A view days ago I ordered the MRC-80FV Falcon Eyes macro ring lamp with flash, because I wanted to experiment with flash photography on my Panasonic GX7 and also try some portret photography, inspired by a review of Sam Dorado. He reviewed the Coco Ring Flash, which isn't suitable for the GX7. I'm not a portrait photographer and except for being the photographer on a wedding of friends of ours and shooting some parties and small events, I have little experience shooting people and even less shooting portraits. So, time to learn ;-)
I will also test it for macro photography and of course dog photography (because Nikki doesn't like it when she's excluded ;-)
The Falcon Eyes macro ring lamp runs on 4 AA batteries and comes with several adapter rings. The smallest adapter ring is 52 mm so I also ordered a couple of extension rings to bridge te size difference of some of my other lenses. The adapter rings that come with the ring lamp fit very tightly on the lamp. Maybe even a bit too tight. I read in a review wherein the reviewer said that it was too tight and a bit of plastic broke of while fitting the adapter ring.
The ring lamp has three settings. One is a flash only. The other one is as a constant light source with different brightness levels. And the last one is a combination of both. Even though the ring lamp is pretty affordable (it costs about 50 Euro), it feels well build for it's price.
First I wanted to try portraiture. So I asked my wife Eveline if she was willing to pose for me. Normally she doesn't like to be photographed, but this time she agreed. I decided on using the Olympus 45 mm F1.8 lens. When I began, I thought it would be easiest to try a constant light source, rather than flash. But after a couple of seconds she complained the light was so bright it almost gave her a headache. When I checked I saw it was indeed incredibly bright. So I switched over to flash. After a view test shot I was pretty satisfied with the result. The ring flash gave a nice even lighting and nice subtle catch lights. There was also a slight halo effect, a known effect of the ring light when standing too close to a background.
And another one I shot with the backlight of a window.
Because the Falcon ring lamp is also ment for macro photography, I tested it for close ups. As I do not own a dedicated macro lens, I tested it's macro capabilities with the 50mm f1.8 Olympus OM mount lens. One of my favorite lenses (it's also dirt cheap! :-)) I also shot some pics with the 28mm f2.8 sigma Mini Wide II OM mount lens in combination with extension tubes.
As I mentioned, I also shot some pictures with the use of extension tubes , where with the help of the Falcon ring lamp a small aperture can be chosen for more depth of field with still enough light left to aluminate the subject . I photographed a dandelion with little bugs and a Euro coin. The background of the dandelion is almost white because the subject was very close to the lens, putting the ring lamp behind the subject.
The selfie test
I also did the “mandatory" selfie test shot. A serious one with the Olympus 50mm F1.8 OM lens, where I was sitting a dimly lit room. Here most of the light came from the Falcon, and where a normal flash would give a pretty harsh light, the Falcon lightens my face up quite evenly.
I also used the Samyang fisheye lens to make a more fun one :-)
It's not possible to attach the ring light to the fisheye lens, as it has no filter thread. So I had to hold it in front of me. Hardly any editing necessary for this shot. Because of the flash everything outside it's range gets filtered out by total darkness.
Off camera flash
The ring light doesn't have to stay attached to the camera. The light source can also be held at an angle of the subject. Here I took portrait of my favorite model, by holding the light just above her head and with just enough power to provide a moody atmosphere.
I can recommend the Falcon ring lamp as an affordable on camera ring flash. But be careful with fitting/switching adapter rings.
I bought the Falcon ring lamp at: cameranu.nl