5 Best Ring Lights for Macro Photography

If you are looking for the best ring light for macro photography, it is best to consider its power output, color temperature, and color rendering index. With these factors in mind, I have handpicked my favorite products below. Read on if you want to learn about why they are essential.

For me, it is important that there is sufficient lighting whenever I take photos of various subjects. Without it, my images will probably turn out dark and low-quality. And if you are planning to dabble in macro photography, it is even more vital that you have good lighting to ensure bright, sharp, and in-focus shots.

With so many products on the market, though, it can be pretty overwhelming to choose the right one for your needs.

Fortunately, I got you covered! I researched various articles and user reviews to determine the five best ring lights for macro photography. Each product includes a detailed review, pros, and cons, so you can compare it to one another.

There is also a handy buying guide below to help narrow down your choices. Hopefully, by the end of this article, you will have an idea of which item best suits your needs. 

Let us get on with it!

What is a Ring Light?

Before I discuss my top recommendations, I would first like to touch on ring lights in general.

If you are not familiar, ring lights are a type of professional photography lighting. As their name suggests, they feature a circular shape that you can attach to the camera lens or use separately as a standalone unit.

Macro ring lights create both strobe and continuous lighting. The former refers to a single flash, while the latter gives you illumination that stays on constantly. But regardless of their differences, they ensure soft and even light without noticeable harsh shadows.

Additionally, macro ring flashes come in two common types—studio ring lights and on-camera ring lights.

Studio ring lights refer to those with large diameters. They usually connect to light stands, tripods, or cold shoes. On the other hand, on-camera ring lights can attach to the front of the lens.

Choosing between the two will depend on your needs and personal preferences. But at the end of the day, both types of ring lighting can produce soft illumination to close-up subjects.

A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2021

ImageProductDetails
Editor’s PickNeewer Ring Light KitNeewer Ring Light KitPower: AC/DC Adapter
Color Temperature: 5500K
Dimensions: 20.08 x 4.33 x 24.02 inches
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Runner-Up


Neewer RL-12 LED Ring LightNeewer RL-12 LED Ring LightPower: AC/DC adapter
Color Temperature: 5500K
Dimensions: 15 x 25 x 8 inches
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BudgetUBeesize 10-inch Ring Light with TripodUBeesize 10-inch Ring Light with TripodPower: AC/DC adapter and USB
Color Temperature: 3000K-6000K
Dimensions: 15.27 x 11.5 x 4.49 inches
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EOTO 18-inch LED Ring LightEOTO 18-inch LED Ring LightPower: AC/DC adapter
Color Temperature: 2900-6000K
Dimensions: 21 x 20 x 4 inches
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IVISII 19-inch Ring LightIVISII 19-inch Ring LightPower: AC/DC adapter and rechargeable Li-ion battery
Color Temperature: 5500K
Dimensions: 22.8 x 19.7 x 3.2 inches
Check price

5 Best Ring Lights for Macro Photography

Below are my top picks for the best macro ring lights. Each dedicated ring light offers powerful lighting to illuminate small objects and ensure brighter images.

1. Neewer Ring Light Kit – Editor’s Pick

Neewer Ring Light Kit

Specifications:

  • Power: AC/DC Adapter
  • Color Temperature: 5500K
  • Dimensions: 20.08 x 4.33 x 24.02 inches

The first product on this list of the best right light for macro photography is the Neewer Ring Light Kit.

It features an 18-inch ring light that contains 240 individual pieces of LEDs. These can produce dimmable illumination with no visible dark shadows. Thus, the Neewer ring light can effectively brighten small or macro subjects.

Additionally, this ring light for macro photography gives you neutral 5500K light. But if you wish to change the color temperature, a white and orange color filter set is already included in the package. Feel free to attach these filters to change the appearance of light as it hits your subject. Doing so is especially handy if you wish to achieve or evoke certain moods in your image.

Moreover, Neewer Ring Light features a special LED SMD design. As a result, the item is lightweight and portable. There is also no ultraviolet and infrared light radiation, ultimately making it safe for people and the environment.

Other inclusions in the package include a light stand, ball head hot-shoe adapter, smartphone adapter, and storage bag. 

The light stand uses aluminum alloy construction, which ensures its durability in various shooting conditions. It can extend up to 61 inches or 155 cm tall, ideal for shooting almost all kinds of subjects.

Meanwhile, the hot-shoe adapter is compatible with other DSLR cameras. It also allows you to attach your smartphone if you ever decide to use one for your shoots.

Most importantly, reviews for this product were overwhelmingly positive. If there is any critique, it would be the connectivity issues when first using the product. Fortunately, these can easily be fixed by disconnecting and connecting the cable again to the ring light.

Overall, the Neewer Ring Light Kit is my top choice for the best ring light for macro photography. It can produce soft and even illumination for greater results.

