GIM 19″ inch adjustable 48W ring light review

REVIEW – If you have ever taken headshot photos for someone or even turned the camera on yourself for your own self portrait, then you know that proper lighting makes the resulting pictures look so much better. Let’s face it, photography needs light and having a well illuminated and pleasing light source is a major factor in helping you achieve great pictures. So, whether you are shooting photos or shooting video, proper light not only improves the look of the scene but also gives the image a more professional feel and production value. With this 19″ inch Adjustable 48Watt Ring Light from GIM (Global Intelligent Manufacturers), it can help improve the photos you take and make your selfies look their best.

What is it?

This 19″ inch ring light made from ABS plastic material is a circular lighting apparatus with LED lights that help evenly distribute light onto a subject while eliminating shadows. This type of lighting is common with portrait photography, product photography, macro photography, as well as used for video production and vlogging.

This ring light also creates that interesting catch light in a person’s eye during the shoot, as well as gives a more appealing look to the overall scene.

What’s in the box?

  • 19″ in. LED ring light
  • Light stand
  • 2 Phone holders
  • Metal flexible arm for phone mount
  • Plastic light stand mount for phone holder
  • Ball head
  • Bluetooth Remote for smartphones
  • Manual
  • 1/4″ Screw Coupler
  • AC Power Adapter
  • Carrying Bag (shown below)

Hardware specs

Ring Light- 19″ inch diameter.

Stand- 19″ 1/4 in.  Folded / 3ft (36 inches) Lowest setting / 6ft 7 in”(79 inches) Fully extended

1/4″ Ball head for 1/4′ camera screw

7″ in metal flexible arm

Design and features

This ring light actually worked a whole lot better than I expected. I have a small ring light that screws onto the front of my camera lens but doesn’t produce as much distributed light as I would like. So, naturally, I expected this ring light to be the same; just a bigger version. Boy, was I wrong. This ring light performed much better than I had anticipated. It gave off a nice even distribution of light which produced little to no shadows.

I really enjoyed the circle, or ring, of ambient light that enveloped my camera, and smartphone, that I used in testing this ring light. Having the light around the camera lenses really gives a nice evenly produced illumination on the person or subject you are photographing. This makes the subject more appealing because there are no unflattering harsh shadows. If you want to have more shadows for depth in your subject then you can just angle the ring light more to one side or the other. Or even better, you can place the ring light below your subject or high above to get some really moody and interesting lighting.

With the smooth and even illumination that this light gives off, it is even ideal for applying makeup. You can either use it for yourself or it can assist a makeup artist who is applying makeup onto someone. Either way, the ring light seems to work for this type of use and setting.

Although a manual is included with the ring light, it was very apparent in operating this ring light. You will notice the two dials on the back of the ring light. One is for the Brightness and the other is for Temperature. You can turn the dial to the right for more blue light for a cooler light temperature and turn the dial to the left for a more orange light for a warmer scene. I was happy with the light’s temperature output because there were variable settings going from cooler to warmer tones. The Brightness dial is dimmable with a 48W output power.

With this color temperature dial, I was able to get a decent color temperature that I was happy with while taking pictures. This ring light consists of 528 SMD (surface mounted diode) LED white and yellow beads. The color temperature ranges from 3200K to 6500K.  And since these are LED lights, you won’t have any heat radiating off as you would with some other photography lights. For instance, halogens lights can be nice and bright, however, they generally produce so much heat. The heat it produces can be uncomfortable and overbearing for your model especially if they have to be in front of the light for long periods of time.

What’s nice about this ring light is that it is portable and lightweight. It’s easy to move it around and place it where you need it. However, keep in mind that it is very light. Light in weight to be exact. Even when mounted onto the light stand. For this reason, it is wise to keep some kind of weight on it like a small sandbag or anything that can wrap around the bottom of the light stand to make it more stable. I have some old ankle weights that I bought at the thrift store a while ago for a couple of bucks that I use for my light stands. They are perfect to help prevent my light stands from tipping over. Plus, they were dirt cheap.

One thing about this ring light is that you don’t have to just have it pointed straight ahead at a 90° angle. You can adjust the ring light in several positions such as a 45° angle or even straight down. This gives off a nice lighting effect when you place the light high above your subject. This way the ring light can create shadows for a more dramatic and dynamic effect.

