Sunday, 1 May 2016

Using a ring flash on Nikon 1 V series camera

The V2F1A and a ring flash

One of the advantages of the V2F1A adapter is that it enables the camera, not only to use larger and more powerful flashes, but also to use a ring flash, which in many cases might be necessary.

The advantages of using ring flash

Ring flashes are frequently used by macro photographers, as well as product photographers and of course, even by medical or dental photographers. In general, a ring flash is very useful everywhere where there is not a lot of space between the camera and the subject, or where the camera lens can obstruct far too much light, or even cause serious shading.

I provide some sample images, the one on the right is a ruler, the full image coverage is about the same size as the Nikon 1 camera sensors, so the 13mm covered is equal to 1:1 magnification. Please note that the images are not cropped, just resized.

The next sample image is more of a "real thing", an example of an image taken in a very narrow space, where taking an image without a ring flash would have been difficult due to the problems one would encounter setting the lights up.

The third and fourth sample images are an eye. This is also normally pretty difficult because it requires a lot of light. Taking it with a ring flash which is in manual mode, no TTL pre-flash, and with the flash set to 1/128 of full power means that it is not uncomfortable for the model and not as blinding as a normal flash would be, or if available lights would be strong enough. Of course, the depth of field (DoF) is very narrow, so it is not easy if you want the whole eye in focus. These images are just some quick examples, not exactly work of art, but they demonstrate well some different use of a ring flash.

The disadvantages of using a ring flash

In some cases the the flash can demonstrate dual shadows, left and right of the subject. This is not very nice, but if the light is carefully adjusted between the left and the right tube then the dual shadows are avoided. Not all ring flashes have this possibility, mine has. Dual shadows are not always a problem, and especially in macro images, this is basically invisible. Some people use ring flash for model photography, but in my opinion, a ring flash is not suitable for that purpose because the light is far too even and flat, very boring and featureless for portraits. Never the less, photographic tastes are different, what is my taste is just my taste, must not necessarily be accepted by everyone, and some people prefer flat light for portraits.

Another disadvantage of using a ring flash is that considering it's GN power, they are pretty heavy. The one I have is only a GN14 (meters) flash and it is almost as heavy as the SB-900, which is a considerably more powerful flash. This means that the ring flash can not be used on a Nikon V camera as you would use it on a much larger DSLR. The ring flash must be mounted on a bracket and triggered using a PC cord. Mounting directly in the V2F1A would mean a heavy load on the flash shoe and risk causing problems, like contact failure or even some damage to the the camera or the flash or the adapter.

A third disadvantage in respect to the Nikon 1 cameras is that the Nikon 1 lenses are very small, light and most of them have plastic tubes. This means that the weight of the ring flash head is simply too much for those, especially the 10-30mm and the 30-110mm lenses. These are the only Nikon 1 lenses I have, but I would not use a ring flash on these, not only because these are also plastic lenses, but also because these are zooms with an expanding front, so these are not made to hold more than a filter and a hood. A ring flash is best used on a fixed focal length lens, or at least a heavier, more robust zoom.

Never the less, using a ring flash can be very rewarding and once mastered, pretty easy. It is very nice to use it in places where there is not much space and where the lights can not be set up in a way so that it suits the scene. Every time one needs to get close to the subject and there is not enough light or there is a risk for serious shading the use of a ring flash is really a great way if improving images, making it easier to take and with better results.


Please note that the V2F1A is not supporting iTTL, so it is important that the ring flash has manual settings as well.

Note that the sample macro images in this post were taken with the Nikon 1 V1 and the Nikon AF-S Micro Nikkor 60mm f2.8 macro lens. The flash was set to 1/128 power due to the short distance to the subject. If the flash would have been used at full power the image would have been washed out, completely white and overexposed.

The ring flash must be connected to the V2F1A through a sync cord and the flash must be mounted on a bracket, not on the V2F1A.

Please note that the images in this post are clickable, if you wish to see a larger image, just click on the image.

For more details about the V2F1A adapter or how to buy it, please visit my other posts, specifically start with this post:


  1. I would like to purchase a v2f1a and my emails keep getting returned

    1. Hi,

      Thank you for your interest. For more details about the V2F1A adapter or how to buy it, please visit my other posts, specifically start with this post:

      Please read under "How to order" in the above article. In short, send me a mail to adapting(dot)camera@gmail(dot)com with your own mail address and I'll tell you more details there. Remove(dot)and replace with a dot.

      Thank you.

  2. wow.. It's a great technology. Is it used for the high speed cameras??