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on 24 February 2013
I'm quite impressed with this 'Travor' RF-550D (made by Celltech Electronic Company Ltd) Macro Ring Flash. Build quality is good for the price, the only issue will be the plastic lens adaptors, I expect the threads on them to wear out fast if the unit is removed and put back on frequently, so don't expect the adaptors to last years with constant use. I recommend that you are gentle and take your time when fitting the lens adaptor, rush it or be a bit rough and you will strip the plastic threads, I also recommend that you do not over-tighten them, not even finger tight. Leave the adaptor slightly loose for safety.

The amount of light the ring flash/light gives off is quite impressive by illuminating the subject to be photographed extremely well.

(Now for the technical, extremely boring bit that those seriously into photography will probably be interested in and will probably be able to make sense of) Using a digital multimeter with a built in 'Lux light meter' I measured the approximate illumination intensity of a subject (the multimeter itself) at three distances using just three settings of the units 'stepped' variable brightness control (with the light constantly on).

As a comparison on how much this unit will light the subject to be photographed I checked the illumination on the same subject with 2 bulbs, one an incandescent 40w SES spotlight and a 12w ES CFL energy saver. (please don't ask for the figures in Lumen's, that would be really pointless, instead please just google it.)

Cheap 40w SES spotlight bulb:
11,900 lux at 10 cm
1,700 lux at 30 cm
450 lux at 60 cm

12w ES General Electric, Compact Fluorescent:
2,900 lux at 10 cm
1,100 lux at 30 cm
350 lux at 60 cm

The RF-550D for illumination comparison:
At a distance to subject from light of 10cm:
+1.5 setting on brightness control with no diffuser I got 11,800 Lux. (very close to the 40watt bulb illumination level)
0.0 setting on brightness control with no diffuser I got 9,100 Lux.
-1.5 setting on brightness control with no diffuser I got 6,250 Lux.

At a distance to subject from light of 30cm:
+1.5 setting on brightness control with no diffuser I got 2,750 Lux.
0.0 setting on brightness control with no diffuser I got 2,100 Lux.
-1.5 setting on brightness control with no diffuser I got 1,450 Lux.

At a distance to subject from light of 60cm:
+1.5 setting on brightness control with no diffuser I got 740 Lux.
0.0 setting on brightness control with no diffuser I got 570 Lux.
-1.5 setting on brightness control with no diffuser I got 410 Lux.

With the 'Opal white diffuser' attached repeating the above tests:

At a distance to subject from light of 10cm:
+1.5 setting on brightness control with opal diffuser I got 3,550 Lux.
0.0 setting on brightness control with opal diffuser I got 2,780 Lux .
-1.5 setting on brightness control with opal diffuser I got 1,920 Lux.

At a distance to subject from light of 30cm:
+1.5 setting on brightness control with opal diffuser I got 730 Lux.
0.0 setting on brightness control with opal diffuser I got 560 Lux.
-1.5 setting on brightness control with opal diffuser I got 400 Lux.

At a distance to subject from light of 60cm:
+1.5 setting on brightness control with opal diffuser I got 220 Lux.
0.0 setting on brightness control with opal diffuser I got 180 Lux.
-1.5 setting on brightness control with opal diffuser I got 140 Lux.

(Lux light meter accuracy: +/-5%, manufacturer calibrated to incandescent light source at a colour temp of 2856kelvin.)

The LED flash function on the RF-550D emits it's light in approximately 1/100th of a second, it's not as fast or as intense as a strobe flash, you might notice a very slight delay after the shutter release is pressed if you are used to using strobe based flashes.

According to the manufacturer the colour temperature of the light this ring light/flash gives off is 3000kelvin to 15000kelvin, I have no way of testing this claim as the equipment required is well out of my price range (unless I was lucky enough to win the lottery, then I would have a go at it).

This ring flash/light also works on a Fuji Finepix S9000/S9500 bridge camera, the only issue is that with the opal white diffuser attached it will cause chronic light reflections in the lens due to the way the diffuser very slightly catches the edge of the field of view of the lens, this results in optical effects through the lens caused by the light itself, this makes that diffuser useless, I'll guess that the coloured diffusers also cause this issue too on that camera.

The only way I think I can get round that optical interference issue is to mask off the edge of the diffuser closest to the lens with matt black tape. I do not know if this issue exists with other lenses as the lens it was tried on is a 58mm diameter permanently attached 28mm to 300mm manual zoom lens and is non removable. Apart from that minor optical reflection issue, it works perfectly.

The Voltage on the RF-550D at the hot-shoe terminals is just slightly over 3 volts, this is important for some DSLR cameras as many of them cannot handle anything higher than 5v without causing expensive damage to their camera.

For a budget macro ring light I'd give it 8/10 only due to the fact the threads on the adaptors are plastic and will wear out fast with constant use, otherwise it's a nice bit of kit and does what the maker says it will even though it can be a bit too bright for macro use and has a little issue using the lens mentioned above (I'll soon rectify that using a little ingenuity and inventiveness). ;-)

Ps, I'd like to thank BestDealUK for a fast dispatch and delivery, it only took 7 days and that includes weekends, that's fast considering the item came all the way from Hong Kong. :-)

Anyway, I'm now going off to irritate the wife, I want to see if I can catch her loony pets in funny poses/antics using my new bit of kit.
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on 10 July 2015
Highly recommended to macro photography! Very good quality - no problems at all. I use it with extension tube for macro photography and this is effect!
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on 19 February 2013
Having looked long and hard at several different budget brands and not being able to afford Nikon or high end brand names, this one stood out at under £25 as a "what have you got to lose" purchase. I'm glad I took the plunge. The constant light function makes it so easy use whereas the flash and left/right illumination takes a little bit of experimentation to get the exposure correct. The light with the diffuser is soft enough to use as a fill flash for portraits although it is still quite bright even on the minimum setting. Well worth the money.
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on 29 April 2016
The box was a little tacky and cheap in design but sturdy and packaged well inside so all of the items were adequately protected in transit. The flash itself is well made and sturdy, with a good amount of cable. Surprisingly good quality for the price. The accessories seem good quality too, although the lens adaptors are plastic so you do need to be a little careful with these as they are imperative to mounting the ring flash to your lens, although of course, that isn't the only way to use it.

