Detailed DIY Ring Flash Tutorial

If you are one of those people with more hours than dollars (we've all been there) you are gonna like this DIY ring flash video courtesy Roy at Motley Pixel. It's a variant of the design I first saw done by David Tejada. But the video (two, actually) lays it out in very nice detail.

Of particular note, and an evolution on Dave's design, are the multiple layers of diffusion at the flash end. This evens out the light around the ring. Nice touch.

First part is above, hit the jump for the second video.


Ed. Note: This video dropped this in quite a ways back, but I never saw it because it was not originally tagged with "Strobist" on YouTube.

If you do have cool video to show off, I watch everything that includes a Strobist tag -- even if it is really, really bad. I'm always looking for fun stuff to bring up to the main site.


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Blogger Darren Phillip Jones said...

Only thing I noticed that could ease a step is using white spray paint instead of the aluminum tape. Much easier to find and work with. Also which is arguably a better surface (posted on several forums and here I think?) than aluminum for light reflection.

April 14, 2011 2:05 AM  
Blogger Derek said...

I'm a sucker for DIY stuff. Keep it coming!!!!!!!

........... and The Flash Bus Tour in Seattle was cool too.


April 14, 2011 2:36 AM  
Blogger iniclof said...

Nice, the only problem I see is that it completely block the zoom/focus rings.

April 14, 2011 7:13 AM  
Blogger didymus said...

Thanks for the video links David. My 'To Do' list just expanded... is there no end?!


April 14, 2011 9:37 AM  
Blogger cjapryor said...

What a great build - fantastic level of detail. I suspect when I try it I'll have a go at making the bracket a different shape - to me it looks like he's gone round 3 sides of a square where possibly just a right angle would do the job with less weight and without protruding from the back of the camera?

April 14, 2011 10:18 AM  
Blogger mrbrettcc said...

Very nice! I may have to do this... Thanks for the great post

April 14, 2011 3:00 PM  
Blogger Piper said...

Finally, a down to basics build. Thank you.

April 14, 2011 4:49 PM  
Blogger richard said...

i've made this exact one. i've added the zip ties since and added a diffuser.

April 14, 2011 6:23 PM  
Blogger Puggle said...

Well done diy tutorial! I got a chuckle because next to the video was an ad for the orbis ring flash.

April 14, 2011 6:55 PM  
OpenID said...

I won't be surprised when I hear here, sooner or later, another DIY (or two or three!) that will allow manual focus and zooming in and out of the lens used with the contraption of this DIY.

BTW, the contraption in this DIY looks good. I would buy it if it were available on our favorite auction site for a reasonable price.

April 14, 2011 8:15 PM  
Blogger Chad G said...

I don't have anything posted on youtube, but I do have a faux beauty lamp. See how beautiful it made me :)

how-to included!

April 14, 2011 10:02 PM  
Blogger Brian Hursey said...

Roy is a good guy. I was on the Cactus v5 testing team with him very detailed in his testing. I am glad to see that his video was noticed.

April 14, 2011 10:33 PM  
Blogger Zach said...

Hey David, Met you in Grand Rapids yesterday. We chatted for a bit about the social impact of Hoco360. I'm greatly intriqued by what you are doing. Great stuff!

Just wondering if you ever heard Chase Jarvis talk about his idea of "Social Art."

Kinda fits with the Hoco project.

Check it out in his keynote at the Photo Plus Expo a while back.

April 15, 2011 8:23 AM  
Blogger Matthew Gauthier said...

Am I right in that you can only make this based on one specific lens?

Seems pretty cool either way.

April 15, 2011 1:55 PM  
Blogger Matthew Gauthier said...

Am I correct in understanding that this design would only support a specific lens or can you use multiple?

Thanks for the video!

April 15, 2011 1:56 PM  
Blogger Ian Pearson said...

Made one just like it :) and happy to say it works as a great modifier whether macro, portraits, or whatever.

April 15, 2011 3:17 PM  
Blogger catface! said...

Wow, this is really handy :)

April 16, 2011 3:44 AM  
Blogger Larry said...

Excellent tutorial. I want to build one. By the way, how soon did your wife run you off the sofa and out of the living room?

April 16, 2011 9:49 AM  
Blogger Dan Padavona, said...

I like it! A few more adjustments and it would make an excellent solar cooker.

April 16, 2011 12:43 PM  
Blogger Mr V said...

@ Matthew Gauthier

You can use just about any lens. As long as the lens isn't so wide that it sees the edges of the inner pipe. It's something that you'll have to try when you make one. My 28-300mm (on full frame) is fine but the 14-24mm doesnt work too well. Besides that it's not a great lens for ring flash anyway.

On another note, i reckon you could enable manual focusing and zooming by having the camera slide back on the rail. In actual fact you would slide the ring flash forward then focus manually (if you're really into that..) then slide the ring flash back (a bit like a trombone). You'd just need to fix the camera to a clip or something that slides back & forth on the bar that attaches to the dome. DO IT !

Anyway, I prefer just to Autofocus..

April 17, 2011 10:40 AM  
Blogger O Schrock said...

Thanks so much!

I've put a link to this on the "Helpful Links" page of my Photoblog!

April 19, 2011 3:05 PM  
Blogger Steven said...

Finding the Chefmate cutting mat at Target is proving difficult. Does anyone have an alternate idea? Thanks.

April 20, 2011 11:29 AM  
Blogger Kyle said...

Very well done tutorial. I enjoy building things. I recently built a giant ring flash, circumference of a large trash can. More experimentation is needed but it sure is fun to play with. Can be seen here:

April 23, 2011 3:55 PM  
Blogger Kyle said...

Oh, and I found wax paper to be a decent diffuser if you are having trouble finding Chefmate cutting mat, you might give it a try.

April 23, 2011 4:00 PM  
Blogger John said...

just wondering if you still need the flashcord cable if using a 7D, since it has built in wireless. Can the sensors pick up each other from the weird angle. Has anyone tried this with a 7D

April 24, 2011 7:15 PM  
Blogger Roy said...

Cool, I'm on strobist!

Lots of feedback over the past couple of years on this DIY Ring-Flash...plenty of discussion and sample builds of others and sample photos on my site:,80.0.html


May 08, 2011 10:48 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

I so wish there were someone making these. Lacking the time to build myself, lacking the funds to buy the more commercial versions. Since time=money, I'll have to wait 'til I have more of one or the other.

May 12, 2011 12:50 PM  
Blogger Ian said...

In that pack of cutting mats there were red and green ones ... Gary Fong look out!

Excellent tutorial: looks like a lot of time went into making it, thank you.

July 09, 2012 8:45 AM  
Blogger Bill said...

How would I change the bracket for a Nikon D3S ? Any ideas would be appreciated.

February 23, 2013 8:44 PM  

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