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