Using a Ring Flash

My review of the Canon MR-14EX TTL Macro Ring Lite Flash.
This new Ringlight for macro shooting is loaded with features and capabilities. Now with Canon’s E-TTL, it takes full advantage of the flash performance of the EOS-1V, EOS-3, and other E-TTL supported cameras. Twin circular flash tubes fire at even power, or can be varied over a six-stop range. One or more 580EX, 550EX, 430EX, or 420EX Speedlites can be used as wireless slaves along with the MR-14EX. The controller unit has an illuminated, informative LCD panel. Accepts optional hi-capacity battery packs.

Key Features

• Twin tubes designed for close-up photography with EF Macro lenses; Flash tubes can fire together or independently
• Ratio control in manual mode: 1/1 ~ 1/64 range in 7 full steps
• Supports E-TTL wireless autoflash in conjunction with one or more 580EX, 550EX, 430EX, or 420EX flashes
• Attaches directly to EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro, EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro (both versions), and MP-E 65mm Macrophoto Lenses [without filters attached] (can also be used with EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM via Macrolite Adapter 72C)
Can be adapted to other popular filter sizes with appropriate Macrolite Adapters; 52mm, 58mm & 72mm
• Incandescent focusing lamps and two forms of modelling flash permit preview of lighting effects
• Illuminated LCD panel for easy flash settings in any lighting condition
• Seven Custom Functions set on the flash LCD
• Compatible with AA alkaline, lithium, Ni-Cd and Ni-MH batteries
• Accepts Canon external battery packs (compact battery pack CP-E2 & transistor pack E)

Flash Difusers reviews: Stofen Omnibounce, lightsphere cloud, demb diffusers

If you have an external flash for your digital slr camera, using flash difusers are highly recommended. The simplest forms of flash diffusers are bounce cards in the top of the flash. In some models it is included.

The basic idea why flash diffusers matter is because light from the flash unit is too harsh to the object, that is why it causes unnatural look.

You can also create your own flash diffusers at a cheap cost. .

If you decided on buying ready-made flash diffusers instead, then there are three products that I have tried and I will tell you about my opinion on each of them.

Stofen Omnibounce
This small omnibounce has many benefits, it is cheap, it is small and portable, and it sticks like a glue, of course if you buy the correct fit. But even it helps to soften the light from your flash unit, the result is not as good as other flash diffusers. Because of its ultimate portability, this diffuser is popular among photojournalists that value portability.

Gary Fong Lightsphere Cloud
This diffuser are big and one of the most expensive in the market. It does distribute and soften the light well, but it still cast shadow. The major drawback of this diffuser is it is not clinging well into my flash unit, so there are couple times that it fell off.

The lightsphere cloud is made to soften the light as much as possible and the lightsphere clear is to pass the light as much as possible and in the same time soften it a little bit.

According to Fong, the lightsphere clear is better to light up wide area such as group picture and the cloud is more suitable for portrait picture.

Fong’s products are marketed heavily in the internet and trade shows for wedding or events photography.

Joe Demb Diffuser
This is the diffuser that I like the most, it is simple, fold flat, and it stick like glue to my flash. It is moderately expensive but do the job very well. The other advantage is it has option of directional lighting through the Flip-It. The diffuser will further soften the light.

Because the flexibility of the diffuser, there are many creative things that the users can do with it, for example adjusting the power of the light forward by adjusting the Flip-It, and directing the flash to an angle to create a more dynamic lighting.

The drawback might be it is relatively bigger than the omnibounce, could attract attention, and quite expensive. The website of this diffuser is here. This is my main Diffuser and I mainly use this diffuser for event photography and portraits..
The camera in self timer so I can be in the group picture. The diffuser (Flip-It) is set 90 degree and the Demb diffuser is tilted forward. It is a very dim living room with tungsten lighting.