The Orbis Ringflash Adapter is designed to allow you to produce beautiful shadowless lighting from your existing flashgun. The 'one size fits most' design of the Orbis means it will fit almost every hotshoe mountable tilthead flashgun to give you lighting effects only normally achievable with expensive studio ringflash. The Orbis is designed to be used off camera shooting through the aperture - it can be used hand held (there are moulded grips on the connecter), by attaching the optional Orbis Arm bracket or mounted on a tripod or stand using a hotshoe adapter such as the Frio. Used as a ringflash the Orbis is ideal for portrait and fashion work, together with close up macro photography. Used away from the camera/lens combination it can work as a fill light or mini-softbox.
The Orbis Ringflash FAQs
Which flashes/strobes are compatible with the orbis?
The orbis works with most flash/strobes straight out of the box, with no need for any extra parts or conversion add-ons.
The orbis has been tested with the Canon 300TL, 420EX, 430EX, 540EZ, 550EX, 580EX I and II and 600EX-RT, Nikon SB24, SB28, SB80, SB600, SB700, SB800, SB900, SB910, Cosmos 360, LumoPro LP120, LP160, Nissin Di866, Metz 44, 48 and Metz 54 and 58, Minolta 5200 and 5600, Olympus FL36, FL36R and FL50, Pentax AF360 and AF540, Sigma 500, Sony F56, HVL F36 and HVL58, Sunpak PF30X, 544 and 5000, the Yongnuo YN460, YN-565EX, the Vivitar DF383, 283 and the Polaroid PL-144AZ Speedlight.
If your flash/strobe is similar in size and shape to these, it will almost definitely be compatible with the orbis. The only flash/strobes that we know of that don’t fit the orbis are the Cactus KF36, the Metz 45 and 45CL, the Vivitar 285 and the Vivitar 285HV, which are all slightly too large.
The orbis is designed to work with standard-design SLR hotshoe flashes, not flashes that are ‘fixed position’ nor the ‘hammerhead’ design, so it does not work with the Canon 220EX, Nikon SB400 or the Metz “Hammerhead” series (Metz 60, 76 etc). It does work with the Sunpak 544 though.
Orbis in action: Product walkthrough and demonstration video:
Which lenses does the orbis work with?
The central aperture is 86mm wide, so the orbis works with commonly used Canon 16-35, 24-70, 24-105, 70-200 (IS and non IS), Nikon 16-35, 24-70 and 70-200 (non VR), 80-200 VR, 18-200 VR and more. For very wide lenses like the Canon and Nikon 70-200s with stabilisation, you may need to fit the lens over the orbis before fitting the lens so that it sits at the camera-end of the lens. The orbis arm is recommended for mounting the system in these cases.
Is the orbis guaranteed?
The orbis is guaranteed against manufacturing defects for 12 months from the date of purchase.
How do you hold the orbis?
There are two ways to use an orbis, on its own with your flash or with the accessory orbis arm. Using the orbis® on its own, it’s important to remember that having fitted the orbis to your flash, you hold your flash in your left hand and just place your thumb and index finger on the orbis. There are conveniently placed grip surfaces on the front and rear of the body.Using the orbis with the orbis arm, follow the instructions that came with your orbis arm to set it up. Depending on setup and preference, you can hold the system with your left hand on the bottom or main shaft of the orbis arm. Or mount the whole system on a tripod.
Who are enlight photo?
The orbis is manufactured by enlight photo. Founded by full-time professional photographer James Madelin in 2006 to develop an effective modular ring flash, James is a sportsshooter.com member, a devoted follower of the ‘Strobist’ philosophy of inventive off-camera lighting and in a previous life was a keen amateur photographer too. Enlight photo have offices in the United Kingdom and New Zealand as well as a delivery center in the USA.
I’m hard on my gear, is the orbis sturdy?
As a highly engineered photographic accessory, your orbis should be treated with care to ensure it keeps working for years.
The orbis comprises a double layer shell formed from durable ABS plastic for strength. The unique clip into which you slide your flash/strobe has been stress tested in a lab to ensure material integrity over thousands of cycles. We’ve drop-tested the orbis thoroughly and sent it several times around the globe to ensure that normal little accidents don’t result in disaster. We urge you to read the instructions that come with your orbis before you use it. Though it is ready-to-go out of the box, enlight photo ltd are not responsible for any damage to equipment caused by mishandling the orbis.
Is the orbis designed for pros or amateurs?
If you’re one of the millions of photographers keen to push the envelope and take better and better photos without spending a fortune, the orbis is for you.Unlike other ring flashes, the orbis does not prevent your camera and compatible flash/strobe from using TTL metering to get the exposure just right (as long as you’re using an off-camera cord, Canon’s IR system or Nikon’s CLS). That makes it really easy to use and fast to set up – ideal for every keen photographer with a flash/strobe.
