Continuously circular xenon ring flash, cheap and slender for m4/3

zzffnn

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Please kindly recommend me a cheap (manual), slender, continuously circular ring (xenon) flash light for cymatic photography (similar to what this photographer did: Cymatics).

No TTL / bracketing / diffusion / polarizer is needed; old manual flash is totally fine, as long as it fires on my E--M1 mk1. Don't need a lot of power, as it is a macro application. The ring flash is only used for cymatic photography, so I need it cheap.

Yongnuo YN-14EX is cheap and otherwise fits, but its flash tube is not a continuous circle.

A slender continuously circular flash tube of about 5mm wide is best, according to a cymatic expert. I can always put slit on flash tube to narrow it down, if necessary.

OM T8 or T10 as adapted by @Bytesmiths may work, though I am not sure it is within my budget (I did send him a message from his web site).

I tried a cheap Neewer LED ring light, which worked quite reasonably and produced the images attached herein, but is not powerful or fast enough.

Thank you in advance.

A xenon flash ring would provide me faster motion stopping and deeper focus depth (from smaller f stop).

The following is an example of what the cheap Neewer LED ring light produced in flash mode. Colors were obtained using flash gels over LEDs.
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The following image came from a totally wrong cymatic rig (speaker was too small, membrane was too stiff, water reservoir was too big and walls were too flexible and exposures were way off), but it shows the effect.
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I did try 4 portable speedlites, either fired remotely from sides or taped to lens mouth (which got quite heavy), but they did not work well. Light sources for this application has to shine almost perpendicularly onto subject (water) surface. Light source also should be small / slender and NOT diffused.
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zzffnn

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Godox ML 150, which seems to be a universal xenon manual flash, seems to be a good option at $62 shipped.

B&H said it uses two halves that covers about 85% of a complete circle. Hmmm....... It may be good enough.
 

eteless

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I have an older flash, the Sunpak DX-8R, which may be suitable; however I'm not really familiar with this type of photography so I can't say for certain.

It has a small plastic protrusion where the cable connects, so the reflection wouldn't be completely uniform in thickness without an additional aperture to shape it further... but it is a full circle (which seems to be the important part).

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Mind the dust and dog hair...

This is the original case, with step up rings / adapters for 49/55/58mm (for m4/3 lenses a smaller step up ring would probably be required - I've only really used it with OM lenses).
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A quick search on Ebay show a few available, although I have no idea if the prices are reasonable or not.

Compatibility wise mine is functional on an E-M1 Mk1 in full manual, however this model of flash has a detatchable foot and adapters to suit different brands and I can't say for certain that all of them would work (I have a 'dumb' foot and an Olympus OM foot, which both function in a fully manual manner).
 

zzffnn

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Thank you, @eteless. Would you like to sell me your Sunpak DX-8R? If so, please private message me for payment details.

Your Sunpak looks like it would probably work better than Godox ML 150 (the Godox does NOT provide a full circle of light).

How wide is your ring across? The Godox is 103mm across (which is the exact same size as my LED ring light that worked in my experiment; much wider that did NOT work well). Your Sunpak looks smaller, which I would also prefer (I know smaller and continuous light circle will work better).
.
 

zzffnn

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Also, does anyone know an easy way to do a circular crop of those two photos of mine? I don't have Photoshop or Lightroom though (I use FastStone Imager and Paint).

I can modify the container and background to make them all appear black. But it is good to learn a new trip.
 

eteless

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Thank you, @eteless. Would you like to sell me your Sunpak DX-8R? If so, please private message me for payment details.
Naw, I was just suggesting it as an option, as I have one that suits my needs and a quick ebay search seemed to suggest that they're available and not too expensive :)

Your Sunpak looks like it would probably work better than Godox ML 150 (the Godox does NOT provide a full circle of light).

How wide is your ring across? The Godox is 103mm across (which is the exact same size as my LED ring light that worked in my experiment; much wider that did NOT work well). Your Sunpak looks smaller, which I would also prefer (I know smaller and continuous light circle will work better).
It's 90mm across the outside, with a roughly 50-58mm inner diameter (there's a black plastic ring inside the ring flash, which is about 4mm thick, the edge of the light emitting area is 58mm diameter), and extends about 25mm from the front of a lens (it's 23mm deep, the adapter ring to fit the filter thread adds a little bit).

I forgot to mention something else, one of the things in the case is an optional lens hood of sorts, it fits inside the ring flash so that the front element of the lens cannot be directly lit by the ring flash.
 

zzffnn

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Thank you, @eteless. So those eBay Sunpak DX-8R that say "for Canon" may or may not work, correct? The 3 cheap eBay ones are all "for Canon" and cannot be returned.

Is there anything that would prevent a self-powered flash from being fired by a third-party camera's hotshoe?

I know it is hard to say with camera -powered speedlites (that are not self-powered by batteries): Untile recently, I had mistakenly thought that speedlites can all be used across different brands of cameras (I thought cameras can fire all flashes at manual power setting), as long as I don't need TTL or other fancy features.

