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Digi-slave L-Ring Ultra II LED Ring Light

Jim Hawkins
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I'm a newcomer to this group, but I have been an amateur photographer
for about 45 years. Within the last few years, I had done some photo
articles for "Radio World," Cover for "Sight and Sound," "MRT magazine,"
and BE Radio. Mostly technical. My day job WAS software development.

***Looking for a Ringlight flash for nature macro closeups?***

Forget the Digi-slave L-Ring Ultra II LED Ring Light if you want depth
of field and low ISO numbers.

I was looking for an inexpensive alternative to Canon's $450.00 E-TTL
Ringlight flash. I was attracted to the Ultra II for it's $250.00 price
tag. I ultimately returned it, possibly with 15% restocking fee.

Reason, WEAK!

This Ringlight flash might be good for setups like eBay photography
using a tripod, but when I tried to use it on some outdoor plants, the
power just isn't there. Even with ISO 3200 on my Canon 20D, I had to
use either a fairly wide f stop or lower speed. It just doesn't cut the
mustard. It would make a good night flashlight also.

In the meantime, I tried using my Sunpak 383 in manual mode with remote
trigger chord, holding the camera with one hand and the flash with
another with pleasing results. I was able to move the flash anywhere I
wanted, next to the lens, below the flowers, backlight, etc. All things
you can't do with a ringlight flash. I was easily able to shoot at ISO
100, f32, 1/200 second. Not only that, I was even able to stack the
Canon 100mm macro lens on the end of my complete set of extension tubes
for significantly more magnification. The Sunpak did the job.

I was still interested in a ring light, so after returning the Ultra II,
I thought my only option was to go for broke on the Canon MR-14EX TTL
Ring Lite Flash. Then I decided to allow myself a cooling off period,
which lasted about 4 hours. After doing some of the research that I
should have done in the first place, I found recommendations to use an
extension arm flash bracket with references to ("Close-ups in Nature" by
John Shaw) such as the Kirk Macro Flash Bracket
This would accomplish what I had already done by twisting myself into a
pretzel to hold the flash in various positions.

I had tried to find a review of the Ultra II, but found none. So, if no
one has said it as yet, let this be a mini-review.

My newest page: Butterfly Milkweeds

Most close-ups were done by either using ISO 400 or pushing ISO 100 in
Photoshop. I discovered it was a better idea to use the higher ISO
speed (400) if you don't have enough light. But it's even better to use
a good flash setup and use ISO 100.

Jim Hawkins - Part time freelance writer/photographer.
e-mail: radiopage01 (AT) j-hawkins (DOT) com

PS: Using a high enough ISO to get a proper exposure with some noise is
better than pushing a low ISO because the lack of detail data is
replaced with a less desirable, plaid like pattern, which is harder to
get rid of than evenly distributed noise.

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