Apart from portraits, what else can the orbis do?
Just like expensive studio-oriented ring flash (Broncolor, Lumedyne, Alien Bees, etc) the orbis® is great for product, food, medical and macro photography.
How is the orbis any different from a normal diffuser, like a Stofen or Lightsphere?
Put simply, diffusers like the Lightsphere spread the light from your flash, but don’t actually re-shape it. That’s great if your environment means that the spread of diffused light will bounce back, say if you’re under a low ceiling or next to a wall. And the ceiling or wall is a neutral light colour. The moment your subject moves, or you’re not near a convenient wall or ceiling, a simple slip-on diffuser like a Stofen or a GF will barely help at all. The orbis is unique as it spreads the light AND fundamentally re-shapes it. The amazing shadowless ‘ring flash’ lighting effect you get with the orbis is totally independent of where you are and what you’re shooting. Even when used off-camera like a mini-softbox, the orbis is still fundamentally changing the shape and size of the light from your flash, something other diffusers don’t do. The orbis is the only way to get beautiful, shadowless photos anywhere, every time.
Does the orbis mean no one will ever need a studio ring flash again?
The orbis is a fantastic and affordable way to have fun with the ring flash effect at a portrait range or closer, but differs from studio ring flashes in two ways.
The orbis ring flash uses your standard flash/strobe as the source of light and power. A studio ring flash is much, much more powerful. If you need to light up the other side of the street or a subject standing 10m away, have the thousands of dollars required to buy a studio ring flash and the assistants to carry and guard the power pack, plus the time to set it all up, then the orbis probably isn’t for you.
Similarly, when used with particular settings and circumstances, photos taken with the orbis may have a slightly different look to those of a studio ring flash, as re-distributing the light from a single light source will never be perfect. Although most photographs taken with an orbis® ring flash are indistinguishable from those taken with a studio ring flash, if absolute technical perfection is essential, you have the thousands of dollars to spend, the assistants to carry and guard the power pack, plus the time to set it all up, then the orbis probably isn’t for you either.
But if you’re keen to have fun taking photos using your flash/strobe with a classic, beautiful shadowless lighting effect, you’ll love the orbis® ring flash.
Why do I need a ring flash?
The ring flash effect is immediately recognisable and timeless. Much easier to use than softboxes and beauty dishes, ring flash is a great way to cast beautiful shadowless light. Without access to ring flash lighting you’re one step behind other photographers. And remember, ring flash is particularly useful when used as part of a multi-light setup.
Isn’t this an old idea? Surely I can build my own?
The orbis bridges the gap between high-end and home-made ring flashes. If you want a great piece of kit that won’t break the bank or look out of place on a pro shoot, the orbis is for you. And unlike most home-made ring flashes, you can pack your orbis in your kit bag safe in the knowledge that it will be in one piece when you get to your location! At an affordable price point, the orbis enables all keen photographers to reach the next level without breaking the budget. Order yours today to get the edge on your competition!
Does the orbis fit to my camera?
The orbis has been designed primarily to be handheld; it does not actively fit to your lens. Holding the orbis and your flash/strobe in one hand, you push your lens through the orbis lens tunnel. You can of course put the orbis on a lightstand if you’re using it in studio. One of the big drawbacks with studio ring flash systems is how time-consuming and awkward they are to set up. If you are shooting for longer with your orbis on-lens as a ring flash, the orbis fitting arm fits your orbis, flash and camera together into one system.
Can I still use my TTL (Through the Lens) metering?
Yes, as long as you are using either a compatible off-camera cord, Canon’s IR system or Nikon’s CLS.
If you’re using a PC cord or radio trigger, your flash/strobe and camera cannot communicate the TTL information effectively, so in this case you have to set the flash/strobe manually. The orbis used as the manual suggests does not block any sensors on the flash. TTL metering is all calculated in camera, but Focus Assist and infra red sensors are often positioned on the flash/strobe head.
Lighting photographs well is best left to the pros, it’s too hard!
Remember, the orbis is the first ring flash that does not impede both the camera’s TTL and Focus Assist functions, making it as easy as using on-camera flash (see the manual for details).
Instructional websites and blogs have given rise to a global movement of ‘Strobists’. The orbis fits the strobist philosophy perfectly; easy to afford and use with great results.
How powerful is the orbis?
