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Welcome to this new resource for photographers who use or intend to use ring flash or macro flash. Enjoy what you find and contribute by suggesting videos, writing articles, sharing your photos. The ringflash is one of the most creative lighting products...lets see how creative you are using it!


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Sunpak GX8R ring flash review

Sunpak GX8R ring flashThe Sunpak GX8R is a compact ring flash head with a separate battery pack. This design makes the actual flash part much lighter in weight so there’s no strain on the lens. It’s an important thing to consider on modern autofocus cameras lenses where the construction may be a bit flimsy to be supporting a flash of the likes of the Centon MR20 or Vivitar MacroFlash 5000.

The flash was originally sold in the early 80s and comes in a case along with three lens adaptor rings to suit  49mm, 55mm and 58mm filter threads. You could attach it to smaller or larger filter threads using a step up or down ring. Care should be taken using the flash on filter threads larger than 58mm as the hole through the centre of the flash tube is just 50mm so vignetting would occur if a wide-angle is used. The ring screws into the rear of the flash on a rotating flange. This allows the flash to rotate on the lens.Sunpak GX8R ring flash rear view

At the base is a small protruding section with a built in cable that connects to the battery pack and a detachable flash sync cable. There’s also a flash ready indicator and a shorting plug. You can test fire the flash by pressing the flash sync cable against this. The flash tube diameter is  approx 7cm.

Sunpak GX8R ring flash outfit case

Sunpak GX8R ring flash battery

Sunpak GX8R battery packThe battery pack is an upright cylinder measuring 6x6cm and a height of 17cm plus 5mm for the top dial.  The pack takes four C size 1.5v batteries, and can also be powered by the included detachable 22mA AD-17 power adaptor. A carry strap is provided so the pack can be hung over your shoulder.

The overall build doesn’t feel quite so robust as some Sunpak units but it’s fair.

Sunpak GX8R Performance
The unit has a fairly slow recycling time compared with modern unit. When mains powered it’s about 8secs on full power and this doesn’t improve as you reduce the power. With batteries it soon starts to slow down and become annoyingly slow.

The top dial adjusts the flash output in settings for full, half or quarter power although the dial doesn’t have click stops so the flash can be used at any point in between these three settings and the power is set accordingly so finite adjustments can be made. It’s one of those flashguns where the model number indicates the guide number of 8 (ISO100/m)

A leaflet was included to show the flash provides the following coverage:

100-90cm 80cm 70cm 60cm 50cm 40cm 30cm 20cm 10cm
F 4 4.3 5 5.6 7 8 11 16 29
H 2.8 3.2 3.5 4 4.5 5.6 7 11 20
Q 2 2.3 2.6 2.8 3.5 4 5.6 8 14
ISO50-64 F 6.5 7 8 9 11 13 16 25 46
H 4.5 5 5.6 6.5 7.2 9 11 17 32
Q 3.2 3.6 4 4.5 5.6 6.5 8 13 28
ISO80-100 F 8 8.5 10.2 11 14 16 22 32 58
H 5.6 6.3 7.1 8 9 11 14 22 39
Q 4 4.6 5.1 5.6 7.1 8 11 16 27
ISO125 F 9 9.4 11.3 12 15.5 18 25 36 64
H 6.2 7 7.8 9 10 12 15 25 53
Q 4.5 5.1 5.6 6 7.8 9 12.5 18 32
ISO160 F 10 11 12.5 14 17.5 20 27.5 40 73
H 7 8 9 10 11.2 14 17.5 27.5 59
Q 5 5.6 6.3 7 8.8 10 13.8 20 37
ISO400 F 16 17 20.5 22 28 32 44 64 116
H 11 13 14.2 16 18 22 28 44 78
Q 8 8.5 10.2 11 14 16 22 32 55

Full (F), Half (H), Quarter (Q) power

The light coverage is even and neutral. Overall quality is very good and certainly on a par with models from the camera manufacturers.

Photographs taken with the Sunpak GX8R


Sunpak GX8R photo of apple This shot displays the classic ring flash shadow around the subject
Sunpak GX8R photo of pencils Even illumination and bright
Sunpak GX8R photo of stamps No harshness and even light makes this good for document copying
Sunpak GX8R photo of camera dial This macro flash is good for close ups of cameras and jewellery

Things to check when buying a used Sunpak GX8R
Battery pack for previous leaks and corrosion, Check the springs in the pack and the contacts in the removable battery compartment. Make sure the ready light lights up and the filter ring mount thread isn’t damaged. Also check the tube has no damage and the mains adaptor works correctly. Make sure the power reduction dial is not damaged and the shoulder strap lugs are still solidly fixed. Try the sync cable plugged into a camera to make sure the flash fires.

BUY a used Sunpak GX8R
You can buy a second-hand Sunpak GX8R ring flash with total confidence from PhotographyAttic


Marumi DRF14 Ringflash

Marumi DRF14 RingflashPhoto Answers magazine has given the Marumi DRF14 Ringflash a 5 star rating when it reviewed it on line here:

Marumi DRF14 Ringflash



Bowens Ringflash Pro

Bowens ring flash proThere’s a review of the Bowens Ringflash Pro on ePHOTOzine where it receives an overall rating of 8 out of 10.

See the review and verdict here: Bowens Ringflash Pro

Ringlight lighting technique

ringlightHere’s a really quick lighting technique using an LED type ring light. You could do it with any ringflash that has a modelling light, but it may work best with an LED one as the light is even all the way around. 

