Ring Flash Review & More Black and white stuff

More Black and White Portraits

I finally bit the bullet and bought a ring flash - whilst i really wanted to get a ProFoto or Bowens flash, the price as well as the portability was a bit of an issue. Quick trip to china and voilà, a GoDox AR400 Ring Flash joins the family :)  (for a review of this unit - scroll to the bottom of this article)

Ring Flashes had become a bit of a cliché especially in the Fashion world, since they provide a uniform light around the entire lens, which makes for a soft shadow, a glow on the skin and pretty kick ass catch lights. I personally like this effect but i always feel that they need a little bit of spice.

Lighting Setup

The lighting set-up for these images involved 3 lights: The Ring Flash (400w) on the camera, a Bowens 500w with beauty dish above the model to add a bit more definition to the face, and a Bowens 500w with barn-doors behind the model and to the left. By varying the intensities of these lights we can create 3 different lighting effects without changing the lights we use and their positioning (as always click on the photos to see them all :))

Sarah. The Ring flash is the key light here and you can see the signature ring flash shadow around the model

Jelena. The beauty dish power is increased here to just slightly over power the ring flash. 

Talitha. The Ring flash has been demoted to fill flash for this shot, reducing some of the shadows created by the beauty dish.

GoDox Witstro AR 400 Review

So far I've only taken a few hundred shots using this ring flash but here are some pro's and cons

  1. Construction & Build Quality is Good
  2. The diffuser is unusable if the lens doesn't extend past the opening
  3. The opening for the lens, and the diameter of the ring flash in general is too small
    • 85mm 1.2 has to be used without a hood
    • The ring flash catch-light is too small unless you are VERY close to the model
  4. Battery life is very good. Lasted a whole shoot without coming close to finishing the battery
  5. When connected to a 5D mk3, battery grip and a decent lens, the set-up is HEAVY.
  6. Light quality is good, not Profoto/Bowens good, but good.
  7. Optical slave is great when working with a multi light set-up
  8. The bolts at the back of the flash to which the camera harness is secured interfere with the grip of the camera and depending on how far forward the camera is secured, can be uncomfortable.