It turned out I was totally wrong. I found that Olympus' own FL-M3 that was supplied with E-M5 mk2, cannot be fired by my E-M1 mk1 at all (it requires an extra pin that E-M1 mk1 does not provide to obtain power, since it is not self-powered). Even though my E-M10 mk2 fires the FL-M3 just fine (not surprisingly, as E-M1 mk1 is an older model).

Regarding the optional lens hood, I am already using one for this and other applications, so it does not really matter to me. Thank you!
 
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OM T8 or T10 as adapted by
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@Bytesmiths may work, though I am not sure it is within my budget (I did send him a message from his web site).
I think I answered you. But you're right that it might not fit in your budget.

The nice thing about the T-10 is that you could use it with Olympus's circular polarizer. I know water polarizes light, so you might get some interesting effects that way

A budget way of finding out would be to buy some polarizing film. Then you can separately polarize your light source and your lens.

The T-8 will give you super low-contrast lighting, which might not be what you need.
 

zzffnn

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Thank you @Bytesmiths.

I just double-checked my email and junk box, but did not see your reply. Thank you for your reply here though!
 

barry13

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Thank you,
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@eteless. So those eBay Sunpak DX-8R that say "for Canon" may or may not work, correct? The 3 cheap eBay ones are all "for Canon" and cannot be returned.
Hi, Canon and Oly have the same pins and positions, and Canon cables can be used on Oly cameras and flashes.
TTL won't work, but basic functionality is fine as long as it's a modern, low-trigger-voltage flash.
 

zzffnn

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Hi, Canon and Oly have the same pins and positions, and Canon cables can be used on Oly cameras and flashes.
TTL won't work, but basic functionality is fine as long as it's a modern, low-trigger-voltage flash.
Thank you very much, Barry.

Do you know if Nikon and Oly have the same pins and positions?

The cheapest Sunpak one eBay says"for Nikon F-3 series cameras" on the photo, even though listing mistakenly said it is for Canon. Sorry for the confusion.
 

zzffnn

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Pin layouts (but note that "trigger" does not always mean positive):
compatibility of older, flashes with D3

Safe trigger voltage:
Checking trigger voltage | DPanswers

Sunpak may use 6v, but literature is very limited: Flash: Sunpak DX-8R | DPanswers

Canon flash on OM-D?

I could not find maximum trigger voltage for my E-M1 mk1. Some say 24v.

Also uncertain about polarity and other pins (tape does not always work). So I will play it safe and get the new Godox. Good to learn these though. Thank you everyone!
 
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zzffnn

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I have a Jessops ring flash that is available used under other brands, it comes in under the safe voltage range and can be had for less than a tenner (UK Pound) model Centon MR20, RingFlash Resource » Centon MR20 Ringflash review , It works ok but on some lenses it is too heavy for the motor.
Thank you!

That flash seems to use a flash sync cable with 2.5mm sync socket. I don't know how to use it n my E-M1 mk1. Do I need a hotshoe to 2.5mm socket adapter cable?

Is its trigger polarity ok with E-M1 mk1? What is "the safe voltage range" for E-M1 mk1?
 

eteless

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Pin layouts (but note that "trigger" does not always mean positive):
compatibility of older, flashes with D3

Safe trigger voltage:
Checking trigger voltage | DPanswers

Sunpak may use 6v, but literature is very limited: Flash: Sunpak DX-8R | DPanswers

Canon flash on OM-D?

I could not find maximum trigger voltage for my E-M1 mk1. Some say 24v.

Also uncertain about polarity and other pins (tape does not always work). So I will play it safe and get the new Godox. Good to learn these though. Thank you everyone!
I just measured my Sunpak DX8R trigger voltage and it was 6.7v, in any case the EM1 mk1 was rated to 250v iirc.
 

zzffnn

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I just measured my Sunpak DX8R trigger voltage and it was 6.7v, in any case the EM1 mk1 was rated to 250v iirc.
You are too kind. Thank you very much!

Yes, I saw 250v being mentioned for E-M1 one time.

I am leaning towards getting the new Godox just to be safe though. Paying $25 more for the new Godox for convenience and peace of mind seems a better choice, in my humble opinion, since I could not find your Olympus version of Sunpak at good price.

Sunpak made so many different versions for DX-8R. Some models may have reversed polarity (maybe Nikon vs. Canon), which might hurt camera even at very low voltage.
 

zzffnn

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Fair enough.
I would prefer your Olympus version of the Sunpak, if I can find one at around $60. I just worry about version difference in voltage and polarity.

For example, this one says "for all regular camera": Sunpak Auto Thyristor DX-8R 49mm Ring Light Macro Flash Set - Excellent Cond. 4960436001674 | eBay

This one says for Canon (so pin and polarity would be fine, but voltage is not known, I will ask seller):
@ Ship in 24 Hours! @ Sunpak auto DX 8R Thyristor Ring Light Macro Flash Set 4960436001674 | eBay
 
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