ring flash vs beauty dish?

whats the difference? give me sample shots of both?

3 Answers

  • 10 years ago
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    Well the main difference is that a ring flash is the flash itself - the lens shoots through it, so it'll always be on axis, ie flatter light, (unless like the Orbis, you remove it from round the lens). A beauty dish is a light modifier, not a flash itself.

    Ring flash loses less light as its the light source, a beauty dish will lose 1-2 stops because you're reflecting the light twice (once off the 'return' & then again off the 'bowl').

    Ring flash will be a hard flat light, beauty dish will be less specular than a bare flash, but harder than,say, a softbox.

    Ring flash gives classic doughnut catchlight in the eyes, beauty dish catchlights tend to be round (depends on how much light gets on the outer edge of the return - sometimes the return can be a darker centre in a circular catchlight).

    Edit: to add, you can of course grid or diffuse a beauty dish too which adds to the variety of light from it - not so easy (if not impossible) to do with a ring flash.

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  • 10 years ago

    These are two very difficult things to compare actually. At some point in my photo career, I felt very compelled to buy a ring flash. I really thought I needed one. At that point I was shooting Olympus, and the ring flash stuff that you had to get required the person to also buy an FL-50 flashgun as well. All in all, I think it ended up being just as much as I paid for the camera and lenses.

    I think you need to look at what you're doing to determine which one you would use. If you do a lot of macro photography, the ring flash would be beneficial. You could use the beauty dish as well, it would just take a little more creative placement.

    I use my beauty dish occasionally for portraiture. I don't think I would ever use a ring flash for that. But for the most part, my paying gigs are portraits where I use natural or studio lighting, or parties, which I just use my flashgun, no ring flash. I am not a fan of the Cheerio Catchlight left by the ring flash. This is amplified by people doing flower macros after the rain, when you get to see a whole lot of cheerio ringflash reflections in the drops on said flower.

    They're two completely different lighting solutions for different situations. Personally, I think you will get a lot more mileage out of the beautydish as long as your life doesn't revolve around macros. And even if it does, you can still use the beauty dish with its accompanying light source to get lighting with a little more depth.

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  • 10 years ago

    ring flash is usually put on the end of the lens - i dont use mine that way, they give a harsh hard light

    beauty dishes (also called pearl difussers by some) are what they photo eva longoria with all the time - - its gives a soft light

    with the images below look in tyhe eyes to see the type of lighting used

    ring flash portrait: http://www.flickr.com/photos/peter-thomsen/4218497... - hard icky light

    beauty dish porttrait: http://www.flickr.com/photos/studioxil/3808680092/

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