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on 25 February 2015
I love macro work but I've always found getting a fast enough shutter speed to be a real issue without having to use very high ISOs - a tripod is ideal some of the time but I often don't have it with me, especially when it's just "a day out with the family". A ring flash would be an ideal answer but at £350-£500 they are out of my price range.

I've seen some ingenious home-made lighting solutions for macro and have managed up to now just using an off-camera flash but it is awkward and the shadows are unpredictable. So having hunted around for a practical and cheap solution, I bought the Amaran Halo for a bargain £31! But is it any good? I've only had it a day, but here are my thoughts.

Firstly, and to reinforce other reviews, it's not a ring flash! It's actually a ring light which has a setting that allows the LEDs to fire as if they were a flash and at a level that is brighter than just having the LEDs lit on full power.

Putting the light on the camera is so simple that it needs no explanation. If the barrel of your lens rotates as you focus/zoom, then don't worry because the light fits in such a way that it will not turn with the lens.

Using the LEDs as a constant light source allows you to use your camera's metering system but switching to flash means putting the camera into manual and a bit of experimentation to get the right exposure.

There have been some comments elsewhere about the light not being very bright and maybe this could be the case if you are shooting portraits using this as your main light source, but I have a powerful 580EXII and diffusers that I prefer for that type of thing. Still, I bought this primarily for macro and that's what I've been experimenting with.

I took some test photos using a Canon 70D with Canon's 100mm f2.8 macro lens set at (or close to) 1:1, shooting the same subject using available room light (not natural light, it was too dark); the LEDs as a light source on full power; and then using the "flash" function. Unfortunately I cannot seem to upload them with this review; all I can say is that handholding in room light at 1/6 f2.8 gives the expected blurred results; the LEDs caused some overexposure in the foreground that could be corrected by varying the output and the flash setting allowed an exposure of 1/60 at f9 which is excellent for indoor macro.

There is one "con" to the product and that is that the "flash" will not fire in live view mode of my Canon and unfortunately I use live view a lot in macro. You can use the LEDs as a constant light source, but still it's a shame the flash will not fire and hopefully something they will rectify in later models. I gave it 4 stars for this reason but then decided I was mean & gave it a 5 instead!

So I hope this helps you decide whether it suits your photography but £30 really isn't a lot to gamble with given the cost of cameras & lenses!

Phil
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on 21 November 2014
Got this for blog photography and portraits. I was tired of trying to take pictures in dark conditions and hate the way yellow lights distort colours/images. Would love a big ring light... Kardashian style, but they're really expensive. This does the job! It's so easy to use, easily clips on to my Canon 600D. It's super bright, allows me to light up a subject (including my face) without dodgy shadows and has a good range of about a metre.

So happy I went with this, it's early days but it's already making a big difference to the quality of my photos.
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on 7 September 2015
Easy to use and works nicely on my Sony a6000 (As its meant for Canon when using flash on Sony there is no modelling light - works fine on my Canon). Fantastic power output from the 100 leds.
review image review image
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on 3 August 2014
I have tried it out using the flash mode at the highest setting. It works very well on my Canon 450D & the 7D. I set the camera to manual, & with the available light on the day I have been setting the exposure between 1/200sec @ f8 or f11 with excellent results.
I can certainly recommend this LED Ring Flash for Macro work, & at it is a considerably cheaper solution to the Canon Ring Flash,
(others are available) of course.
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on 19 October 2014
The unit arrived on time and was as described. It appears to be well made and the number of adaptor rings (8) covers all my lenses.

It has a well made feel about it and the variable light is more than ample, for the close up work, for which I purchased it.
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on 4 April 2016
As in all things you tend to get what you pay for, although this item probably exceeds the expectation created by its price.
Thia is not an automatic flash for the camera and requires some experimentation to achieve good results. It needs some degree of photographic theory to get the best from it and the vignetting of the image at the wider angle can limit the full field of view below say 50mm focal length (corrected for full frame). On the whole it does what it says at a reasonable price. Delivery was quick.
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on 20 August 2014
This item is never going to be up there with the multi hundred pound named brand ring flash. However for a fraction, (and I mean a fraction) of the cost it does a great job. Build quality is pretty good and images have not disappointed me yet.
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on 7 December 2015
Well designed, well constructed and for just a few pounds more than similar units, this certainly beats most of the competition with very bright 100 LED, Flash at double the power of continuos lighting and the ability to also mount it securely above the hot shoe in addition to conventional ring mount around the lens. Whilst the ring mount arrangement is probably best for macro and close up photography the overall illumination is surprisingly bright and the cleverly designed provision of the sturdy on-unit hot shoe clips make it ideal to use above the camera(similar to a traditional flash unit for video recording (continuos illumination) or general social and function photography (continuos or flash) either as main light source or as fill in for shadows. I am delighted with the overall versatility of this unit and so pleased that I didn't choose one of the slightly cheaper versions that look similar but have much lower specification. Vic Tucker
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on 2 December 2015
Ordered on 10 Nov and delivered on 12 Nov . Very easy to use with. all functions working as expected on Canon 5D Mk 3. The main use as I see it is the continuous light for macro work. Comprehensive set of lens adapters included including that fitting a Tamron 90mm macro lens. Spring loaded 'pinch' buttons on circumference of lamp enable easy attachment to the adapter allowing some rotation to suit the user. Took one or two trial macro shots of insects attracted by torch light shining on a sheet. Speed allowed substantially increased / lower ISO .One point of caution: the lid of the battery enclosure is OK but fragile . It needs to be slid away from the hinge to open and also pulled away from the hinge before pushing to close. Ie no forcing is required or desirable. I am using it with 4 Duracell rechargeable AA batteries.
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on 8 July 2015
Great quality item for the price. Really nice features too, where you can adjust the brightness, use it as a flash or even turn off half the LED's.

It looks well built with decent quality plastics. Seems to fit the camera well on both the hot shoe and on the lenses via the included adapters.

The white light seems really well balanced with no nasty tinges. Battery life seems to be very good considering. It is very bright, especially when you look at it. I cant help feeling I wished was perhaps even brighter!

I've never owned the official Canon unit so can't compare this with that.

I echo the other positive reviews for this unit and will happily give it the full 5 stars! The company that created this should be applauded!
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