I am slowly getting hooked on my new Vellos Ringbox Flash Adapter. Not only do I get beautiful on-location headshots and portraits with my flash when using the Ringbox, but it makes my life a lot easier, and I like things easy. I use to carry around a light stand and softbox when I knew I needed more than natural light. Not anymore–I just take the Ringbox. I am also looking forward to trying it out on my next trip. It is very light and will not take much room in my suitcase.
What is a Ringbox Flash Adapter
A Ringbox Flash Adapter is a circular softbox, shaped like a doughnut, that attaches to an on-camera flash, when the flash is on the camera, and the camera is on a tripod. It provides a soft, even light, reducing unwanted shadows and creating ring-shaped catchlights in the eye.
Why Use It
If you are looking for a light modifier that provides a flat, even light over your subject’s face, you should consider trying the Vellos Ringbox out. It is easy to assemble, lightweight, and simple to use, giving professional results.
For those who are not familiar with soft boxes, soft boxes are light modifiers used to soften and diffuse light from camera flashes or other lighting sources such as the lights used in studios. The larger the softbox, the softer the quality of the light. The Ringbox is large enough to provide a nice quality of diffusion but small enough to work well with a single camera flash and not need more lighting power.
How Does It Work
I found it easier to attach the Ringbox with the camera on the tripod. Start assembling the Ringbox by popping it open and securing the magnetic posts. Position your on-camera flash into the top opening of the Ringbox, through the velcro loop and tighten the loop. Use the provided velcro masking strip to cover any gap in the flash opening of the ring box. It is recommended to mask across the top of the gap for a flash with a short body and across the bottom for a flash with a tall body. Insert your camera lens into the lower opening of the ring box, pulling the cord tight around it. (The User manual suggested putting the camera in first. I found it easier to attach the flash first.) That’s it. You are ready to go.
Set your camera as you normally would when you attach your flash. The Users Manual for the Ringbox suggests manually setting the flash zoom to 85mm, and increasing your flash exposure compensation by 1 1/2 EV, if shooting TTL. I found I needed to experiment with the proper exposure compensation and at times set it to less than 1 1/2EV and at other times more. It depended on how close I was to my subject and my other camera settings.
Once you have completed your photo shoot, the Ringbox fits in a small, flat case, about 9“ in diameter, and can be attached to a camera bag or easily slipped into a suitcase.
What’s it Suited For?
The Ringbox is probably best suited for a portrait or headshot of a single person (not a group), photographed relatively close to the subject. How close depends on camera settings, ambient light, and the power of your flash. Using my Fuji X-T2 and Fuji EF-X500 flash, and shooting outside with sufficient ambient light, I was able to stand as far as 8-10 feet from my subject and take a fuller length portrait, using the Ringbox for fill light and to create a nice catchlight.
What Else Should You Know?
The Ringbox is not for every camera and lens combination. It securely attaches to lenses up to 3.9″ in diameter. Vignetting is possible with some wide-angle lenses. Smaller lenses may require a lens hood to fit more securely in the lens opening. Manual focusing and zooming is difficult as the lens barrel is covered by the softbox.
More powerful flashes give more light, and will work better, as is what I generally find using any softbox with my flash.
My suggestion is to give B&H Photo Video Pro Audio a call if you have any questions about using your equipment with the Ringbox.
Some comments I read said that the Ringbox did not diffuse the light evenly. I did not find that in the pictures I have taken, as you can see by the test shots attached to this article. Note, I do not work in a studio, and so my test shots were taken outdoors, in a natural setting.
If you don’t like working with a tripod, the Ringbox is probably not for you. It would be a bit clumsy to use, trying to hold the camera straight and keeping the softbox on correctly.
The catchlights are large, bold, and circular, a very different look than you might be used to.
The point of a ring light is to provide flat, even light over a face. If your intent is to sculpt light using shadows and highlights, you should consider other options.
Who Should Use It?
Anyone, professional or amateur, as long as you have a camera, flash and tripod. The Ringbox is a great tool for inexperienced photographers who know little about lighting and flash photography, because it is very simple to use compared to other softbox solutions.