Review of the Marumi LED-8 Ring Light

Manufacturer: Marumi
Model: LED-8 Ring Light
Price: £65

Able to fit any compact camera with a standard tripod bush, the Marumi LED-8 Macro Ring Light provides a small ring of light for macro photography. It promises an even, shadowless illumination, without the halation issues usually associated with using flash close up to subjects.

Powered by three AAA batteries, the unit features eight LED lights arranged on a small plastic ring, which is attached to a base unit via a Gorillapod-style adjustable arm. The unit itself is fairly primitive, with just one control for adjusting intensity and a power switch, although a bush at its base allows it to be mounted on a tripod. Once screwed into a compact camera, a tripod ring stopper provides good stability, although with the arm extending from out of its base it can’t simply be rested on a surface, only mounted on top of a tripod.

In use, it’s fair to say the ring light is reasonably frustrating.

With an aperture of just 30mm in diameter, it’s unsuitable for mounting on a variety of compacts’ lenses, with vignetting a problem on wideangle optics. This makes it necessary to zoom in a touch in order for a clear shot, although its bulk can also obscure the AF assist lamp on certain models.

Furthermore, the ring itself is unable to be attached securely in any way, leaving it hovering in front of a lens and liable to being knocked out of place. This is a problem only worked around should you be fortunate enough to have a compact with a lens that’s just small enough to get through its opening and hold the ring snugly.

If you take the time to set it correctly, you can see that it is of some benefit and results can, at times, be pleasing.

Having to zoom into images to combat the vignetting problem, however, means that often by the time you get to a focal length you can use, its illumination drops to a point where it’s next to useless – which is a shame, because as an idea it’s pretty neat.

Good idea but problematic in practice

Capable of good results

Cheap plastic build, fiddly, expensive

What Digital Camera Score: 77%