rippo PRO 11:03pm, 27 August 2009
So I ordered an O-Flash on ebay and it just arrived. I thought it fit my Nikon SB-28 pretty well, and I wasn't worried about it falling off (although I do have velcro pads on my SBs, which might have made the fit nicer than others have reported). However I'm deeply dissatisfied for a big reason.

SIX stops of light loss.

That's measured with my light meter, zoomed to 85mm setting on the SB-28 for both tests. I also compared it to my Lumiquest Softbox III, which only loses two stops compared to bare flash. Sure this O-Flash was only $48, but still that's $48 down the tubes.

And yes I can use this for fill or at high ISOs, but my cameras are not high-ISO friendly. And I shoot outdoors most of the time anyway, which nullifies that. So it's not much good to me.

The Orbis and its three stops of light loss is looking to be worth it at the higher price.
WayDen 6 years ago
I recently bought the Rayflash, and had my first shoot with it. I didn't check with a light meter, but I believe I was only losing 1 stop of light...
W.G.W. 6 years ago
i think a fair comparison would be using the flash at the widest setting rather than zoomed in.
strobist PRO Posted 6 years ago. Edited by strobist (admin) 6 years ago
Not to sound like a broken record, but there are a couple of reasons the knockoffs are cheaper.

Even if you ape the design (some knockoffs vary it a little and others apparently just stole the molds) you also need to use very high quality -- and specialized -- plastic resins to get efficiency and color correctness.

The knock-off guys are about one thing: Price.

What is their return policy?
rippo PRO 6 years ago
Oh I should mention that the Ray Flash won't work with my setup, and the Orbis is borderline…my main lens has an outer diameter of about 86mm, which is what the Orbis can accommodate. The O-Flash had the advantage of working with my lens out of the box. FWIW.

I'm not sure why widest setting would make sense. It was actually another stop down when set to wide.

David: return policy is "manufacturing defect only". I knew I was taking a risk, but the assured fit kinda pushed me over the edge. I was maybe expecting a stop below the other guys, not three or more!
GarethDix 6 years ago
you're quite lucky though at one of the london strobist meetups i was comparing my orbis with one of the cheap knockoffs that someone had brought with them. The problem he was having was a really bad colour cast appearing from the ringflash. Maybe he'll see this and comment but i think he pulled it apart and lined it with foil to get rid of the cast.
strobist PRO 6 years ago
Yeah, to be honest, I would prolly DIY a cereal box first. At least I knew it'd be fairly neutral. :)
celticview 6 years ago
I think O-flash was a big commercial disappointment. At first it was sold for around $50 in China then weeks after (maybe 2 weeks) it fell to $25. And the seller told me that nobody was interested in buying those.
GNapp Studios 6 years ago
I lose 4 stops with the Orbis but I still love it.
PGL-Design 6 years ago
Have you taken reading to see how even the coverage is. I understand 6 stops of light is a lot - but you might be able to get into a DIY type fix.

In other words; after taking the readings, see if you can pry the front "lens" off. As mentioned, it might be made of plastic that is "eating" more light than it should. You could replace it with a clear piece of polycarbonite or something.

rippo PRO 6 years ago
Paul, excellent idea! That and another mod and I pulled an extra stop of light from the thing. Might barely be worth the $48 now…barely.

Details here at a new post, so that poor O-Flash owners can find it more easily.
rippo PRO 6 years ago
Well that thread was closed because it was supposedly a duplicate thread, although I disagree. This thread is a discussion about the inadequacies of the product. The other thread was about how to improve it. In terms of search criteria or browsing, a different headline (how to fix vs moan moan moan) would benefit the owners of this device, IMO.

But regardless, the info is still there. And discussion here.
ea83 6 years ago
It is not surprising that the O-Ring flash is unsatisfactory. At that price, it cannot be expected to have the same reflectivity as high grade fiber optics.

