Phot­tix Aether Col­lapsi­ble Ring Flash Adapter

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Why fork out for a ded­i­cated ring flash when you could con­vert your ex­ist­ing flash­gun into the same thing? Well, that’s the think­ing be­hind this pop-up fab­ric con­trap­tion. The cat’s cra­dle of elas­tic cords in the cen­tre se­cures the ring to your lens sur­pris­ingly ef­fec­tively, while your flash fires through a por­tal at the top of the ring and is held in place with a strap.

While hardly the most el­e­gant set-up, it does work. The qual­ity of its il­lu­mi­na­tion is sub­lime, as it pro­duces a no­tice­ably softer light than any other prod­uct here, with shad­ows com­pletely elim­i­nated. But this soft­ness comes as a di­rect re­sult of the Aether’s huge 45cm di­am­e­ter, which makes it cum­ber­some when com­pos­ing macro shots. The de­sign also re­duces the flash out­put by three to four stops, though this isn’t a deal-breaker for close-ups.

When you’re fin­ished shoot­ing, the Aether folds flat, like a re­flec­tor, and is stowed in a more man­age­able 21cm pouch.

Pros Un­beat­able light soft­ness; well priced; packs down small

Cons Un­wieldy to use, es­pe­cially on a tri­pod; sig­nif­i­cant light loss

We say Beau­ti­ful macro light­ing, if you can work around its bulk

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