DIY Ring Light Takes Its Cues From Fiber Optic Toys


DIY ring light setups for DSLR cameras are nothing new around here. While most of them rely on an array of LEDs or a mirror-based light tube, [Wolf] had a different idea. He figured that since optical fibers are made specifically for transmitting light from one place to another, they would make a perfect medium for constructing a ring light.

Since he was using the camera’s built-in flash to power the ring light, he was able to provide a function that few other DIY ring lights do: proper flash compensation. Typically, a self-made ring light flashes at one set brightness, regardless of how much light is actually required to compose the image.

The construction was relatively simple, albeit time consuming. He procured a set of fiber optic cables that had been melted together into 150 small bundles, which he then glued to an acrylic ring that he fabricated. The end result isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing ring light we’ve ever seen, but it’s the pictures that matter at the end of the day. As you can see on his site, they speak for themselves.

Looking to build your own ring light? Check out a couple of other projects we have featured in the past.

11 thoughts on “DIY Ring Light Takes Its Cues From Fiber Optic Toys

  1. Looks like something we’ll see Lady Gaga wearing soon….;^)

    Seriously, though, it’s a pretty cool hack. Must have awesome patience to be able to put those individual strands in……

  2. Just one sample? I’d take it the directivity may impose some limitations, but it’s really nice to display only a single picture and not comparing at least to another one without or with regular flash.

    Also, I’d guess the lighting on human skin perhaps is nice and soft. A portrait would be also very interesting to see.

  3. The picture sort of reminds me of the guys who park rental cars at the Hertz and Avis lots in San Jose Airport. If you have been there, you will know what I am taking about…

  4. “[Wolf] had a different idea.”
    Since you yourself link to the same thing done in 2009 it seems a bit odd to pretend the guy repeating it actually thought it up.
    Unless it’s the same guy – but I don’t think it is.

  5. I’m the guy who created the prototype, and it’s great to have it featured here. I wasn’t aware of the other attempts that are referred to in the Hack A Day article and the comments; I’ll definitely have to check them out to see what their results were. That is, in contrast to what some seem to be implying, I actually thought it up independently of those people that, until now, were unknown to me. Thanks for posting the links.

    Ring flashes are primarily (if not only) of interest in macro photography. Any portrait with a straight-on flash is almost bound to be bad, so ring flashes aren’t suited for that. The reason there’s just this one example in the blog entry is that this was actually the only picture I had yet taken with the ring flash. I could probably add a completely dark picture of the same flower in the unlit room photographed without the flash, but somehow that seems like a waste. :)

    The “stupid loopy cumbersome waste” could certainly have been avoided if, say, I had first fastened the wires to the flash and drawn them through the fixture and glued them there in uneven lengths. However, keep in mind that this was my attempt to prove a concept; hence waste, cost and looks weren’t prioritized. Also, you may have lenses whose lenghts vary according to the zoom level, so the somewhat stiff wires must enable some slack.

  6. why nobody asks the obvious:where did you get the fiber optic bundle?multi conductor fiber cable could be used except it is so small(.62 micron).imagine so many hairlike strands…way to hard to deal with at either end.

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