After buying a ring light, the imagination draws in mind great pictures and excellent video quality, which can be obtained with this inexpensive lighting accessory. However, soon the cruel reality shatters the crystal dream – only a few buyers manage to achieve the expected image and video quality. This blatant reality is the mistakes made while buying the ring light on Amazon or any other online/offline marketplace. Today, I’ll tell you what you need to know when buying a ring light on Amazon or any local store.
What to Look for When Buying A Ring Light?
Several main parameters need to be considered when buying a ring light – from the diameter of the case to the power of the luminous flux. However, it is necessary to clearly define for what purposes the lighting system is planned to be used. After all, most of the requirements for a lighting device depend on this.
1. Application Area
The ring light is used by bloggers, makeup artists, and photographers who require either localized lighting or general uniform lighting for a specific area. Depending on this, it is necessary to make a requirement list before buying a ring light. If the ring light does not meet the required criteria, choosing a different model or brand is better. Most often, such lamps are abandoned by makeup artists who need a directed local flow of light.
The primary consumer audience for ring lights is bloggers and photographers who want to save money and don’t want to waste time displaying professional lighting accessories. However, make-up artists also enjoy using compact models. In this case, it is necessary to consider the possible flickering of the light emanating from the ring lamp, which depends on the type of stabilizing driver. The flickering light is generally not suitable for video shooting and can sometimes negatively affect the quality of photographs.
2. Optimum Lamp Power
There are no uniform rules when considering this parameter. The principle “the more powerful, the better” does not work here. Although most modern models have a brightness control function, it is irrational to overpay for extra watts that are not needed. Better to spend that amount on more valuable options. When choosing, it is advisable to focus on the following data:
- blogging and photography – from 35 W;
- makeup and eyelash extension – up to 30W.
The maximum power of the ring lights today exceeds 100 watts, which makes it possible to select a model for shooting requiring more intense lighting.
3. Ring Diameter
Often, the power and diameter of ring lights are in direct proportion. After all, fewer LEDs are placed on a small circle. When considering the power and diameter for different models, you can see the following relationship:
- diameter not less than 450 mm – from 35 W;
- diameter less than 350 mm – up to 30 W.
As conventional round (lenticular) LEDs are gradually replaced by compact flat elements today, compact ring lights with increased power are on the market. However, this parameter is not the only one when choosing sizes. The direction of the flow and the illuminated area depends on the diameter.
4. Number of LEDs
Today, a popular marketing ploy is to convince the buyer that models with more LEDs are better. The argument is the uniform illumination of the area. This information is not accurate. Conversely, the flux from LEDs with lower wattage is weaker, so the lamp shines at a shorter distance. It gives a dim light.
5. Light Flow
When looking for a suitable ring light model, you need to pay attention to the temperature and intensity of the light flux. They are the ones that influence the picture and video quality. The intensity of the luminous flux largely depends on the power of the lamp. The degree of illumination of the object depends on this parameter. Temperature affects the so-called “warmth of light”. Distinguish between cold and warm light. In the first case, the luminous flux is colorless with a subtle bluish tint, and in the second, it is yellowish.
It is recommended to give preference to models with the following parameters:
- Flow Intensity – from 5000 lumen (lm);
- Operating Temperature Range – from 2700 to 5600 kelvin (K).
Ring lights with a more comprehensive operating temperature range are also available in the market, which can more accurately adjust the warmth of light. As a rule, their power exceeds 75 watts, and the luminous flux intensity is up to 9600 lumens.
This is a semi-professional light with the function of precise adjustment of the luminous flux parameters. You can buy it on Amazon for $36.98. Here is the – Product Link.
Today you can buy ring lights with RGB colors (Red, Green, Blue). They are commonly used for special effects and artistic photography. When choosing such models, it should be borne in mind that the luminous flux power will be less than the maximum indicator declared by the manufacturer, because separate LEDs are responsible for each color.
