We’ve seen this product, the orbisâ„¢ ring flash out there for awhile along with some others, like the RayFlash, and felt it was time to take a look and see what we could do with it.
Ring light can give you a very distinctive light quality, and we dig it for those applications.
In those cases we turn to our ProFoto Ring Light with a Dynalite pack. The cost for those 2 items was about $1500. including the modification for the plug to a dynalite pack.
The orbisâ„¢ is about $200. Plus your speedlight which would run about $300-$400.
OK, what’s different?
Here you go:
The classic flat light front light of a right flash is achievable with the orbisâ„¢. The tell tale outline shadow can be controlled by placing your model closer or farther way from the background.
You do lose about 4 stops of light output from your speedlight.
They claim less, but that’s what we got. Auto-ISO will fix you right up though.
The good news is that this is a lightweight accessory that does what it says it will.
You already own a speedlight, so you can take that off the tally.
Of course you may also own a strobe pack, so in fairness lets take that off the list, too.
The way the orbis works is you shove your speedlight into the base of the unit, and put your lens through it.
It’s a hand held operation currently, with a holder on the way we are told. Forget about your lens hood-it’s not going to fit.
You can add your TTL cord to trigger it, or if your orbis is held off camera, the ring flash will get exposure correction as any other flash. We went for the Commander mode on the Nikon D700, and the SB-800 Remote mode. We dig the wireless.
It’s easy to hold, and with a little practice, you will feel comfortable. We have been holding speedlights off-camera for years, as do photogs like Larry Fink, so not a worry there.
It’s plastic so it’s fairly lightweight, the Profoto is metal and glass and is a bit heavier.
It requires no AC power, so you can use it anywhere, easily.
It has been one of those items that photogs have been hitting the forums hard with, trying to figure out everyone’s experiences.
Our conclusion is this:
Use sparingly, and only when you need to use battery power. Single portraits are best, as the power loss for a group shot, in a studio setting, will be noticeable.
It may be best as a soft fill light in open shade, or perhaps as a flat light for those sunset portraits.
Not being able to focus or zoom, unless your camera is on a tripod, is a real issue. We have all become so used to that ability to zoom and you may feel that loss.
Once the bracket for the unit arrives, it will make some photogs comments go away, as it begins to mimic a “true” pro ring flash, and allow you to shoot without using one hand to hold the light.
Bottom line: It’s a fine tool for those who need it for simple work. the $200. price point has made this, and the RayFlash, a very attractive solution to a lighting problem or choice, for the hobbyist, or the strobist who is looking for a new choice of light. I have seen an event shooter using the RayFlash on a gig, though.
It comes with a neck strap so you can hang it on yourself and grab it as needed. Not for us, but it may come in handy for you.
For us, we’d rather spend the extra coin for the real deal, or an Alien Bee. Or maybe just rent the rig when you need it.
Here it is in action from the folks at orbisâ„¢.
Next up: we’ll be looking at some other light options like the Honl system, Gary Fong’s diffuser, and using your speedlight simply and easily. You may already have what you need.