1 Place the light on a table switched on.

2 Put an object in the centre

3 Take a photo from a low angle so you are more or less head on to the object but have a small amount of shape to the circle below. The camera can be on auto. Meter for the object – ideally with spot metering mode.

If you shoot in low light (preferably in the evening with the room lights off)  the background will be black like the paint tube photo below.

paint using ringlight

Centon MR20 Ringflash review

Centon MR20 RingflashThe Centon MR20 Ringflash was a brand sold by Jessops in the 90s that was the same as the Vivitar 5000 and  various other brand names from the likes of Cobra and Starblitz . It’s a fairly low power, basic unit but the price makes it an affordable entry into the world of ring flash photography. The back panel has an on/off button that glows green to show power on, a ready light that glows orange when the ringflash is charged and this doubles up as a test button. There’s also a 2.5mm sync socket for the flash sync cable and an exposure scale.

On the front is an auto/manual switch. If you set to auto, the sensor on the front of the flash cuts the power so it’s correct for the auto aperture that’s been selected. You determine which aperture to use with the scale on the back. The auto range os 30-95cm and f/5.6 at ISO100.

Centon MR20 ringflash

The scale has a series of flash to subject distances along the top from 30cm to 120cm and a series of ISOs from ISO25 to ISO400 down the side. To work out what aperture to use you read along the ISO row you’re using and follow down from the flash to subject distance. So looking at the scale a photograph taken 40cm from the subject at ISO 100 would need f/11 setting on the camera.

The flash works equally well with film or digital cameras and is powered by two AA 1.5v batteries. It attaches to the camera lens via the filter thread and uses Series VII rings to obtain the necessary filter thread size. If the Series VII ring you need is not available you can use step up/step down rings to take it to the correct fitting.

When sold new the flash came with 49mm, 52mm and 55mm adaptors.

You can buy a pre-owned Centon MR20 Ringflash here: Centon MR20 Ringflash

Photo taken with DIY ringlite

A photo of Lauren, taken by Peter Bargh using a DIY ringlite fluorescent tube.
Lauren photo taken using ringlight tube

Do you have photos taken using ringflash or ringlights that you’d like to exhibit on If so let us know.


Orbis Arm for Orbis Ringflash adaptor now available

Orbis Arm for Orbis Ringflash Adaptor
The Orbis Arm that we announced back in August is now available. A month later than expected this mounting bracket enables your flash and Orbis Ringflash adaptor to be mounted together on a tripod. Full details of the release are below:

The orbis arm is an invaluable mounting bracket that makes the orbis even more versatile.

By handholding the orbis  you can easily achieve a shadowless, beautiful ring flash effect, or take it off-lens to create a variety of lighting set-ups in moments. But some photographers love shooting exclusively with the orbis on-lens for longer.  The orbis arm provides a solid mount for photographers who want to use their orbis  in its primary ‘ring flash’ position for extended shoots.  With the arm you can also easily mount the system on a tripod without using an extra light-stand.

The orbis arm is a compact and lightweight mounting bracket designed to work with the orbis ring flash and most of your favourite SLR flashes, cameras and lenses. Built from 6061 aircraft grade aluminium and finished in a smooth powdered silver, the arm extends the possibilities of your orbis, giving you the freedom to shoot on-lens for longer!

Tech Specs:

  • Fits the orbis and flash to the camera using the solid tripod socket as the attachment point
  • Six-way adjustable to fit a wide range of gear combinations
  • Folds down quickly into a compact ‘travel mode’
  • Extensively tested for use and durability
  • Fully compatible with existing orbis ring flash

Underwater ring flash

underwater ring flashWetpixel user Marjo saw Alexander’s diy underwater ringflash and decided to have a go at making one.

Marjo explained: "I am not sure this contraption will do me any good for photographing fish, but I am determined to try it out for the giggles. It will also be a great piece of high tech gear to pull out of the camera bag to show off in case I meet another snobby photographer unimpressed by my rig"

The detailed creation can be found on the wetpixel site here: DIY Underwater Ringflash

Homemade Underwater ringflash

We stumbled upon Alexander Mustard’s website where instead of buying a purpose made underwater ringflash he decided to make one.

As he states it’s "Not a fully functioning ring-flash, but a ring reflector box powered by my existing strobes. It is not an original idea, I have seen it done on land, and the designs seem ideal for submergence with no moving or electrical parts. The entire system is intended to fill up with water quite happily."

"my ring diffuser certainly produced ring-flash lighting and fulfilled its brief in being inexpensive and lightweight for travel. It is excellent for shooting small subjects, getting light inside complex shaped subjects and for revealing patterns." 

To see the full article with pics of the ringflash and shots taken using it visit Alesander’s web site here:

Sigma EM-140 DG NA-ITTL Macro Flash For Nikon SLR Cameras

Sigma EM-140 DG macro flashThe Sigma EM-140 DG is an electronic flash for close up photography designed to work with both AF 35mm film and Digital SLR cameras
It has twin flash tubes that can be fired together or independently. Using only one flash tube creates a shadow, which can give a three-dimensional feeling to the subject. The flash features a guide number of 14 (ISO 100/m)
It can be used in conjunction with the wireless flash function of the Sigma EF530 DG Super flashgun. High Speed Synchro and Exposure compensation functions are also available for advanced flash photography
The flash comes with 55mm and 58mm adaptor rings, but 52mm, 62mm, 67mm, 72mm and 77mm adaptor rings are also available
The Sigma EM-140 DG has a modeling flash that allows for checking of shadow position and light balance prior to shooting.

You can buy the Sigma EM-140 DG macro flash here: Sigma EM-140 DG NA-ITTL Macro Flash For Nikon SLR Cameras