The orbis is powerful enough for shooting photos out to full-length portraits, right down to macro work, without having to use a high ISO or wide open aperture. Most ring flash photographs are taken at relatively short range where you won’t notice a loss of light intensity. For more information, hover your mouse over the photos in our galleries; many of them include the camera settings.
How big and how heavy is the orbis?
The orbis is around 20cm (8 inches) wide, 26cm (10 inches) tall and 6cm deep. It weighs about 500 grams (18 ounces).
The orbis is a fantastically compact, lightweight ring flash that’s easy to sling in your kit bag or over a shoulder for quick access in fast-moving photography situations.
Is my flash really powerful enough to reflect all the way around the orbis?
The light tunnel inside the orbis uses patent-pending design to ensure that light from your flash is efficiently redirected with minimum light loss. Testing has proved that light reaches all the way around the orbis, faithfully reproducing a ring flash effect. The unique clip means that your flash fits snugly into the orbis to limit any light loss around the flash/strobe head.
If I buy an orbis, do I also need to own an off-camera cord?
You can also use Canon’s Infra Red triggering system or Nikon’s CLS. If you don’t mind setting the flash/strobe manually, you can use a cheap PC cord or you may already own radio triggers like PocketWizards or SkyPorts. If you don’t already have a way to fire your flash/strobe when it’s not on the hotshoe, we recommend using an off-camera cord as the most efficient solution. They are also really useful for exploring other directional lighting effects.
Who was the orbis designed for?
Anyone who takes their photography seriously; Keen photographers; make the most of the harsh flash/strobe you rarely use to take beautifully well-lit photos of your family and friends, that look like they’re straight out of a magazine. They’ll love you for it! Wedding photographers; imagine being able to take beautifully lit bride and bridesmaid shots of top fashion magazine quality in moments with an orbis. Press photographers; when you’re three jobs down in a day with four to go and you have to get yet another portrait in an uninspiring location, the orbis will save your day by giving you a really fast way to come up with a completely different eye-catching look. Magazine photographers; you have to deliver top photography to a tight bottom line. You can own an orbis for the same as, or less than, one day’s studio ring-flash rental. Beat your competition by getting that high-value ring flash look to impress your editor. Portrait photographers; an orbis is a great way to fill your lighting setups quickly an easily without spending a small fortune on an unwieldy studio ring flash. For family and child portraits, the portability and light weight of the orbis means you can keep up with fast moving subjects. The orbis is a great way to light photographs beautifully; if you don’t have a fortune to spend on studio equipment, the orbis is for you.
Why doesn’t it fit to my flash on the hot shoe? I’ve seen another ring modifier that fixes to the flash on-camera
Most hotshoes, the component that connects a camera to a flash/strobe, are designed to be sacrificial; they’re actually designed to break! In the event of a shock to either the camera or the flash/strobe, the easily replaceable hotshoe on the flash/strobe breaks to prevent damage to the more expensive camera and/or flash/strobe unit. Any light modifier that hangs from the flash puts strain on the hotshoe, greatly increasing the chances of breaking it. And that means an end to your shoot, at least until you can grab your spare system, and a lengthy wait for repairs. By moving the orbis off the camera, you avoid any dangers of hotshoe failure. Furthermore, the orbis doesn’t obstruct the sensors on front of your flash/strobe, used for important functions like Focus Assist.
What happens if my kids spill something into my camera bag and it gets in my orbis?
As a highly engineered photographic accessory, your orbis should be treated with care to ensure it keeps working for years. Keep the orbis safe in its protective case when not in use, but if the unavoidable does happen, the answer for the busy family photographer is that you can rinse it through with water, let it dry carefully and keep shooting! Never attempt to wipe the reflective light-tunnel.
I gel my flashes for colour balancing, can I do that with the orbis?
Yes, you can fit gels onto your flash/strobe with hook&loop fastener and it will still fit your orbis.
Can I use manual and auto focus with the orbis?
The orbis was designed for use with autofocus cameras. Although manual focus is possible with the orbis, it is best to mount the orbis on a lightstand with your camera on a tripod when using manual focus.
Why does the orbis come with just one lens and why is it that size? Surely a selection of lenses and sizes would allow for different intensities of ring light? Could a less diffuse front panel make the orbis more efficient?
Light moves in mysterious ways. Our extensive virtual and real-time testing concluded that there is an optimum opacity for the orbis lens to maximise efficiency. The diffusion in the front panel stops too much of the light escaping before it’s been re-directed through the patented light tunnels. Less diffusion means that more light spills out before it has been re-shaped, causing a sharp fall-off in efficiency. Similarly, the size of the light tunnels are defined by the extensive virtual testing that our optical engineering team carried out. Changing the diameter by just 5mm either way causes considerable fall-off in efficiency.
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