What to look for when choosing a ring lamp
What You Need to Know When Choosing a Ring Light for Photography: There are several main parameters that need to be considered when choosing – from the diameter of the case to the power of the luminous flux. However, first of all, it is necessary to clearly define for what purposes the lighting system is planned to be used. After all, most of the requirements for a lamp depend on this.
The ring light is used by bloggers, makeup artists, and photographers who require either localized lighting or general uniform lighting of a specific area. Depending on this, it is necessary to make requirements for the lamp. If the ring light does not meet the required criteria, it is better to choose a different system. Most often, such lamps are abandoned by makeup artists who need a directed local flow of light.
The main consumer audience for ring lamps is bloggers and photographers who want to save money and don’t want to waste time displaying professional lighting. However, make-up artists also enjoy using compact models. In this case, it is necessary to take into account the possible flickering of the light emanating from the ring lamp, which depends on the type of stabilizing driver. The flickering light is generally not suitable for video shooting and can sometimes negatively affect the quality of photographs.
Optimum lamp power
There are no uniform rules when considering this parameter. The principle “the more powerful the better” does not work here. Although most modern models have a brightness control function, it is irrational to overpay for extra watts that are simply not needed. Better to spend that amount on more useful options. When choosing, it is advisable to focus on the following data:
- blogging and photography – from 35 W;
- makeup and eyelash extension – up to 30W.
The maximum power of the ring lights today exceeds 100 watts, which makes it possible to select a model for shooting requiring more intense lighting.
Often, the power and diameter of ring lamps are in direct proportion. After all, fewer LEDs are placed on a small circle. When considering the power and diameter for different models, you can see the following relationship:
- diameter not less than 450 mm – from 35 W;
- diameter less than 350 mm – up to 30 W.
As conventional round (lenticular) LEDs are gradually being replaced by compact flat elements today, compact ring lamps with increased wattage are on the market. However, this parameter is not the only one when choosing sizes. The direction of the flow and the illuminated area depends on the diameter.
Number of LEDs
Today, a popular marketing ploy is to convince the buyer that models with more LEDs are better. The argument is the uniform illumination of the area. This information is not true. Conversely, the flux from LEDs with lower wattage is weaker, so the lamp shines at a shorter distance. She gives a dim light.
When looking for a suitable model, you need to pay attention to the temperature and intensity of the light flux. They influence the picture. The intensity of the luminous flux largely depends on the power of the lamp. The degree of illumination of the object depends on this parameter. Temperature affects the so-called “warmth of light”. Distinguish between cold and warm light. In the first case, the luminous flux is colorless with a subtle bluish tint, and in the second, it is yellowish. It is recommended to give preference to models with the following parameters:
- flow intensity – from 5000 lm;
- operating temperature range – from 2700 to 5600 K.
Lamps with a wider operating temperature range are available for sale, which provide the ability to more accurately adjust the warmth of light. As a rule, their power exceeds 75 W, and the luminous flux intensity is up to 9600 lm. This is a semi-professional light with the function of precise adjustment of the luminous flux parameters.
Today you can buy lamps with RGB colors (Red, Green, Blue). They are commonly used for special effects and artistic photography. When choosing such models, it should be borne in mind that the luminous flux power will be less than the maximum indicator declared by the manufacturer, because separate LEDs are responsible for each color.
Another marketing ploy is to equip the lamp with as many auxiliary elements as possible. Manufacturers offer buyers:
- Remote Control;
stationary and flexible smartphone holders.
So that additional equipment does not lead to a significant increase in the price of the model, some manufacturers sacrifice quality. This is a typical “disease” for some brands that target under-informed consumers. Therefore, before buying, you need to figure out what components may be needed during the operation of the lamp:
- batteries are required for outdoor shooting;
- the control panel is needed when during the shooting process it is necessary to change the parameters of the light flux;
- the display is essential for those who need precise settings during their work.
- The latest ring lamps have the option of being controlled via a smartphone app. This feature is a nice addition to the existing functionality.
What pitfalls do you need to know when choosing a lamp?
There are many nuances that can be learned about during the operation of a particular model of an annular lamp. Manufacturers are silent about them and bloggers rarely mention them during their reviews. However, they are no less important than the basic characteristics of ring lamps, so information about them will help reduce the risk of purchasing a low-quality model.
In reality, this parameter may not correspond to the value specified by the manufacturer in the technical documentation. In such situations, the power is usually less. And the manufacturer does not hide this. Usually, he informs customers in small print somewhere in the passport that he deliberately set a power limitation. This is done to extend the life of the ring lamp since it wears out faster when used at maximum mode.
This “concern” is not to the liking of buyers who were counting on a higher lighting intensity. At the same time, only a few are trying to get to the truth and arrange a check to find out whether there is really a restriction on the power control or the manufacturer has saved on LEDs. However, when fraud is detected, it is difficult to achieve justice.
This problem is most often encountered with distance buying. In order not to become a victim of such “care” of the manufacturer, it is recommended not only to familiarize yourself with the technical documentation in detail but also to check with the seller whether the real parameters correspond to the characteristics declared by the manufacturer. You can also use the provision from the consumer rights law, which allows the exchange of goods. However, this option is an additional waste of time.
Ring lights are sold with or without tripods. It is impossible to say unequivocally which option is better. Many budget lamps are equipped with too flimsy tripods. In this case, in the process of photography, you will have to constantly check the stability of the structure. The balance can be disturbed for several reasons:
- disproportionate dimensions;
- displacement of the center of gravity;
- the insufficient angle between legs and center bar.
The tripods that come with budget models are most often stable only when their legs are laid out at right angles to the central rod, that is, they lie flat on the floor. In this case, the tripod support system takes up too much space and could inadvertently catch on during shooting. This option is especially inconvenient for working in small rooms.
To avoid these problems, it is recommended to study the characteristics of the tripods when purchasing. If there is any doubt about the reliability and functionality of the support structure, it is better to buy a ring lamp without additional components. The lighting stand can always be purchased separately.
Possible disadvantages of the case
Despite the assurances of the manufacturers, the LEDs still heat up during operation. This does not happen as quickly as with storage lamps. However, during long-term shooting, overheating of the case is likely, provoking premature wear of the lighting elements. If the case is made of poor-quality plastic, an unpleasant odor may occur.
To avoid this scenario, you need to choose a ring light with an integrated ventilation system. Natural air circulation and full cooling of the LEDs are provided by ventilation grilles in the rear of the case. They are conventional slots along the entire circumference. The grilles are sufficient for proper cooling of the lighting system. If not, it is recommended to monitor the temperature of the case and periodically turn off the lamp.
Fashion for USB ports when working with a ring lamp is inappropriate. This connection method is acceptable for models with low power. For optimal performance, the lamp should be equipped with an external 220V power supply. When choosing, you must always focus on future plans. Lamps with limited functionality help to solve only simple tasks. If a beginner photographer or blogger is planning to improve their skills and further develop, it is recommended to purchase a model with increased power and a number of functions.