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03-26-2015, 05:35 AM   #1
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Affordable LED Ring Flash / Light for K-3

I know this has probably been covered somewhere else, but I can't find any place on this forum that has more than an occasional mention of the new LED models on the market. I know there are dedicated ring flash units from Pentax and a few others, but these are well beyond my price range. I am just getting started in Macro and don't want to invest allot of money until I know what I am about. I am now using an M 50mm 1.7 on a macro focusing 2x extender or a Tamron 70 - 300 Macro focusing lens with a diopter filter. Please direct me to something less than $100 that will work but won't waste my time or money. If there is information collected somewhere, please point me to it.


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03-26-2015, 05:55 AM   #2
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Some of the LED rings are good for close work, they're not as bright as a true flash, but the constant illumination allows you to meter well. they're not as bright as the big LED panels which mount on the hotshoe either. Those are the only products I'm familiar with, and they work well enough for a lot of work. They hybrid LED "flash" units might be even better but I haven't used one.

Here's one which can be mounted either way, and has multiple modes:

Panels are really useful. : Mcoplus 198 LED Dimmable Ultra High Power Panel Digital Camera / Camcorder Video Light for Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Panasonic, Samsung and Olympus Digital SLR Camera : Camera & Photo
03-26-2015, 06:15 AM   #3
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Most of the Chinese LED ring lights are not that powerful for macro photo. I have the Yongnuo one and I am not very happy with it.

The LED panels that I have tried are actually much better and give very nice results. I use one LED panel with my MX-1 when doing macro photos. I have one straight piece bracket (about 25cm length). At one end I have the LED panel and at the other end I have the camera. I position the light where I want by swiveling the bracket right or left.

Something like this setup (but the bracket is slightly longer):

Last edited by mrNewt; 03-26-2015 at 06:28 AM.
03-26-2015, 06:47 AM   #4
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The panels are significantly brighter, though there are some newer lens-mount rings which have a lot of LEDs, presumably making them brighter. You can generally judge by how many batteries they require.

I have been considering getting a bracket for off-shoe flash/lighting. I'd like to find an old school wood handled bracket which would still allow me to use my tripod-mount sling strap and an offboard flash. Yeah, I know - wishes.

03-26-2015, 06:51 AM   #5
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I picked up a Polaroid unit for around $40. I figured at that price I could take a chance. Here is a shot taken with that ring flash but with the LEDs on continuous.

03-26-2015, 08:55 AM   #6
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Just be aware that an LED ring light (I use the yongnuo) will leave distinctive reflections if you don't find a way to diffuse it:

Less obvious here, but quite annoying ( multiple reflections bouncing around inside the water drop):

Very handy to use for focusing, though. Just remember to turn it off if you don't need it. I didn't need the extra light for the photos in the series the second shot is from... just to focus (I was using a 50-135 mounted on a 2x macro focusing teleconverter, handheld. It was not easy.), but I didn't think to turn it off because I didn't see the reflections in the camera preview.
03-26-2015, 11:25 AM   #7
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Do you own a standard hot shoe flash (like 360FGZ or 540FGZ) ? If so, why not rather built a ring flash adapter for it ? It's quite easy to do and they work much better than any cheap LED ring flash. They're much powerful in addition to working in P-TTL. And, obviously, they're quite cheap to get! You can find plenty of tutorials on Google.

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