How to Set and Adjust a Camera Ring Flash

A camera ring flash is commonly used for macro or close-up photography. Your camera's master flash can produce shadows, as the focused light is produced from a single direction. By using a ring flash, shadows are decreased, and details are enhanced.

The flash is comprised of two components: the ring flash and the control unit. The ring flash is mounted on the lens of a camera, while the control unit is attached to the hot shoe mount located on the top of the camera. A cord is attached to both parts of the flash, which enables the camera to direct the flash to fire.

Setting and adjusting the camera flash ring can be accomplished by following the steps below. You will need the following:

  • Digital SLR camera
  • "AA" batteries
  • Flash ring and control unit

Step 1 - Install Batteries

Most flash ring control units require 4 "AA" alkaline or nickel-hydride batteries. These types of batteries will give you the best power to operate the most flashes. Other battery types can be used, but they may drain more quickly.

Step 2 - Mount the Control Unit

To mount the control unit on the hot shoe, you need to loosen the locking collar, which looks like a wheel and is located at the bottom of the control unit. Next, slide the mounting foot of the control unit all the way into the hot shoe. You may hear a click, indicating that it is connected correctly. Tighten the locking collar.

Step 3 - Attach the Flash Ring

Attach the camera flash ring to the camera lens by squeezing the buttons on each side to the ring. Release the buttons to lock the flash ring onto the lens.

Step 4 - Test the Flash

Activate the power on the control unit by flipping a switch or pressing a power button, depending on the unit. Wait a few moments until the pilot lamp light on the control unit illuminates. Once lit, press the pilot lamp button. This will test-fire the flash to confirm if it has been installed properly and is working.

Step 5 - Adjust the Operational Settings

A camera flash ring can operate on automatic or manual settings. To select a setting, press the mode button on the control unit. If "automatic" is chosen, you will be prompted to select the flash aperture and shutter speed. If "manual" is chosen, you can set the aperture and shutter speed independently.

Step 6 - Set the Ratio

The button to set the ratio is also located on the back of the control unit. This sets the amount of light the flash will give off on the right-hand side versus the left-hand side. Press this button to adjust the ratio between the left light bar and the right light bar.

Step 7 - Take Test Shots

Take test photos to make sure that your set-up and settings are correct, and make any adjustments that are needed.

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