Walter Shillington writes about products he knows firsthand. His articles focus on healthcare, electronics, watches, and household items.
Product reviewers insert a variety of images into their articles to help describe the item being tested. I use a Fujifilm Finepix S2950 to photograph my subjects. This camera performs exceptionally well when working with smaller items such as watches. A pair of tripod-mounted 5500K fluorescent floodlights provide lighting.
These days, however, most people snap photographs and film videos with their cellphone. The newer Android and Apple phones take excellent pictures; even my obsolete LG Phoenix does a decent job when the sun is bright.
Inside buildings, the results are not so good. There is seldom enough light, and what is available often adds a yellowish tint to images. Selfies, which—due to the short distance between subject and camera—tend to be blurry, are often unusable when taken in limited light.
Several manufacturers are marketing products designed to improve the quality of a cellphone’s image or video. Today, I am conducting a test of iMartine’s new LED Selfie Ring Light system.
This iMarttine light system weighs 5.9 pounds and is packaged in a 17.2 x 8.5 x 6.4-inch cardboard box. It consists of a black colored aluminum tripod, a bracket equipped with three flexible goosenecks; two eight-inch LED 10W ring lights, remote shutter control, and an operator’s manual. This device includes a rotatable cellphone clamp which can be attached to the center gooseneck.
A tripod extension provides the ability to set the height of the lights to any position between 38 and 73 inches. Flexible metal goosenecks, part of the bracket assemble which screws onto the top of the tripod, are used to support a cellphone and two eight-inch ring lights.
A lead, long enough to reach the floor when the light system is fully extended, originates from each ring light. These leads are fitted with a four-button controller and terminate with a USB connection. Power can be provided from any USB source, but most people will plug them into an adaptor and connect it to an extension cord or power bar.
The ring lights are rated at 10 watts. Brightness can be set at 10 different levels using the device’s controller. Color temperature is adjustable as well. Options include 2700K (yellowish), 6000K (cool white) and a temperature midway between the two (warm white). Additional effects can be achieved by aiming both lights at the same target and adjusting them for different temperatures.
The remote shutter control is a Bluetooth device. It can be paired with most IOS and Android phones. The remote comes equipped with a CR2032 battery.
- Weight: 2.7 kilograms (5.9 pounds)
- Maximum height: 185.5 centimeters (73 inches)
- Minimum height: 96.5 centimeters (38 inches)
- LED ring size: 20 centimeters (8 inches)
- LED ring power: 10 watts
- Brightness: 10 adjustable levels
- Color temperature: Yellowish (2700K), warm white (approx. 4500K), and cool white (6000K)
- Cellphone clamp: Spring-loaded, rotatable
- Shutter remote: Bluetooth remote with battery. Works with IOS and Android phones
Founded in 2015, iMartine is multinational technology company, providing a range of household products that are affordable and reliable. They work to achieve this by combining function, quality, design, and value. This company is based in China.
Much of this system is constructed of aluminum. The tripod opens wide and, since it is the heaviest part of the device, ensures stability.
The flexible metal goosenecks are quite sturdy, easily capable of holding their set position when ring lights or phone are attached.
While lights should always be handled carefully, the LED rings accompanying this system require less caution than needed when working with Spiral CFL Light Bulbs.
This lighting system was designed for podcasts and selfies. I, however, use it mostly for photographing items I plan to either review or sell on eBay. It is much handier to set up than my original pair of spotlights, and the light rings can be easily re-positioned when required.
The iMartine ring light system is quite large and demands a fair amount of storage space. Happily, it was designed to be quickly dismantled when not in use.
Assembly is easy. Unfold the tripod and hand-tighten one butterfly type fastener. Then screw the ring light bracket onto the tripod extension. Once the ring lights and cellphone are secured to their flexible goosenecks, the system is ready for action. The iMartine ring light can be put together or disassembled within five minutes.
A tiny handheld remote is used to snap photographs, and the ring light output is adjusted by a pair of controllers which, while wired, are within easy reach.
The biggest drawback of this device is its need for a power source for each of its two ring lights. I used to drag out an extension cord and plug both lights into it using USB/AC adapters. Recently, I purchased an Anker PowerCore 20100mAh - Power Bank. If I plug both lights into the power bank, this device will keep them shining brightly for over four hours. This greatly increases the portability of the iMartine ring light.
These ten-watt LED rings can be aimed at two different positions or focused on one individual.
Intensity may be set to any of ten different levels. I found 80% worked best for me. If, however, the subject is closer or more distant, adjustments can be made.
Glare is less of a problem than encountered using my CFL floodlights. A reflection of the rings, however, can sometime be detected on the surface of a subject’s glasses.
Each LED ring is capable of emitting light at three different temperatures. I found that setting one light to 6000K (Kelvins), and the other to midrange (about 4500K) created a photograph with the most accurate skin tone. Each situation, of course, will require a different setting. To adequately demonstrate color temperatures, I have created this youtube video.
This lighting system was designed to be used to photograph selfies, small groups of people, and to compose videos and podcasts. It is well built, easy to assemble, and extremely versatile. Imartine’s selfie ring light system is strongly recommended.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Walter Shillington