Sunday, October 3, 2010

Coco Ring Flash Adapter: Ray Flash knock-off.

I wanted a ring flash. I like David Hobby's recent use of the Orbis Ring Flash as a fill flash. However, I am not a full time photographer, and don't have unlimited funds, so I decided to check out the Coco Ring Flash Adapter (sorry Hobby. I hate shopping at Wal-Mart too, but I can't afford not to).

Here is my unscientific review of the Coco Ring Flash.

Get more pictures and the whole review after the jump...

1. You get what you pay for. The Coco is pretty cheaply made. Despite all the comments I read about its cheap build, I was still surprised when I unboxed it, I noticed that the clear plastic on the front was scratched up quite a bit. There is even on area where the plastic had some burn bubbles from the moulding process (see picture).

2. The Coco adapter doesn't fit on the flash head very well (but this is my fault). I have a variety of flashes, some with some pretty large heads. So I bought one that would fit on the Nikon SB-900 knowing I was going to use it on some smaller flashes. However, I don't get the feeling that it is going to fit on any flash head that well. I stuck some velcro on the inside, and it works okay. It comes with a rubber wedge, which is pretty essential to a snug fit. You may have to get creative depending on the flash head you will use.

3. When looking at the ring flash from the front, the light seems a little uneven (see pictures). But in the actual pictures of people and objects, the shadow looks fine: the look that I expected.

4. I wish the Coco's ring was a little bigger. I would like actual ring catchlights instead the catch lights simply look like a circle.

5. Conclusion: I would buy it again. In the end, for $50 + shipping from Amazon it is a fun little tool. Despite the poor build quality. It works fine, and I really like the effect it gives. While the "ring flash" look will get old soon, I can see using it more and more as a fill flash.

I was seriously considering a DIY alternative, and went to Home Depot to buy the stuff, but after pricing my options and considering the amount of time would be involved, I decided to buy the Coco Ring Flash Adapter. My few friends who have seen it, like it, and for the price are considering one.

Camera right: Alien Bee 800 with large shoot through umbrella.
Behind subject: Alien Bee 800 with grid.
Ring flash: around camera used as fill.
Straight from camera, no editing.


  1. hi there, i was interested in this adaptor but i was unsure if it would fit one of my units. i have a vivitar df-383. i will be using it with a d80 & d300. i have heard of this unit in use with a sb-600, although it was designed for the sb-900. do you think it would fit? i have heard only problems with the 285 vivitar due to the large head, but. . . .

  2. I have owned a Vivitar 285 in the past. If you bought the ring flash unit for the largest head, I think you might be okay. You also might have to come up with your own way to attach it. It is my experience that modifiers tend to slip off of the head of the 285 because of its shape. You definitely need some sort of way to attach it. Velcro?

  3. I have a Coco ring flash on a Canon 580EX and it's excellent. I made an aluminum strut that screws into the tripod hole on the camera to add support at the bottom of the ringflash. I also added a piece of frosted plastic covering the top front of the Coco where the flash is dim.It evened the light GREATLY.I'm very happy with this and it's the equal of the expensive Ray Flash, except the build is not as good (but is still plently good enough!).