It’s not often I get to show off what’s going on behind the scenes, but the review I’m doing today lets me share the process I have for creating the YouTube videos I produce for Best Buy Canada’s blog. When it comes to TV and video, light is very important; it can absolutely be the difference between a video that looks like you shot it in your basement, and one that looks professional. The Ultimaxx LED Ring Light is a “prosumer” tool that lets you properly light your subject for great head and shoulders shots, whether you’re shooting stills or video.
Ring lights are traditionally used for headshots or portraits, beauty shots and macro photography. The ring shape fills the subject’s face with light, bathing it in an even glow that diminishes shadows and dark areas.
To see the difference in what YouTube videos look like with and without the ring light you can check out my video, or the photos here too.
Ultimaxx Ring Light: What’s in the box
This Ultimaxx Ring Light kit comes with a bunch of accessories. You get the light, of course, which is one piece and has 240 tiny LED bulbs embedded in its face and an extra long cord which is removable. There’s a collapsible stand too, and two sets of filter-diffusers in Orange and White.
Everything tucks into the convenient padded carry case. I often bring my lights with me when I travel, so I think this is very handy to have.
Setting up Ultimaxx Ring Light
There’s really only minimal set up required with this light. You’ll attach the light head to the stand by tightening the thumb screw. These screws are big and heavy-duty thumb screws which feel like they’ll keep it cinched into place. Plug the AC into the light head, then into the wall, and switch it on.
Ultimaxx LED Ring Light Lighting options
Conveniently, the Ultimaxx Ring Light is dimmable, which gives you a lot of options for use. You can get it set to barely on, or full-blast bright just by twisting the dimmer dial. The head of the light can be tilted and locked into place up to 90 degrees, so you can use it face-on or to light something on a table.
You can further adjust the light by extending the light stand; it goes from 32” to 72” and measures 19” when closed up making it pretty portable.
What’s the colour temperature?
For you pros out there, the light’s Colour Temperature: 5500K.
Quick sidebar on colour temperature, because this might help you decide if you need those diffusers or not. Colour temperature is the term for the overall colour of the light. In essence, the general look or feel of a light when it’s turned on. Incandescent bulbs tend to have a yellowish, warmer cast to them, while fluorescents and outdoor sunlight are more blue to varying degrees.
- Warm White light measures up to 2900K. This is the incandescent light bulb glow.
- Cool White is usually about 3000K to 4900K. This is most often found in work areas.
- Daylight and fluorescent are about 5000K and up. It gives you a bright light that has a slightly bluish white tone. This type of light is frequently used for commercial lighting.
So, the Ultimaxx Ring Light, with its 5500K temperature, will give you a brighter, bluer hue. But you can adjust that by snapping in the coloured diffuser or filter plates.
Quality of light: Do I need to use the filters?
There’s plenty of options for using this light. Since I’m using it to primarily shoot YouTube videos, I opted not to use the orange filter.
I tried it both with the diffuser plates in and out. The plates are broken into 4 pieces and snap in and out of the light frame.
There’s a definite difference in the orange plates, but less so with the white.
From my video, you may have noticed in my photos and video I’m using my light set up in front of my camera and tripod, but there’s is a shoe on the light head that will let you attach a camera or even a smartphone with an adapter, right onto the light.
One thing about a ring light; if you don’t use the diffuser, or you’re very close to it, you can get a ring in the reflection of your eyes. And trust me, people notice! I often get folks saying my eyes are creepy looking.
Most often in my home studio, I set the light to about 30-40% brightness; I found 100% too much, washing me out. Too little and you don’t get that nice even glow.
I also have some other lights I use; fluorescent softboxes, one on each side of my camera, or sometimes to light the background. I like these for creating an even glow, but sometimes you want more directional light to the front. Particularly, as I mentioned earlier, for shooting portraits.
How does LED light compare to fluorescent?
I have a ring light in my studio, but this one is a single, circular fluorescent bulb, not an LED. So is there much difference? In the overall lighting, I’d say no, but when you’re looking into the light, into the camera, those bright little LEDs can feel a bit like they’re piercing your retinas. You can dim them of course, but if you need that level of lighting, you need to tough it out.
Light stand is versatile
The light stand that comes in the package is lightweight and easy to set up and tightens securely. It will also work with other photography equipment like reflectors, softboxes, different lights, and umbrellas (Max load is 5 kg / 11 lb.) if you need it to be versatile too.
Overall review of Ultimaxx Ring Light
Overall, I enjoy having the option of using a ring light in my home studio. I find it brings in the front-on wide, bright lighting that I can’t get with my softboxes. Plus, with its extraordinary brightness, it makes it easy to get a good amount of light, even in my otherwise dark basement.
The light is easy to set up and use. If there were some aspects I didn’t like, it might be that the light head is big and kind of unwieldy. The light is also fairly pricey given other similar options on the market.
On its own, this light is a good choice if you’re looking to improve your photo and video quality. Pick up the Ultimaxx LED Ring Light at Best Buy.