Any opinions about the ebay ring flash made by iShoot, sold by Photoloving ? (No mirrors. It plugs into a hot shoe adapter.)
JustinSinks 6 years ago
Rippo, I find it hard to believe you are really worried about people finding helpful threads based on you're very informative title "O-Flash ring flash…ugh!"
If you really want to be helpful for others, why not change the title of this thread to " OT: O-Flash mod for +1 stop of light " . Then post your mod in this thread. Or even edit your first post to include the updated info.
nakeddork 6 years ago
Just get a profoto right flash, then you won't have to worry about one till profoto puts out the next model.
rebel_x_x 6 years ago
Just use those Zn batteries and the SB XX high power April hack to get 1200ws... :P
Polaritypictures 6 years ago
SIX Stops? hah it's eating all your light, what a waste.
quietlightphoto 6 years ago
I've heard decent remarks on thePromaster ringflash.
Isnt it a bit unfare to compare a 85mm zoomed sb, to the light a ringhflash is going to give out?

the ringflash light is comparable to a bare zoom setting that covers the same area...

Or am i wrong?
metropolicity PRO Posted 6 years ago. Edited by metropolicity (member) 6 years ago
i did some mods to my o-flash and got some amazing results.

I managed to squeek out the resin chunk and line the entire inside with foil tape, also, the cardboard piece that says 'o-flash' on it can be also lined with foil tape to increase the reflection of light downwards.finally, there is about 4 square inches of realestate that can be reclaimed if you cut off a bit of the cardboard.

Here's the unmodded one:

o-flash - pre mod

notice how the light escapes from the top and is really uneven?

it was an sb800 at 1/4 power, and f10

here it is after i modded it, same settings.

o-flash modded @ f10

still uneven, but notice the power increase.

here it is at the same power, but at f22:

o-flash modded @ f22

and here it is sans flash:

I added some gaffers tape to the top section because i noticed there was some light leaks at the top.

Modded Ring Flash

Here's a semi willing subject for me to test it out, I also had another flash for a kicker lighting her hair:

Christa up close

so there you have it, that's how you turn a $35 turd into a $35 shiny turd in 15 mins with some foil tape.

hope this helps
Jaroslav Moravec 6 years ago
I tried to to insert thin pieces of paper to make it bit softer but it does not seem to be working. White beauty dish is softer than silver one so it should be same in this case?
metropolicity PRO 6 years ago
it's really the issue of colour, softness is determined by how big your light source is. In the case of my test, the source was a mere 1.5 ish feet away from my subject matter.

the efficiency and spread of the ring flash after the silver tape was greatly increased and what i was looking for.
Raggedy Anne. 6 years ago
i made an offer on one of these on Ebay, and they refused my offer of £15 but offered me it for £20 with free shipping. is is worth £20, or do you think its too much troubke even for that small amount?
Jaroslav Moravec 6 years ago
Once again, white beauty dish behaves differently than silver dish (at the same size). The same holds for umbrellas. So it might help to spray the plastic casing with light white?
Photopaul65 6 years ago
Leave it to Metro, a.k.a.-Mr. Itonlysucksuntil Igetmyhandsonit
Nice work, maybe you should go work R&D in China and save us a lot of headaches! :)
metropolicity PRO Posted 6 years ago. Edited by metropolicity (member) 6 years ago
it's kind of funny you say that. I am a product designer during the day and DIY guru by night ;)

I may just go and to china to do such that in the future.

of course white and silver behave differently, but at the size that the o-flash is, i want to squeeze the most out of each surface. Spraying it white would only do so much to increase the efficiency.

IF the ring was bigger, i would consider spraying white.

Stay tuned, i ordered another one to hack with a couple of cheap nikon TTL strobes.
Photopaul65 6 years ago
Stay tuned, i ordered another one to hack with a couple of cheap nikon TTL strobes

An "O-duals" perhaps??
metropolicity PRO Posted 6 years ago. Edited by metropolicity (member) 6 years ago
you'll see...

i am still trying to wrap my mind around how to attach the sucker after i make it.(re:

also, i am flattered i am THAT guy (re: mr. itonlysuckstilligetmyhandsonit)
miwo76 PRO 6 years ago
@ metropolicity

Interesting mod - I'm definitely going to give this a go when I get my O-flash ring delivered.

Couple of quick questions:

1. was it hard to remove the glue/resin holding the clear plastic to the frame?

