Review Neewer NW-14EXT Macro Ring Flash review

ChrisN

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I recently purchased the Neewer NW-14EXM Macro Ring Flash, and I thought I'd share my impressions for anyone interested in a ring flash for macro photography.

I purchased this flash mainly because it is cheap! I paid a bit under $55 for mine on Ebay. In the box are the flash inside a nice pouch/case, a manual, and a bunch of adapter rings for almost every lens except the O60 macro. It seems every size of lens thread except 46mm was accounted for. Fortunately, I have a 46-58 step-up ring which I use with no vignetting problems. The flash takes 4x AA batteries, and an external battery pack is available. There is also a PC sync port, as well as another port that I don't know what it is for.

There are two flashes, one on either side. You can set the power from 1/1 to 1/128 for the flashes independantly, or both simultaneously. There is also a ratio mode that will set the power ratio between the two sides, from 8:1 to 1:8. There are also two LEDs between the rings, one on top & one on the bottom. These can be activated by pushing a button on the flash to provide focusing assistance in dimly lit locations. They only stay on for 20 seconds, though, and turn off whenever the flash is fired. They did make auto-focusing faster, but having to press the button to turn them on each time is a pain. If they would not automatically turn off, they would be more helpful.

First impressions on the camera are that the flash is rather large, and sort of heavy with 4 AA batteries. I would not want to use it on an E-M10 or E-M5 body without a grip, though because of the weight. However, the batteries provide instant recharge at macro powers, and 4-5 second recharges at full power. This flash is almost too powerful for macro work. I set the flashes at around 1/32 & 1/128 power for normal macro working distances. It can keep up with full speed shooting on my E-M10 at that power, so it would be interesting to try for focus bracketing/stacking on bodies capable of those functions.

I really like this flash for macro work, and I wish I would have gotten it sooner.

Finally, some photos taken with the O60 macro and this flash:
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P5290372 by Chris Newswanger, on Flickr

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P5290321 by Chris Newswanger, on Flickr

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P5290307 by Chris Newswanger, on Flickr

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P5280243 by Chris Newswanger, on Flickr

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P5269972 by Chris Newswanger, on Flickr
 
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PakkyT

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Really nice shots, especially the little jumping spider. Your post once again proving with all photography that it is all about the light.
 
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ChrisN

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As requested, here is a photo of the flash mounted on my E-M10.
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wjiang

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As requested, here is a photo of the flash mounted on my E-M10. View attachment 125246

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That's not too bad as far as macro contraptions go, similar to sticking a normal full size flash on the hot shoe. Are you able to rotate the ring and use only one light panel to get a bit more controlled directionality in the light?
 

ChrisN

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That's not too bad as far as macro contraptions go, similar to sticking a normal full size flash on the hot shoe. Are you able to rotate the ring and use only one light panel to get a bit more controlled directionality in the light?
Yeah, it's basically a full size flash with the head chopped off. The actual flash portion clips in to an adapter ring that threads into the lens. It can freely rotate around the adapter, allowing easy reorientation of the flashes. One drawback is that there is no way to lock rotation, though, but it does rest in a vertical position.

The mode that allows individual flash power adjustments will also allow you to turn off the flash.

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ChrisN

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Trying to shop for one of these. The one sold for Canon is the one to get?
Sorry I just realized I have the wrong model number in my OP. I have the EXM version, which is full manual (no ttl). It's a bit cheaper than the ttl versions.

Edit: updated model in OP.

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rmcnelly

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Sorry I just realized I have the wrong model number in my OP. I have the EXM version, which is full manual (no ttl). It's a bit cheaper than the ttl versions.

Edit: updated model in OP.

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I have no experience with flash, will the ttl version make much difference for macro?
 

ChrisN

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I have no experience with flash, will the ttl version make much difference for macro?
No, ttl is manufacturer specific. It's basically automatic flash power adjusting. Since the only ttl version of this flash is Canon, it will not work on u4/3 cameras. You'd have to use the flash in manual mode, so I'd get the manual flash to save some $$.

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rmcnelly

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No, ttl is manufacturer specific. It's basically automatic flash power adjusting. Since the only ttl version of this flash is Canon, it will not work on u4/3 cameras. You'd have to use the flash in manual mode, so I'd get the manual flash to save some $$.

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Thanks, already ordered the manual version.
 

rmcnelly

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Got mine yesterday and am very happy with it.

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New macro ring flash as a birthday present to myself. by Rick McNelly, on Flickr

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New macro ring flash as a birthday present to myself. by Rick McNelly, on Flickr

First pics. Don't know why the shutter speed was so low, but the flash froze the moment.

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20160614-161739.jpg by Rick McNelly, on Flickr


Increased the iso to 800 and got a faster shutter speed.

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20160614-191053-Edit.jpg by Rick McNelly, on Flickr


Loved how the flash froze the action, this guy was moving quickly as he wrapped up his victim.

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20160614-191358-Edit.jpg by Rick McNelly, on Flickr
 

Ross the fiddler

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Mike Wingate

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Any updates to the Ring Flash topic. Are the units still working well giving acceptable results. Any tips from users?
 

zzffnn

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Thank you for sharing, gents.

Your nice photos suggest that those are real (fast) speedlight tubes, not (slow) LED ring. I did not read product description carefully when I saw that flash before and mistook it as a LED ring light.

Has anyone tried more diffusion and been able to reduce the ring reflection on eyeballs and shiny surfaces? Is power output still enough, with good amounts of diffusion?

I do realize that the flash's light direction cannot be angled (e.g., to 45 degrees). But it may be a compromise that I have to accept, to trade for more working distance and low cost.

Comparing lens tip with and without this ring flash, how many more millimeters does the ring flash protrude?

Thank you again and happy holidays!
 

Phocal

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Thank you for sharing, gents.

Your nice photos suggest that those are real (fast) speedlight tubes, not (slow) LED ring. I did not read product description carefully when I saw that flash before and mistook it as a LED ring light.

Has anyone tried more diffusion and been able to reduce the ring reflection on eyeballs and shiny surfaces? Is power output still enough, with good amounts of diffusion?

I do realize that the flash's light direction cannot be angled (e.g., to 45 degrees). But it may be a compromise that I have to accept, to trade for more working distance and low cost.

Comparing lens tip with and without this ring flash, how many more millimeters does the ring flash protrude?

Thank you again and happy holidays!
You just ordered the TT685, I would make a bracket to hold the flash and use that. Personally I have always found better results using a regular flash on a custom bracket. Just google "macro flash setups" and you will find 1000's of ideas for DiY setups using a regular hot shoe flash. Since your TT685 has the 2.4ghz wireless ability, just add the X1T for $40 and you will have no problems operating off camera.
 

zzffnn

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You just ordered the TT685, I would make a bracket to hold the flash and use that. Personally I have always found better results using a regular flash on a custom bracket. Just google "macro flash setups" and you will find 1000's of ideas for DiY setups using a regular hot shoe flash. Since your TT685 has the 2.4ghz wireless ability, just add the X1T for $40 and you will have no problems operating off camera.
^ Thank you.

Indeed I am currently using a full-sized speedlite Neewer TT680 + remote control + DIY diffusion on adjustable Magic Arm, pulsing light from about 45 degrees towards subject. For reflective and non-scaredy subjects, this rig works well.

The reason why I asked about well diffused ring light is that it saves working distance and may work better for scaredy nonreflective subjects. Ring light usually saves working distance, but sometimes produces a ring-like reflection. I wonder if using more diffusion would help; sometimes when diffusion is not placed close enough to the subject (to trade for working distance), it may not work well enough.
 
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