Pros:

  • Large 18-inch ring light covers a wide area
  • Dimmable 5500K light output
  • Special LED SMD design delivers low heat output to ensure safety
  • 61-inch durable light stand is included in the package
  • Hot-shoe adapter is compatible with DSLRs and smartphones

Cons:

  • Some users experienced cable connectivity issues with the ring light 

2. Neewer RL-12 LED Ring Light – Runner-Up

Neewer RL-12 LED Ring Light

Specifications:

  • Power: AC/DC adapter
  • Color Temperature: 5500K
  • Dimensions: 15 x 25 x 8 inches

If you liked the previous product but prefer something more compact and lightweight, consider getting the Neewer RL-12 LED Ring Light.

It features a 14-inch LED panel that includes 180 pieces of bulbs. This ring light has a wide dimming range that spans from 1% to 100%. So whether you need to illuminate a wide area or a concentrated section, it allows you to do so. 

Additionally, the Neewer RL-12 LED light delivers a neutral color temperature of 5500K to brighten most subjects naturally. But there is also an option to change this temperature by attaching the included white and orange color filters. These use high light transmission plastic material to deliver steady color temperature. They are especially handy if you want to evoke a particular mood in the image.

Moreover, this ring light for macro photography has a special LED SMD design. Thus, it is more lightweight and portable. Plus, it offers a constant current drive to ensure minimal power loss.

And similar to the previous item, this ring light already includes several accessories. These comprise a light stand, a tripod head hot-shoe adapter, a smartphone holder, and a universal adapter.

The included light stand uses aluminum alloy material to ensure durability without adding unnecessary weight to your macro photography equipment. It is also easy to set up and carry to your photoshoots. There is even a soft tube that makes the stand rotate freely.

Meanwhile, the universal hot-shoe adapter allows you to attach the LED ring light to any tripod. But there is also a smartphone holder available if you ever decide to use your phone to photograph macro subjects.

However, before buying this ring light, it is still best to consider its downsides. First, some users said that the included light stand has flimsy legs. Thus, when you mount the ring light to the stand, it tends to lean forward. 

But considering its low price, the Neewer RL-12 LED Ring Light is worth considering. I recommend it to users who like a medium-sized ring light for macro photography.

Pros:

  • 12-inch ring light with dimmable 5500K output
  • Special LED SMD design delivers constant current drive to minimize power loss and heat output
  • Aluminum alloy light stand guarantees durability and portability
  • Universal hot-shot adapter allows you to connect the light to a tripod

Cons:

  • The included light stand has flimsy legs, which results in the ring light leaning forward

3. UBeesize 10-inch Ring Light with Tripod – Best Budget Ring Light for Macro Photography

UBeesize 10-inch Ring Light with Tripod

Specifications:

  • Power: AC/DC adapter and USB
  • Color Temperature: 3000K-6000K
  • Dimensions: 15.27 x 11.5 x 4.49 inches

Are you on a tight budget? If so, the UBeesize 10-inch Ring Light with Tripod might be the right product for your needs.

At less than $30, it delivers a powerful and adjustable light that can go from 3000K to 6000K. It also features three predetermined colors, namely Warm, Cool White, and Daylight. Each color offers ten levels of brightness, which gives you a total of 33 color options. So if you ever need to change the light temperature to evoke a certain mood or feel in your images, this ring light allows you to do so.

In addition, the UBeesize ring light uses high-brightness SMD LED lamp beads. These offer long-lasting power and high color rendering index.

Plus, if you ever need to adjust the range, this ring light for macro photography comes with a touchpad. It enables you to decrease and increase the amount of illumination with ease. 

Furthermore, UBeesize already includes a tripod stand, phone holder, wireless remote, and an AC/DC adapter. There is also an option to charge the ring light using the USB cable if you are shooting in areas without electrical sources.

Meanwhile, the tripod stand can extend up to 62 inches to help you shoot various subjects. It can also transform into a monopod or selfie stick, ideal for self-portraits, vlogging, and traveling. Plus, there is a smartphone holder, so you can use your phone to photograph macro subjects.

Finally, UBeesize provides a free replacement service should the item break down within a 24-month period. There is also a lifetime after-sale service, so you can reach out to the company if you do not know how to operate this ring light.

Despite these pros, there are still a few cons to keep in mind. First, some users said the phone attachment is flimsy and often tilts down if you mount a heavy item. Second, it is not spring-loaded, so it can only face in one direction, which ultimately limits you.

But after considering its benefits and value for the money, I think the UBeesize is one of the best ring lights for macro photography. 

Pros:

  • Compact and lightweight 10-inch ring light
  • Powerful and adjustable light with three pre-determined color temperatures
  • 62-inch tripod stand that can transform into a selfie stick
  • Free 24-month replacement service with lifetime after-sale service
  • It accepts both AC/DC and USB power output

Cons:

  • The phone attachment is flimsy and often tilts down
  • It can only face in one direction, which can limit you

4. EOTO 18-inch LED Ring Light

EOTO 18-inch LED Ring Light

Specifications:

  • Power: AC/DC adapter
  • Color Temperature: 2900-6000K
  • Dimensions: 21 x 20 x 4 inches

The EOTO 18-inch LED Ring Light is another product to consider if you want to illuminate macro subjects.