2. I was thinking of the foil tape route, but instead of lining the whole ring, did you consider just lining the bottom half? I was brainstorming of ways to produce a more even light around the ring and I like your suggestion of foil behind the cardboard name plate and trimming away the excess cardboard in the "arms" - did you happen to try that at all? I suspect I'd increase efficiency from the "factory" model but not to the same extent as your mod, but hopefully produce a more even lighting effect.

Thanks for posting your mod - it's been a great help and an excuse to use up some of my gaffer's tape!
miwo76 PRO 6 years ago
Followup after receiving my O-Flash from China...

1. Not that hard to take the thin plastic cover out...just used a quarter to seperate the thin plastic lens cover from the glue to the black frame at the bottom. Did have to use a screw driver to remove the flash head mount to make removing the thick, heavy plastic resin part easier.

2. Used foil tape and line the whole of the inner black frame, cut out cardboard and lined it with foil tape.

3. Put everything back together (here's a tip: if you want to reinsert the thin plastic lens cover, start from the bottom of the circle and work your way up to the straight tab.

4. Gaffer taped light leaks

5. Did some testing and found that this foil tape mod recovers about 3 to 3 1/2 stops of light making the loss of light roughly equivalent to the Orbis but 2 stops worse than the Rayflash.

Not bad for $35 CDN and 50 cents of foil tape.
metropolicity PRO 6 years ago

it's a shiny $35 turd :)
I ordered mine off ebay. The picture on the site was the same design as metropolicity, however, the one I received was a 'true' O shaped flash ring. Perhaps they've changed?
metropolicity PRO 5 years ago

I wish I had that one, can you send me the ebay link?
vvaj Posted 5 years ago. Edited by vvaj (member) 5 years ago
travelswithmyt4 5 years ago
Anymore info on this? After a strobist seminar I'm really interested in getting somethign for on-axis fill but I've spent far too much recently on other things...
Is the cheap alternative a goer or is it a wait until I can afford an Orbis?
sdowen PRO 5 years ago
I've been playing around with one I bought. I'm new to this type of photography, so I have nothing to compare it to. Anyway, I took mine apart and used some double-sided sticky tape to adhere foil to the back of the cardboard insert. That improved the light output considerably. I think some more minor work might improve the circular consistency (now it throws mostly out the sides).

My biggest concern is the fact that it's kind of heavy (it's a solid plastic light-pipe), so hanging all of that weight off of my Canon 580EX without additional support doesn't seem like such a good idea.



Anyway, given that it was under $40 it seems like a pretty good value and something fun to play with. That said, I'll probably build my own out of cardboard just to see how it goes.

-hubert 5 years ago
I bought Orbis ring flash. geez... completely not worth my $200. I would be willing to pay for it upto maybe $70 but not $200. Yeah I know I am a cheapass
-hubert 5 years ago
Might buy one of these knock off ones though. Seems like I can try my luck.
Ian_Hay PRO 5 years ago
Old thread, I know, but let me say this:

I generally agree with David's distaste for knockoffs, and I'm aware that (currently) he's using the Orbis as his go-to fill light.

However, my experience with the Orbis (real one, not a knockoff), coupled with careful experimentation and measuring, is that the Orbis cuts six (6) stops of light, consistently, every time.

So while I generally don't have sympathy for folks complaining about the results they get with cheap knockoffs, given that the OP's knockoff and the Orbis (at least mine) both lose an equal six stops of light, and given the price of the Orbis, I can't say that the Orbis is a better deal here.
Pixtiva 5 years ago
It's a tossup between effect, and quantity of light.

I'd like to make something a foot or so wide, with a eight flashes around the circumference, firing and reflecting off the middle. Make four of them hard-wired full-power, whatever you can find... Then add four YN-560s to adjust with...

For instance... if one flash at full manual (assuming your 6-stop munch) will give you F2.8, then two is 3.5, right? Four will go up to 4.5? Then add four 560s (which would probably be more powerful, but hey... and that'd get us to 5.6... Which is doable...

