again with me is:

With me is the:

Canon EOS 7D

Orbis Ring Flash Attachment Kit

Canon Speedlite 430EX II Flash

Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM Wide Angle Lens

Note: All photos here are my property and protected by my government copyright. If you’d like to use them, just ask: I’m a friendly dude. Shoot me an email at ChrisGampat[at]thephoblographer[dot]com. All coverage was done for Will Greenwald’s site:

Further note: spot the Easter Egg 😉

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