Getting it on and off - The ring flash is easy to get on and off the camera hot shoe, it is very sturdy and has a nut that you tighten up to keep it secure. The lens adaptor itself is pretty easy to get onto the end of the ring flash, it has buttons each side of the ring that you press to release the clamps, then you put it on the lens adaptor and release the buttons. I find that it's easier to do this if the lens adaptor is already on the lens, as otherwise you have to screw it on with the light, and because the cable is attached it can get a little awkward.

The adjustments - The flash feature itself does not sync with my camera, you may be able to fix this but I haven't actually tried, I only tested it once to see if it worked, which it does, just not fast enough for the camera to catch it. I use it as a continuous light in my home studio, or for portraits, and I like to keep it on as it gives me an idea what angle I should be directing the light from when I'm holding the ring flash rather than mounting it to the lens. Even with it mounted to the lens, it's useful to have it on continuously as you can see either through the viewfinder or the LCD what the picture will look like. The buttons are easy to operate, a long press for on and off, and the rest are simple. There is a brightness adjustment which is useful as you don't always want it full throttle.

The pictures - The clear one is very bright, the white one is a soft light similar to a soft box, the yellow one is pretty yellow and gives a very distinct yellow hue to the photos, as does the blue, which makes them very cool. I don't see myself using the two coloured ones and only the clear and white come around with me in my big kit bag. The pictures it takes are very good. It gives evenly lit light for portraits when mounted to a lens, eliminating shadows, or a nice side light to create them when hand held. It's a very good bit of kit for the price and I wouldn't hesitate to replace it if it broke tomorrow.

Battery life - It chews up batteries like there's no tomorrow, so I would recommend a set of rechargeables for it.

I don't usually skimp on photography gear, ever, everything I buy is usually the best I can get for my budget, but having never used a ring flash, I thought I would first buy a cheap one to get a feel for them before buying a more expensive one. After owning this for a while, I have decided that it's unnecessary to upgrade it given how good it is for the price and I have found myself very happy with it. Definitely recommended!
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on 28 March 2016
It seems it could be good for a niche range of uses. Very good with matt surfaces like fabrics and paper. The book suggests a range of 5cm to 1.5m. You can hold the LED ring to the Cannon kit lens with the 72mm mount as an alternative to using the 58mm mount on the filter threads. It does not need to charge up a capacitor to flash! The buttons seem very easy to understand. Use the camera in manual exposure mode, turn the light on to set up the exposure using the Camera's light meter. Then you can use the flash to save power.
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on 20 January 2013
Is fits both my 52mm and 58mm lenses. Easy to use and creates nice lighting effects. Not heavy so allows easy movement and still hands on camera.
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on 24 March 2016
Excellent product; arrived on time and meets the expectations, very pleased with the purchase, despite some of the comments saying that it is loose on the connection ring, the unit I received snaps on and stays on very firmly. I use it on a 49mm lens and the adaptor ring works well, it is made of hard plastic (thus requires some care in the screwing on the lens) but it works very well.
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on 12 April 2016
I use this for photographing dioramas with 1/6 scale models. Using hot lights and/or off-camera flash with reflectors, I was still getting some harsh, ugly shadows. Using the ring flash to fill in with hot lights, shadows are much softer and more natural. The range of brightness control is fine for my needs. I've been using it with Duracell rechargeable Duralock batteries, taken hundreds of shots and it still shows fully charged. Haven't used the filters and the left/right half ring option hasn't won me over yet.

A small niggle: I would like to leave this on the camera from one session to another, but you have to take the ring and adaptor off to fit the lens cap. Perhaps that's a good discipline, forcing you to take the flash off the camera.

I'm going in fairly close with a 35mm lens in an enclosed space, so I don't know how good this would be for more open shots where the subject is more distant from the camera. For what I'm doing, it's perfect.
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on 14 April 2016
Disappointed that there is no DC input, but I should have read the description properly!
I have since bought a set of 4 recharging AA batteries and a wall charger for them, which has set me back an extra £15. Would be good if there was a mains power option for this device.
Otherwise it seems to work well, and does the job.
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on 1 April 2016
Superb value. The display is clear and simple to use, the manual is hardly necessary but explains the options well. The ring is super bright with the clear ring and the frosted and coloured rings are a nice bonus. The 8 screw adapters are plastic, screw to your lens or filter and provide a simple clipping point for the light ring. The free standing foot for the ring is also a nice bonus.

Set it up on my Nikon D7200 in aperture mode and was taking shots 60secs after putting in the batteries.It triggers perfectly and lights macro shots very nicely (you'll want a lil zoom to avoid the ring edging into the corners of your shot). Also as a stand alone it creates an interesting ring of light reflection that works well on close ups of eyes and other surfaces... be creative and this bargain flash more than pays for itself in interesting shots.
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