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Light Fare: The "Jarvie Window"

from Strobist, 3/18/2010

Here's a new use for your ring flash.

Salt Lake City-based photographer Scott Jarvie made a unique set of portraits using a Ray Flash ring flash adapter and an 8mm fisheye lens.

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The Ray Flash can create a unique 'shadow-wrapped' look.
For more examples of images taken with the Ray Flash, please visit our Ray Flash Gallery.

I was in a function where there were more than 50 photographers carrying professional digital cameras, including Hassellblad, Nikon D3X, etc. When I put on my Ray Flash, I grabbed the attention of both the photographers and the models alike. Everyone seemed to recognize the Ray Flash but had yet to try it. After snapping some full length potraits on...

Chin Khi - Malaysia

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Ray Flash: The Ring Flash Adapter

Ray Flash

The award-winning original Ray Flash has been discontinued and replaced with the new Ray Flash 2 Universal Ring Flash Adapter featuring an adjustable mount and lower profile.

Visit the Ray Flash 2 product page.

2009 Hot One Award-Ray Flash
2008 Editor's Choice Award American Photo-Ray Flash

Ray Flash, Winner: 2009 Professional Photographer Magazine Hot One Award
“For photographers looking to take ring flash effects on the road, the Ray Flash emerges as this year’s top choice in the Light Modifier category.”

-Professional Photographer Magazine

Ray Flash, Winner: 2008 American Photo and Pop Photo Lighting Product of the Year

"A sophisticated, solidly-built adapter that slides over the front-facing head of a hotshoe-mount flash...this ingenious product gives photographs the crisp, electric look of a studio ring flash at a fraction of its cost."
-American Photo

What is the Ray Flash?

The Ray Flash (U.S. and international patents pending) is a unique adapter for your hot-shoe flash unit designed to replicate the lighting effect produced by traditional, expensive, and heavy powered studio ring light units.

The Ray Flash is portable and lightweight, and has been designed to take advantage of a camera’s TTL metering capabilities.  Because the Ray Flash relies on the hot-shoe flash to generate its light, it contains no electronics, no flash tubes and requires no cumbersome cables.  The light distribution is accomplished through a sophisticated system of internal light-shapers designed to distribute and project the light evenly around the lens.  

The Ray Flash creates the distinctive ring light effect:  a three-dimensional shadow-wrapped look around the subject.  Because ring flash light originates from a circle around the lens, it produces a virtually shadowless look on the front of your subject, while producing a soft even shadow around the edges. The versatile Ray Flash is ideally suited for fashion, wedding, portrait, journalist and macro photography as either a main or fill light.

Weighing just 13-14 oz, the Ray Flash is lightweight and is easily supported by hot-shoe mounted flash units. The 4 1/8” internal diameter of the Ray Flash is large enough to accept almost all professional lenses from Nikon & Canon. 

The Ray Flash is specifically designed for the Canon 580EX (I & II), Nikon SB800 and Nikon SB900 flash units.  However, existing Ray Flash models will also fit older Nikon flash units, including the SB24, SB26 and SB600, as well as selected flash units from Sony, Metz, Olympus, and Sigma.  For the full model range please see the chart at the bottom of the page.


To view more video tutorials, please visit our YouTube Channel

Ray Flash Before and After example:

The two images below were taken to demonstrate the lighting effect produced by the Ray Flash for close-up portraits.  The image on the left was taken using a bare flash.  The image on the right was taken using the Ray Flash.  The camera settings are the same.  Note the difference in the skin, shadow and specular highlights.

To view more images taken with the Ray Flash, please visit our Ray Flash Gallery

Exposure control:

The Ray Flash does not interfere with a camera's TTL functions.  In fact, one of the easiest techniques to use when shooting with the Ray Flash is to set the camera to Manual exposure (to control the ambient light), and to set the flash to TTL.  The images above were taken using this technique.  As with standard flash use, manual exposure control may require the use of a light meter or test-shots.

Light output: 

The light pattern produced by the Ray Flash can be seen in the diagram below.  How does this apply to you?  At a distance of 10 feet from a given background you can expect an even distribution of light approximately 8.5 feet wide.  This means the Ray Flash can easily handle small group shots at medium distances.

Photographers frequently ask how much light is lost, or consumed by the Ray Flash.  The Ray Flash was painstakingly designed to produce a balance between quality of light and power, the result being a design that efficiently transmits approximately 92% of your flash's output.  A direct comparison with bare flash is overly complicated because the concentration of light from a bare flash is dramatically affected by the flash's zoom setting, whereas the light pattern of the Ray Flash remains constant.