It features a unique LED SMD design that produces adjustable light output from 10% to 100%. This ring light also delivers 2900K to 6300K color temperature without the need to change the color filter. So whether you need to illuminate a wide or a concentrated area, this item might be perfect for your needs.

Additionally, the ring light delivers a color rendering index of 90. Thus, it can help you capture subjects as accurately as possible. Simply plug the light via the AC/DC adapter or the convenient USB cable.

Furthermore, the EOTO Ring Light already includes a flexible tripod that can extend from 22.8 inches to 69.7 inches. This tripod uses aluminum alloy construction to ensure durability and portability.  

Plus, there is an IR remote in the package. This item allows you to control the LED right light remotely and up to 2.5 meters away. So if you want to take photos or videos of yourself, this remote allows you to do so.

Other inclusions in the package are an adjustable phone holder, tripod head, Bluetooth shutter, and carrying bag.

On top of all these benefits, EOTO offers an 18-month warranty if you wish to ask for a refund or replacement of the item.

Despite these advantages, it is still essential to know its downsides. First, some users noticed that the light stand is pretty flimsy. Others even broke their light stands. Second, a few customers also said that the USB port does not properly charge the device.

Nevertheless, I still think the EOTO 18-inch LED Ring Light is another excellent ring light for macro photography.

Pros:

  • Adjustable and powerful light output
  • High color rendering index with a wide color temperature ranging from 2900K to 6300K
  • AC/DC power adapter and USB connection
  • Flexible and durable aluminum tripod
  • IR remote to control the ring light up to 2.5 meters away

Cons:

  • The included stand is flimsy and can snap easily, according to some users
  • USB port does not work properly

5. IVISII 19-inch Ring Light

IVISII 19-inch Ring Light

Specifications:

  • Power: AC/DC adapter and rechargeable Li-ion battery
  • Color Temperature: 5500K
  • Dimensions: 22.8 x 19.7 x 3.2 inches

The last product on our list is the IVISII 19-inch Ring Light

It features a large 19-inch ring light that can illuminate a wide area. And similar to other LED ring lights for macro photography, this particular model has an adjustable brightness from 0% to 100%.

Additionally, it offers a high color rendering index of 97. Thus, this ring light can deliver accurate and natural color reproduction of any subject. There is even an LCD display to help you gauge the amount of brightness and color temperature.

What’s more, the IVISII ring light has an all-around heat dissipation design. It ensures long-lasting performance and safety.

Plus, a wireless remote controller is already included in the package. It gives you convenient access to brightness and color temperature settings, channel or group selection, and dimming parameters in real-time. There is even a Bluetooth selfie remote that enables you to capture photos and videos of yourself.

However, before buying this item, it is best to know its downsides. First, several users said that the included is already in low battery despite buying it recently. Second, some customers were disappointed that there were no instructional manuals included in the package.

But considering its other features, I think the IVISII 19-inch Ring Light is still worth checking out.

Pros:

  • 19-inch ring light with adjustable brightness
  • High color rendering index delivers accurate and natural color reproduction
  • Smart LCD display shows brightness and color temperature in real-time
  • Wireless control and Bluetooth remote

Cons:

  • Remote battery already low
  • No instruction manuals are included in the package

How to Choose the Best Macro Ring Light

By now, you probably have an idea of which ring light for macro photography best suits your needs. But if you are still confused, fret not!

Below, I will discuss the factors you must consider before finalizing your purchasing decision.

Power

The power output is perhaps the number one factor to consider when buying a macro ring light. It is essential to look for one that can properly illuminate the subject.

Check the guide number (GN) of the ring flash. It will determine the maximum output of the flash. It gives the range in meters if using an aperture of f/1 at ISO100. To measure the real range of the device, you can divide it by your actual aperture.

However, since ring flashes are used at a close distance, the GN will probably be small at around 15.  

Color Temperature

Color temperature refers to the appearance of light when you capture it. It is expressed in Kelvins or the symbol K.

Color temperatures over 5000K emit a cool or bluish appearance in your photos, while lower temperatures produce warm or yellowish light.

If you want more flexibility, it is best to get a ring light with an adjustable color temperature.

Color Rendering Index

Color rendering index, or CRI, is another factor to think about before buying a ring light for macro photography. It determines how accurate the light is at rendering colors.

The higher the CRI value, the more natural-looking colors appear.

I highly recommend investing in a ring light with at least 90 and above CRI values to ensure accurate color rendering.

Size and Portability

Finally, consider the size and portability of the ring light. As much as possible, invest in a lightweight product. It is far more easier and convenient to carry, especially when you are traveling.

Conclusion

That sums up this list of the best ring light for macro photography! I highly recommend each product as it produces soft and natural illumination.

But if I only have to choose one item to suggest, it would be the Neewer Ring Light Kit. It has a large 18-inch LED ring light that delivers a natural 5500K light. It is also lightweight and portable without infrared light radiation, owing to the special LED SMD design. Other benefits include the flexible and durable light stand, universal hot-shoe adapter, phone adapter, and storage bag.