Or hmmmm... Load four of the socket strobes around the outside, then add adjustment flashes... They usually say those suckers are GN90 or so, right?
-hubert 5 years ago
@ Ian

Indeed. Though, I was expecting to have loss of light, but not that much. than again with ring flash you work pretty close anyway. Very good point if both the knock off and Orbis lose pretty much equal stops of light, getting one of the knock offs wouldn't be bad if only using it for fill light.
Sean McCormack 5 years ago
I bought the O-Flash ages ago. Should try those mods, because, yep, it's a hunk of crap. Modding it would only lose me time, which I have more than enough of currently sitting around trying to heal up...
tomcahill 5 years ago
I was super close to buying one off Kijiji. Then I googled it and found a supplier in China where I could buy 20 for like $14 each. I thought I would order a case, keep one, sell the rest.

Then I found this thread! PHEW!!! That just saved me a bunch of time and grief.
lima pereira 5 years ago
I've bought this ring flash from ebay this week.
It's what I was expecting, not the big last new thing, but considering it's just for macro proposes, I think it's very suitable.

I've made some changes, from the design (form of light), and also to fix that light split from top and border lines.
Here's how it looks like before and after:


Here's how:

BMPHOTO| 5 years ago
I have it as well, it's absolute garbage. Doesn't really do ANYTHING unless I'm using it for macro.
Sebastian Bober Posted 5 years ago. Edited by Sebastian Bober (member) 5 years ago
Hi guys,

I was thinking about buying this one and mod it as some users here did.
But: do you know if we can get the round version in UK?
like this one here ?
Csheemoney 5 years ago
useless piece of crap !
Sebastian Bober 5 years ago
Guys, do you think it is worth to buy it and apply the mod?

Still struggling to decide...
metropolicity PRO 5 years ago
I just used mine again at a wedding reception photobooth. At 1/4 power, 3 ft away, i got some nice light.
Ⓢteve Ⓟhilips 5 years ago
Anyone have trouble with redeye with these things?? , I bought a second hand one off ebay, its the Coco rayflash ripoff that they sell on Amazon, tho why Rayflash hasnt put a stop to them I dont know, (yeah I know DH, and i did read what you posted, but the genuine item was cost prohibative, I just wanted one to play with) again a lot of light leakage which was cured with black electrical tape.
I wouldnt say piece of crap tho, cause used as on axis fill in the same way as DH uses his, you can achieve some lovely light.
nikon keith 5 years ago
splash the cash and get an Orbis the real deal
piotr.g [deleted] Posted 5 years ago. Edited by piotr.g (member) 5 years ago
@ metropolicity

Thanks for the tips! I did some light meter readings and I lose between 2.5-3 stops of light. Not too shabby for the price. And I get no ugly colour casts after the mod.

@ Brent M

Well if you're using it for Macro Photography it's not absolute garbage is it?

@ csheemoney

Useless piece of crap comment.

@ nikon keith

As tested by Ian Hay, the "real deal" loses the same amount of light... so how would it be better to splash the cash? Unless you promote Orbis of course :p
 piotr.g: I had chance to play with an Orbis at the weekend (I have a cheap 'O-flash').

the Orbis is *far* more robust, but not much heavier (OK, I didn't weigh them, but in use, with a D300s, SB900, 28-70 f/2.8, the Orbis or the O-flash were irrelevant to the overall weight)

The Orbis has a far broader ring, giving far softer light. The Orbis is *much* more even - the O-flash has a very bright top (with a gap in it) and gets increasingly dim around the ring - the Orbis was much more even.

After a completely non-scientific play with both, I'd conclude that the Orbis is better but for two (significant) factors:
- Price (but you *are* getting what you pay for - if you want even light, then the O-flash is £30 wasted. If you want something robust that will hold up to regular use, the Orbis feels like it would)
- Diameter of lens hole... This was a big problem for me. The Orbis wouldn't fit round my Sigma 70-200 f/2.8, but the O-flash does. The Orbis wouldn't fit round my Sigma 28-70 f/2.8 unless I removed the hood, which isn't ideal as with multiple lights, flare could be an issue...

If the Orbis lens hole was, say, 1/2" larger, I'd be seriously considering one. As it is, I'll live with my very compromised (but very cheap!) O-flash
piotr.g [deleted] Posted 5 years ago. Edited by piotr.g (member) 5 years ago
@ NosamLuap

All very valid points. I am not trying to belittle Orbis, I'm just saying that to someone who is budget concious, the O-Flash will more than suffice and is not as bad some some people are saying (after modding of course).