So what does 92% efficiency mean in terms of exposure?  We created the table below to illustrate the aperture and shutter speed a photographer can expect to use at a given distance.  For the sake of the test we assumed ISO 100 and that the flash is set to full power.

Please also note that the Ray Flash does not change your flash's color temperature.

Aperture Settings for Ray Flash by Shooting Distance:


 Flash Power
 Flash Sync  Distance f/stop Canon 580EXII f/stop Nikon SB800
 100  1/1  60  2'  22.6  16.5
 100  1/1  60  4'  11.1  11.2
 100  1/1  60  6'  8.0  5.6.8
 100  1/1  60  8'  5.6.6  4.9
 100  1/1  60  10'  4.5  4.2

How to fit the Ring Flash Adapter:

The Ray Flash was designed with convenience in mind.  What good is a ring light if it is too cumbersome to use?

The Ray Flash quickly attaches to a camera mounted hot shoe flash by sliding over the head of the flash.  Once in place, simply turn the lock screw on top of the Ray Flash to secure it in place.  This design allows the Ray Flash to hang suspended from the flash unit, thereby freeing your hands to comfortably hold and operate the camera and lens.

Because the Ray Flash was designed to fit specific camera and flash combinations, no modifications are required to attach the Ray Flash.  However, if you are using the Ray Flash with similarly sized flash units from other manufacturers (Sony, Olympus, Metz, etc.), then it may be necessary to use one of the included rubber fitting wedges to get a tight fit. 

Please note, the Ray Flash may not mount to a flash that has any materials stuck to it, such as Velcro.


Ray Flash Models:

The Ray Flash is specifically designed for the Canon 580EX (I & II), Nikon SB800, Nikon SB900 and Nikon SB910 flash units.   The Nikon SB26, SB28 and SB600 models are also compatible with the Ray Flash.  For more compatibility information, please visit our Ray Flash FAQ.  If you can't find your answer there, then please contact us

At the moment, there are no plans to introduce the Ray Flash for other makes and models of flash units, however, feedback from Ray Flash owners indicates that it is possible to use the Ray Flash with other brand flash units, including Sony, Metz, Olympus, Sigma and LumoPro.  Please visit our FAQ for futher information or contact us to determine if your make and model of flash unit will work with Ray Flash.  For the full model range please see the chart below.

 Model Code:  Fits Camera Models:
 RAN160  Nikon SB800 with D300/D200/D70/D80/D50/D40/D60/D90/D5000/D5100/D7000
 RAN170  Nikon SB800 with D1/D2/D3/D4/D700/D800
 RAN179  Nikon SB900 & SB910 with D300/D200/D70/D80/D50/D40/D60/D90/D5000/D5100/D7000
 RAN189  Nikon SB900 & SB910 with D1/D2/D3/D4/D700/D800
 RAC160  Canon 580EX with Digital Rebel series
 RAC170  Canon 580EX with 7D/5D (mk I & II)/60D/50D/40D/30D/20D/10D
 RAC175  Canon 580EX with 1D/1Ds/1V
 RAC160-2  Canon 580EX II with Digital Rebel series
 RAC170-2  Canon 580EX II with 7D/5D(mk I & II)/60D/50D/40D/30D/20D/10D
 RAC175-2  Canon 580EX II with 1D/1Ds/1V

Ray Flash Measurements/Specifications

 Model Number Ring Outer Diameter (in.)  Ring Inner Diameter (in.)
 Ring Center to Tube Center (in.)
Weight (oz.)
 RAN160   6.89  4.06  6.30 13.6
 RAN170   6.89  4.06  6.69 13.6
 RAN179   6.89  4.06  6.69 14.4
 RAN189   6.89  4.06  7.09 14.4
 RAC160   6.89  4.06  6.30 13.6
 RAC170   6.89  4.06  6.69 13.6
 RAC175   6.89  4.06  6.89 13.6
 RAC160-2   6.89  4.06   6.30  13.6
 RAC170-2   6.89  4.06  6.69 13.6
 RAC175-2   6.89  4.06  6.89 13.6

Where to Buy a Ray Flash:

ExpoImaging is the exclusive U.S. distributor for Ray Flash, and is available through select U.S. photo dealers (Where to Buy) or online through ExpoImaging (Buy Now Online)

Please e-mail us at ringflash@expoimaging.net with questions about the Ray Flash.


- Uses Canon/Nikon Hot Shoe Flash Unit
- Allows TTL metering
- Lightweight
- Portable