Ring lights have become a very common piece of equipment for aspiring livestreamers both big and small. In fact, it’s all but part of any good streaming rig. While there are a lot of options out there for your standard circular light on a stand, none of them have been designed with livestream broadcasters specifically in mind. That’s where Elgato’s latest piece of hardware comes in to play with a suite of features that are great and become even greater if you happen to have some of Elgato’s, or its parent company Corsair’s, other hardware.
The Elgato Ring Light comes in a rather large box, but in the end takes up a rather small amount of real estate once assembled. Included in the set is a clamp-on desk stand with adjustable height and power supply along with clip-on plugs for the power supply so you can use the light in whatever country you happen to be in. Then there’s the ring light itself, which has its control center above and below the bottom of the light. Users can screw in their favorite webcam or a more general purpose video camera to the top-center of the control panel. Brightness and color temperature can be adjusted using the plus and minus buttons on each side of the camera mount. It’s pretty easy to adjust the angle of both the camera and light to get the perfect shot using the clamp-on stand. The ball joint the light attaches to does feel a bit loose, but I have yet to experience any issues with it falling out of place or something like that.
Where the Elgato Ring Light really sets itself apart from other lights on the market is with its multiple options for brightness and color control. Users can download the Elgato Control Center to either their PC or smartphone to control the ring light’s parameters or power it on or off. If you happen to own an Elgato Stream Deck, you can set up the same custom control functions on there as well or assign them to the macro buttons on some of Corsair’s newer keyboards. It’s pretty impressive how many options you have to control the settings on the Elgato Ring Light, especially when you consider that most livestreamers are operating every aspect of their broadcast rig. Not having to stand up and adjust parameters on the light itself definitely helps when setting up a scene.
Blinded by the light
I really have no complaints about the ring light itself, it’s color temperature has an impressive range of 2900-7000k, allowing users to adjust between a cool blue lighting to a much hotter orange and everything in between. This thing can also get supremely bright. Like I can light up my whole living room with it at its max. Like, we’re talking lumens on lumens here. But, I do have some issues with a few things beyond the ring light.
For starters, the clamp-on stand. While the screw-on clamp works exceptionally well, even with the fold-up table I use for my living room livestream rig, it was a pain to pull my desk out from the wall and screw it in properly. I honestly would’ve preferred it come with a base stand instead, but unfortunately, if you want the stand for this thing it’s gonna run you an extra $49.99 USD, which is kind of a punch in the gut when you consider the Elgato Ring Light itself already retails for $199.99. At that price range, I feel like I should get some stand options along with it.
My only other major gripe is the instruction manual is a giant piece of cardboard. I can appreciate the modern design concept of what they were trying to do here, but I’d much rather just have a tiny paper instruction manual that ends up in my junk-drawer graveyard. Sure, I’ll probably never reference it again in my life and one day my next of kin will unceremoniously throw it out after I’m gone, but it’s still much easier to hold onto on the off chance that I did need it again someday.
Shine like the sun
While I would’ve liked to have had the option to use a base stand rather than being handed a clamp-on one, I really can’t find anything to complain about when it comes to the Elgato Ring Light itself. It’s dynamic controls, especially when coupled with Elgato and Corsair hardware, makes it an extremely useful tool for streamers at any level. Even if you don’t buy into the proprietary aspects, you can still control it with your smartphone as well. You can tell Elgato put a decent amount of thought into the ins and outs of the Elgato Ring Light and I’d definitely give it a look if you’re thinking about upgrading your livestreaming rig.
This review is based on a product provided by the manufacturer. The Elgato Ring Light is available now for $199.99 USD from participating third-party retailers.