Top positive review
8 people found this helpful
Great for Macro!
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!