You may also like to read: The Key Benefits of Ring Light for Photographers & Bloggers
Additional Equipment You Can Buy with Ring Light
Another marketing ploy is to equip the lamp with as many auxiliary elements as possible. Many ring light manufacturers offer to the buyers the following additional photography equipment:
- remote control;
- stationary and flexible smartphone holders.
So that additional equipment does not lead to a significant increase in the price of the model, some manufacturers sacrifice quality. This is a typical disease for some brands that target under-informed consumers.
Before buying a ring light, you need to figure out what components may be needed during the operation of the lamp. Some important required components are:
- batteries are required for outdoor shooting;
- the control panel is needed during the shooting process to change the parameters of the light flux;
- the display is essential for those who need precise settings during their work.
The latest ring lights have the option of being controlled via a smartphone app. This feature is a nice addition to the existing functionality.
Ring lights are sold with or without tripods. It is impossible to say unequivocally which option is better. Many budget ring lights are equipped with too flimsy tripods. In this case, in photography, you will have to check the structure’s stability constantly. The balance can be disturbed for several reasons:
- disproportionate dimensions;
- displacement of the center of gravity;
- insufficient angle between legs and center bar.
The tripods that come with budget models are most often stable only when their legs are laid out at right angles to the central rod; that is, they lie flat on the floor. In this case, the tripod support system takes up too much space and could inadvertently catch on during shooting. This option is incredibly inconvenient for working in small rooms.
To avoid these problems, it is recommended to study the characteristics of the tripods when purchasing. If there is any doubt about the reliability and functionality of the support structure, it is better to buy a ring light without additional equipment. The lighting stand can always be purchased separately.
Precautions During Buying A Ring Light
Many nuances can be learned during the operation of a particular model of a ring light. Manufacturers are silent about them, and bloggers rarely mention them during their reviews. However, they are no less important than the essential characteristics of ring lights, so information about them will help reduce the risk of purchasing a low-quality model.
1. About The Power
In reality, this parameter may not correspond to the value specified by the manufacturer in the technical documentation. In such situations, the power is usually less. And the manufacturer does not hide this. Usually, they inform customers in small print somewhere in the warranty card that he deliberately set a power limitation. This is done to extend the life of the ring light since it wears out faster when used at full mode.
2. Possible Disadvantages of The LED Case
Despite the assurances of the manufacturers, the LEDs still heat up during operation. This heating does not happen as quickly as with ring lights. However, during long-term shooting, overheating the case is likely to provoke premature wear of the lighting elements. If the case is made of poor-quality plastic, an unpleasant odor may occur.
To avoid this scenario, you need to choose a ring light with an integrated ventilation system. Ventilation grilles provide natural air circulation and complete cooling of the LEDs in the rear of the case. They are conventional slots along the entire circumference.
The grilles are sufficient for proper cooling of the lighting system. If not, it is recommended to monitor the temperature of the case and periodically and turn off the lamp for some time.
3. Power Connection
Fashion for USB power connection when working with a ring light is inappropriate. This method of connection is acceptable for models with low power. For optimal performance, the lamp should be equipped with an external 220V power supply.
You may also like to read: Lighting in Filmmaking and Photography: A Complete Guide
When buying a ring light, you have to always focus on future plans. Ring lights with limited functionality help to solve only simple tasks. If a beginner photographer or blogger is planning to improve his skills and further development, it is recommended to purchase a model with increased power and a number of functions.
Recommended Ring Lights: Editors Choice
For the beginner photographer and blogger, I recommend buying Sensyne 10” Ring Light. It will cost you $29.74 and best for live streaming, makeup, YouTube, and TikTok videos. Also, it comes with a phone holder which is compatible with all phones.
For the professionals, I recommend using Pixel 19″ Bi-Color LCD Ring Light with remote. It’s available on Amazon for $127.99 and has multiple advanced features you may need during your photography or videography. The average rating is 4.6 out of 5 and I am also using this for my YouTube videos and photography.