Kaiser KR90 LED ring light review
Kaiser KR90 White LED ring light review
Battery operated ring light for close up and macro
Keith has been trying out the Kaiser KR90 battery operated ring light from Fotospeed in the UK.
It’s cordless and aimed at close-up photography where you need continuous flat ‘shadowless’ lighting.
It works as close as 3cm to the subject and comes with a set of adapter rings (52, 55, 58, 62, 67, 72 to 77mm) for fitting to the front of suitable lenses.
See also the smaller Kaiser R60 ring light Keith reviewed recently.
I use a mix of continuous and flash lighting for photographing smaller items, and even though I’ve had a Canon MT-24EX flash for a while, I’d never tried a true ring flash or LED lighting.
The KR90 gives a very wide field of illumination and if you turn the brightness up fully, very bright.
- Min. working distance: 3 cm (1.2 in.)
- Operating time: with fully charged battery and at full illumination: approx. 2 hours
(extendable by dimming down the light)
- 30 three-chip high performance LEDs
- Colour temperature: approx. 5500 K
~1850 lux @30cm
~675 lux @50cm
~170 lux @1m
- Coverage: 110° (half-value angle)
- Battery capacity: 1500 mAh
- Charge time ~2.5 hrs
- Operating voltage: 12V
- Tripod thread: 1/4“
- Dimensions: 142 x 34 mm (5.6 x 1.3 in.)
- Weight: 300 g (10.6 oz.)
Included: Ring Light, protective bag, adapter rings with 52-72 mm connection threads, 12 volt car charger cable, quick charger.
The light comes with filter thread adapters, so you can attach it directly to a lens.
58mm to 77mm
In this case it’s my TS-E90mm lens.
This is the original (non-macro) version of the TS-E90mm [review] so for close up work I’ll typically add an extension tube or two.
The interior of the unit is painted and grooved to reduce reflections.
It’s important to realise that whilst the light is diffuse you will still get reflections depending on distance.
The light has to reach the centre of the field of view meaning there is a minimum working distance.
You can see this where the light is lighting up the plastic the light is resting on.
Note the simple knob for adjusting light output.
The light has a 1/4″ standard tripod screw fitting
I’ve attached it to a small table-top stand.
Shiny objects will give distinctive reflections of the lighting.
It takes some practice in getting a feel for the lack of shadow and the degree to which light falls off at different distances.
Used with care, such flat light can emphasise more colour and tonal variation as opposed to textural detail. That said, you do need to take care with what reflections you do get. A photo of a glossy printed canvas was almost all reflected highlights. Viewing with a slight tilt removed reflections entirely, with almost no visible texture.
I’ve shot the images from a distance to give a feel for the lighting. If I was using a macro lens, you’d have very thin depth of field to deal with.
This is at about 0.3x (TS-E90 and extension tubes). [click to enlarge]
For image stacking, I’d attach the light to a support and step the lens back and forth through the aperture.
This depends on the size of your macro lens and working distance.
Colour and LEDs
I’ve not used LED lighting for a while and was quite prepared to need a fair bit of adjustment to compensate for colour rendition.
I photographed an X-Rite Colorchecker Passport [Passport review] and produced a quick DNG profile.
This animated GIF file shows the difference between as-shot and DNG corrected. The view is in Photoshop ACR – with and without correction.
I was genuinely surprised a how little hue shift there was (look at the greens).
It’s close enough that I didn’t bother with a second better exposed shot to make a profile with.
One area I’ve not really looked at is video, where the steady ‘shadowless’ light and good colour rendering makes shooting small items quick to set up.
This was shot with the Canon 5Ds and TS-E90mm with a 31mm extension tube. It’s the back of my old stopwatch.
Ok, not a stunning video, but you get the idea…
Using the KR90
The KR90 having built in batteries is great – it save a lot of hassle swapping batteries. However that assumes you have it charged and ready to go.
So, depending on your workflow, it becomes more or less of a benefit.
You can though use the light whilst the charger or car adapter is attached…
At over 300 grams, the flash is not heavy, but I’d not want to attach it to some cheaper lenses. If your lens filter ring rotates or moves with auto-focus, then I’d not attach any significant weight to it beyond a simple filter. The TS-E90 is a solid hefty metal lens, and even then you need to be careful moving it around with any weight attached.
A convenient light source that gives a different feel to photos compared to normal more directional lighting.
See also the smaller R60 ring light Keith reviewed recently.
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