Also I forgot to mention that I have the O-Flash from this link:


It emits much more even light than the one the OP posted.

You also have to remember about the Orbis mounting. You either have to hand hold it, which is not ideal, or you have you buy the optional bracket. Which again costs more and it attaches below your camera.
 piotr.g: "I'm just saying that to someone who is budget concious, the O-Flash will more than suffice and is not as bad some some people are saying (after modding of course)."

I totally agree with that - mine is still very useful, as long as you're aware of the limitations.

(though I have the one the OP posted about, with the 'split' in it - yours looks more like the RayFlash with a complete 'ring'...)

And as for the holding/attached argument - I'm in two minds. With my O-flash attached, it's cumbersome to put the camera down (to adjust other lights etc). with the Orbis, you just lay them both down separately. I use AF 99% of the time, so didn't find holding it in my left hand too much of a chore, but with the benefit I could very quickly move it if I wanted to use it as just a soft light off camera - tricky to do that with the 'mounted' ones like O-Flash/RayFlash etc... but each have their benefits...
Fuji_S5 5 years ago
Just bought one off ebay for $26, gonna try the mod mentioned to increase the output. If all fails then I will buy the more expensive ring flash.
nikon keith 5 years ago
save up your £$£$£$ and get an Orbis
Fuji_S5 5 years ago
Was going to keith, but for $26, it would cost me that much just to drive to the camera store downtown and back.
-nickon- PRO Posted 5 years ago. Edited by -nickon- (member) 5 years ago
I like my O-Flash.

stylin by -nickon-

I use it often.

floortrait by -nickon-

It works well enough to produce the effect I want.

Seriously, it's more than good for $26.

rapunzel by -nickon-

I think I even paid $40 for mine.

prep by -nickon-

If it were to break, I'd buy another one.
Fuji_S5 5 years ago
I enjoy the tips in this thread, but how do u remove the clear plastic part from the unit?
☣ cUKi 4 years ago
I've just bought one for 10 pounds on Ebay. If it's not good enough, I'll line it with alu tape - and I'll probably still end up with a better looking, sturdier and cheaper choice than the bizarre cardboard pizza box thing currently presented on Strobist. When I'll get it I'll post my impressions.
Chris_H. 4 years ago
I've had one for almost a year now (the Ebay knock-off), don't use it very much (still deciding if I like the look).

I lined mine with aluminum tape as well, but it's worth adding some thin paper (I used layout paper) around the top of the ring where the flash head points in to help diffuse it. I did mine about 1/3 the way around the top of the ring and it helps to even the light out so it's not hotter at the top than the bottom.

Duke Ring Flash
Langleyt Posted 4 years ago. Edited by Langleyt (member) 4 years ago
cUKi mind sharing the link to the ebay? if it's a tenner thats not bad!
☣ cUKi Posted 4 years ago. Edited by ☣ cUKi (member) 4 years ago
Sorry, it was an auction. And with the postage it was in fact £13. You can easily find them for £19.50 with free postage, so it's not that much of a difference.

I was reluctant to ever buy such a device, now I can't wait to try it - but that's what happens with all the gear I get. It's a shame that no one has bothered making a side-by-side comparison of all the cheap and expensive versions out there (there are a few cheap models to choose from as well, and they can't be all the same).
☣ cUKi Posted 4 years ago. Edited by ☣ cUKi (member) 4 years ago
Chris_H. said:
I lined mine with aluminum tape as well, but it's worth adding some thin paper (I used layout paper) around the top of the ring where the flash head points in to help diffuse it.
If it benefits from diffusion, then why not leave the white cardboard as it is? Or that cardboard is not even white on the inside? I think a white paper reflector absorbs less light than a translucent paper diffuser, and diffuses the light even better.
Chris_H. 4 years ago
Sorry should have specified that I put the paper on the clear plastic part (inside) not on top of the aluminum tape. So the bottom and sides of the ring are all reflective but the clear ring on top is 1/3 covered with paper at the top. If I get a chance I'll take a photo of it.
☣ cUKi 4 years ago
Ah OK, so the paper actually acts as an ND filter to balance the upper and lower parts of the ring. That makes lots of sense.
☣ cUKi Posted 4 years ago. Edited by ☣ cUKi (member) 4 years ago
OK, I've received the O-Flash. Its build quality is better than that of the dollar store plastic toys. I tried it, the light was rubbish, so I modded it.

