Roundflash report - I give it 4 out of 5 stars
This is a follow up to a thread from a long time ago about the Roundflash which can be found at roundflash.com. It's a ring light diffuser that works with a regular shoe mounted flash. Someone asked me how I like it.
I have the version before the current "magnetic edition" and I don't find mine hard to set up at all. I'm guessing the new one is even better. The construction is excellent. All the materials and stitching are first rate, like the very best softboxes. It ships directly from Poland and I think that's the only reason it isn't $250.
It does exactly what it says. I makes perfectly even round light. It weighs almost nothing so it's easy to use. It fits perfectly on my Canon 5DII with a 580EX. It's almost like it was dimensioned for this combo. It's also completely ETTL-2 compatible so you can just use the camera on Auto if that's how you work. I'm a tweaker and I find it works excellent with little power adjustments in manual flash mode too.
It has become my quick and dirty macro ring light and is just about perfect with a Canon EF 100mm L IS macro. I also use it for fill with a 70-200. It's a perfect fill flash solution that looks completely natural. It goes anywhere. It's also great for anyone who wants to make quick photos for selling on ebay.
It has only three drawbacks, and I'm really picking nits here.
1. It's tough to use on a tripod if you tilt down because the diffuser itself hits the tripod center column. If you use it a lot it might help to have one of the tall Bogen grip heads. I'm a big tripod user so I notice this.
2. It's deep, so you can't really use the manual focus on the lens. If you use it with any lens under 100mm it's lost in there. For me the worst thing about the depth is that the Canon 70-200 zoom ring ends up mostly in the unit so it's a little tough to zoom. I'm not sure there's anything they can do about this, and it's still workable. Not a deal killer.
3. It soaks up some light. You'll find you need to use ISO 400-800 if you want to work at f11, even in fairly close range. I thought at first it was causing under exposure until I realized it was just using the full flash load and I needed to up my ISO. This is really a macro thing. For portrait shooting it's great at f4 or f2.8 with about a 200mm lens.
I highly recommend this tool. It's one of those things that's cheap enough you should have one even if you only use it once in a while. I'm surprised it hasn't gotten more buzz. Maybe I can get DPR to put up a longer review on the front page.
Call me crazy. I happen to like photos of cats.
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