My Favorite Ring Light On The Market
Have you heard of Rosco gels? If so then you’ve probably been around a while or you are a reader of David Hobby’s Strobist blog. Rosco is not just in the gel business. They make one of the best ring light systems I’ve ever seen.
The LitePad Loop Pro Kit is an all-in-one ring light solution. At $1099 retail it is in line with other professional ring lights but in my opinion is a better value. (There is also a stripped down version without all the bells and whistles for $699 in what Rosco calls “The Retail Box.”)
The ring light pro kit comes in a very nice case, with everything you need (no trips to Home Depot to get that one last bit of gear that makes it all fit.) The case is small enough that you can easily carry onboard the smallest airplane.
The Loop’s very unusual in that it attaches to your camera using very high-powered magnets. If you are the worrying type there is a strap you can use to catch the ring light if – in the unlikely event of a water landing – it comes off. You may also choose to screw it on so it can’t come off. I like the magnet. It’s VERY sturdy and a great way to get the ring light on and off your camera securely and quickly.
Rather than try to describe it to you – here is a very short video that illustrates how the light mounts to your camera.
Another differentiator is the Loop is an LED ring light. It’s a constant light source that runs off AC power or a battery pack that uses good old fashioned “AA” batteries! (Yes! Finally someone gets it. You can buy “AA” batteries almost anywhere in the world. Points to Rosco for not coming up with some proprietary battery, charger and cable.)
EVERY other LED light source I’ve used – aims the LED right at the subject with its harsh, direct beam. The folks at Rosco have invented the LitePad technology so that the light is diffuse, flattering and easy on the subject’s eyes – all key necessities of a ring light.
The light is daylight balanced at 5800 degrees kelvin and in my tests is reliable. Many LED systems change color temperature as you dim them. Not so the Loop.
In the pro kit you get everything you need to make the Loop work in almost any situation. All the mounting gear you would ever need is included. The battery pack can be mounted to the Loop itself or just stand alone. You can also use the built-in cheese plate to mount other 12-volt batteries like the Anton Bauer batteries. The Pro kit comes with the dimmer switch as well so you can turn up or down the light’s power.)
One of my favorite accessories for this product are – you guessed it – the gels. They are very high quality, also mount with magnets and if you’re doing portraiture in mixed lighting are a life-saver. There’s another interesting accessory Rosco calls Light Masks. These Light Masks also fit via magnet and are used for creating creative catchlights in the eyes. (The Light Masks are sold separately.)
The best thing I can say about the LitePad Loop is that it’s built like a tank and easy to use. It just works. You would think that all ring lights just work – but not so – not like this one.
If you’re a DSLR shooter who also does video you’ll find this product acts as a perfect interview light when you’re running and gunning. Rosco also makes a whole series of video lights that look great as well.
If I have any complaint about the Loop it’s this. It could be a stop brighter. I have to work at ISO 800 to shoot at f/2.8. I’d say for the money – this is a small nit, and on my camera, ISO 800 looks great – but in order to get that typical ring light shadow you’re going to have to work fairly close and perhaps even faster than ISO 800. It’s a small sacrifice for a big return.
I’ve tried six different ring lights now and this is easily my first choice. Highly recommended.
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