What I wasn't aware from other reviewers is that the plastic case contains a pretty solid, transparent acrylic light guide. I expected to find only some flimsy cardboard reflectors, and this was a nice surprise. That thick cast acrylic piece is what makes the adapter heavier than it looks. Since there's no much point in chasing the light after it escapes a light guide, I've alu taped the edges and all around the input area of the light guide itself, not the black case. I left the original cardboard mirror in place, but it doesn't make much difference. Even with the tape in place, the adapter still loses a lot of light - I think most of the light is lost before entering the light guide, because the light guide itself doesn't spill much light inside the case (I've checked it all around with a hot light). I've followed Chris_H.'s advice and balanced the output by adding a paper mask (I used normal printer paper, covering only the top half of the light guide. That adds a bit to the light loss, but the light is pretty uniform now. For use as a shadowless fill on a E-TTL commander flash at 2-3m meters range I think it's adequate. Not bad for what I spent on it - I'm happy I got it cheaper, but I'd still buy one for £20 without much regret.
 : Since there's no much point in chasing the light after it escapes a light guide, I've alu taped the edges and all around the input area of the light guide itself, not the black case

Ohh - neat idea! I may re-modify mine like you suggest here....
☣ cUKi Posted 4 years ago. Edited by ☣ cUKi (member) 4 years ago
I've taken a look through this, on p.3 it says that with an external source, typically less than 10% of the light flux can be captured in a light guide. If you add another stop and a half from losing the zoom, you can pretty much account for the 6 stops reported missing. I wonder if anything can be done to improve this kind of gadget's performance (adding a Fresnel lens to the input, cutting larger facets in the lower half of the circle in order to spit out more light from there - I noticed that only the crests of the lower facets get lit). I don't think I'll use much this modifier, but it's better to have one - for the right price - than wish for one (is it?).

I'd rather not
travelswithmyt4 4 years ago
Does anybody have any experience of the 'updated' 0-flash? annoyingly I ordered it from an ebay seller who after dispatching the o-flash has informed me he's run out of the new version (better build, complete ring) so he just sent the old one instead! uk/4.jpg

Does anybody know where to get this newer version? I can't finid it elsewhere (I'm uk based).
☣ cUKi Posted 4 years ago. Edited by ☣ cUKi (member) 4 years ago
You should insist on either sending it back on seller's expense, or keeping the item for a substantial (up to 50%) discount on the price. The feedback you leave should also reflect this. That's how I always respond to this kind of manoeuvres.

Regarding the difference between the two - the round one looks like a Rayflash clone, but I'm not sure if that's something to be ecstatic about. I mean, the main drawbacks of these kind of devices are their bulk, their uneven light distribution and their horribly low efficiency. I'm not sure that the Rayflash - or the Orbis, for that matter - perform any better on the latter issues, and they certainly don't on the former. You also trade the focus assist benefit of the O-thing for the completely circular catchlight.
travelswithmyt4 4 years ago
The 3am responses to email and poor english suggests their dispatched from the UK mightn't be all that honest either!

I'd go for the Orbis if I had the cash, unfortunately, currently I don't!
daytraitors 4 years ago
If your seller sent you an item you didn't order, either your CC Company, Paypal, or eBay will give you your money back + Shipping. I hope you didn't wire the funds.
peepboon 4 years ago
wow, with a bit of DIY, the o-ring flash is really good! Power increase is crazy! Go get one!
 peepboon: wow, with a bit of DIY, the o-ring flash is really good! Power increase is crazy! Go get one!

It'd be handy if you specified *what* DIY you did, and qualified the 'crazy' power increase with some shots/measurements! ;o)
peepboon Posted 4 years ago. Edited by peepboon (member) 4 years ago
I did the DIY listed above. Power increase is crazy cause it just is. BAWS.

Also, I don't do measurements... I like to go by the eye...
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