New Gear

De­liv­ers con­tin­u­ous, at­trac­tive, su­per-soft light­ing at an equally at­trac­tive price

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All the lat­est good­ies, from a su­per­soft con­tin­u­ous ring light to stor­age op­tions

From por­traits to prod­uct shots, soft, shad­ow­less light­ing is usu­ally the most flat­ter­ing. Scout around in any pho­tog­ra­phy shop and you’ll be spoilt for choice with dif­fusers and soft­boxes that’ll take the edge off your flash­gun’s out­put, but a ring light can be a bet­ter bet. These en­cir­cle your Nikon’s lens to min­imise direc­tional shad­ows, and the HDR-300 has the ad­van­tage of be­ing a con­tin­u­ous ring light, so you can use it to shoot both stills and video.

The HDR-300’s max­i­mum bright­ness of 1950 Lux at a dis­tance of one me­tre trans­lates into enough oomph to ef­fec­tively illuminate a sub­ject from around three me­tres be­fore you’ll need to ramp up your Nikon’s sen­sor sen­si­tiv­ity. Three hun­dred in­di­vid­ual LEDs emit a beau­ti­ful 65-de­gree beam of 5600K day­light-bal­anced light that all but elim­i­nates un­sightly shad­ows. They’re all con­trolled by a sin­gle step­less dial, which also acts as the power switch.

When it comes to power you can use a mains in­put, or there’s a mount­ing plate for a Sony NP-F se­ries recharge­able Li-ion bat­tery pack. The snag is that nei­ther the bat­tery it­self nor a mains adap­tor is in­cluded, though bat­tery and charger kits can be had for less than £20/$30 if you shop around.

F&V does throw in a cou­ple of mag­netic fil­ters which at­tach to the light in­stantly to cre­ate a dif­fused or tung­sten-bal­anced look, plus you get a metal bracket to con­nect the light to your Nikon. This works a treat and makes the setup eas­ily por­ta­ble, al­though if you’d pre­fer to fix ev­ery­thing to a tri­pod or light stand the bracket has mount­ing points for both.

You can ad­just the light’s fit­tings to ac­com­mo­date var­i­ous cam­era and lens sizes, but go for a beefy bat­tery and there won’t be much space be­tween it and your Nikon’s hand grip. Still, se­lect­ing a slightly smaller power pack solves this and you should still get up to 90 min­utes of light per charge. This ex­tra ex­pense isn’t ideal, but the HDR-300 is still great value, es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing a ring light flash­gun mod­i­fier can cost al­most as much.

The light fits around your lens, and gives con­stant, di­rec­tion­less il­lu­mi­na­tion

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