Here’s a picture I took during a photoshoot of my friend Aych, a well-respected hip-hop artist and entrepreneur in the Tampa Bay area. The pictures taken with the ring light looked great but I also really liked the way the candid picture turned out as well.

Keep in mind though, that the neck on the ring light seems rather flimsy to me. I was very careful every time I repositioned the ring light for angled shots. I felt uneasy if I had to quickly move the ring light and stand. I could feel the neck of the ring light bounce and wobble when I moved it. When you do move this ring light, make sure to hold the ring light itself in one hand so you don’t risk snapping or breaking the ring light neck if you were to carry it just by the stand.  Maybe they can make a newer model with a much sturdier neck then maybe that would help prevent the flexing and wobbling. I just feel that if you move the ring light too fast, too hard, or the wrong way, then chances are you may snap it.

This is something to really consider when you are attaching a DSLR camera onto the light stand. During this time, you will be using the included ball head in place of the phone mounts to attach the DSLR camera onto the light ring. However, I recommend a lightweight or smaller DSLR camera since the light ring’s neck isn’t so sturdy. I would not feel confident in placing a heavy DSLR camera on the ball head. If the DSLR camera is a smaller mirrorless camera such as a Sony A7 or Panasonic GH5 then I would feel more at ease of the light ring supporting the weight of the camera. I definitely wouldn’t recommend a DSLR camera with a battery grip since I tried with my Canon 5D Mark3 and I didn’t feel comfortable walking away from the camera and light ring.

So, just be gentle with this ring light when moving it around and keep in mind the size and weight of the DSLR camera you want to use with it.

And speaking of moving around, it is quite convenient that the ring light is portable. The legs fold up, the ring light detaches from the stand, and you can unplug the power plug from the ring light. You can then slip the ring light, power plug, and phone mounts into the included carrying case. Unfortunately, the light stand does not fit into the case with everything else in it, even when the stand is folded up.

Although you will just have to carry the folded legs separately, having the carrying bag is a nice addition and is a tremendous help when used. The bag is also handy when you want to store the ring light away which helps keep the ring light protected when not in use.

Aside from the questionable flimsy neck of the ring light, I really like everything about this ring light. I do, however, would love it if this ring light had a rechargeable battery in addition to the plug-in wall adapter.  Having a rechargeable battery would have made this ring light more versatile in interesting places that you couldn’t plug the power adapter into such as on the beach or in the woods.

Setup

To set up the light ring, just open the legs on the stand so that the stand is stable. On the top of each leg is a tab that you can pull and push to lock the legs in position. Next, you’ll want to place the light ring on the light stand and align the bottom of the ring light to the top of the stand. You should be able to spin the ring light onto the stand where there is a 3/4 screw thread inside the neck of the ring light. When the ring light is screwed on, you can tighten the knob on the ring light neck for added security. After the ring light is mounted, you can then plug in the power adapter. Turn the light on by turning the Brightness knob and then adjust the amount of brightness to your needs.

What I like

  • Bright light output.
  • Even light distribution.
  • Variable temperature range.
  • Portable and light-weight.

What I’d change

  • Make the neck on the ring light sturdier.
  • Add a rechargeable battery.
  • Make the carrying bag fit the light stand.

Final thoughts

Whether you are taking headshots, shooting videos, vlogging, lighting a product, applying makeup, or just need some extra light somewhere, this ring light gives off an impressive amount of light for your pictures and videos. Not only does this light ring produce impressive lighting for your selfies or when shooting portraits of people but it is also handy to have as another source of light.

For example, while sitting in the corner of the room when you are reading a book, or working on your car in the garage, or maybe you need a little more light in the kitchen reading the recipe book while your cooking. But the best use for this ring light is when you have a camera or smartphone mounted on it. it gives off a desired and even light output making your photos and videos more appealing and more professional looking. In photography and in videos, the camera needs light because helps the camera capture a cleaner and sharper image producing those attractive and pleasing images that you will be proud to post or display. Plus, the ring light gives that great catch light in your eyes which is kind of a really cool effect.

Edited photo. Ring light used as only light source.

Price: $89.99
Where to buy: Amazon
Source: The sample of this product was provided by GIM.

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