© 2012 Lu Nelson

ABR800 ring flash

I got an ABR800 ring flash. The final impetus for it was setting up a photo booth for my impending nuptials. It seems like the perfect kind of edgy, fun light for a photo booth environment. It would be fun to do an exaggerated wide-angle shot, but unfortunately the widest lens I have access to right now is a 28mm after trying to raise funds for the aforementioned wedding.

As for the flash itself, it’s the first studio flash I’ve used. As such, I feel very unqualified to comment on its build quality. I’ll give it a shot anyway. It seems light to me, much less dense than my hotshoe flashes. This makes it easier to carry around, which is great, but it also makes it feel a little cheap. I can live with just feeling cheap though.

The light output itself is astounding, coming from someone whose previous flashes always ran off of 4 AAs. I feel like I could take shots of people’s internal organs by using a lens wide open at ISO 3200 and shooting a full power flash. The light quality seems great too — I set my camera to its preset “flash” white balance and you can see the result above. The skin tones are pleasantly warm, my black shirt is black, and it seems like flattering light overall.

As for things I don’t like about it — the universal mounting bracket seems poorly made. It’s fairly well designed for all its supposed to do, but the camera mounting plate requires a screwdriver to attach and detach to the camera. I don’t particularly like having to add that to my camera bag for when I use this flash. The camera mounting plate also locks in place with a frighteningly small plastic catch with a living hinge that feels like it could break in normal use. The whole thing feels overly light and flimsy for attaching thousands of dollars of equipment to a tripod.

Overall, I’m pleased with the purchase. I look forward to using it more in the studio. I might have some more in-depth impressions later.