Joby Beamo Ring Light 12”
- + Delivers attractively diffuse illumination
- + 10-step light intensity adjustment
- + Various power options available
- + Useful set of features at an attractive price
- + Features mounting points for adding accessories
- - No flash option
- - Won't have much impact in bright outdoor conditions
Price as Reviewed:£24.95 (Light only £59.95 for HandyPod kit)
Andy Westlake tests an inexpensive but well-featured LED ring light
Joby Beamo Ring Light 12” at a glance:
- LED ring light
- USB powered (5V/2A)
- Three colour temperatures
- Ten light levels
Most cameras are now equally competent at recording moving images as stills, so inevitably an ecosystem of accessories has sprung up to support this. Here we’re looking at an LED ring light that’s 12 inches in diameter, with a 10-step light intensity adjustment and three selectable colour temperatures: 5600K, 4000K and 3000K. Unlike some more expensive alternatives, it only acts as a continuous light source, with no flash option. You can power it via any 5V USB source, either a mains supply indoors, or a power bank when you’re out and about.
This light is designed for use with either smartphones or small cameras, including lightweight mirrorless models. Joby describes it as ‘the go-to ring light for TikTokers, Musers, Reelers and Mobile Content Creators’, which tells you a lot about the perceived market. But it could also be handy for photographing people indoors, or simply while using your camera as a webcam for Zoom calls.
Joby Beamo Ring Light 12” key features:
- Control box: This is where you turn the light on or off, and adjust its brightness and colour temperature.
- Mount points: A standard 1/4in socket allows the light to be mounted onto a tripod, while a cold shoe above it will take a smartphone holder or a ball head for a camera
- Accessories: Three cold shoe mounts arranged at 90° around the rim can be used to fit a microphone or other accessories
- HandyPod Bundle: This includes the ring light and a cold shoe mount, along with a mini tripod/grip and an adjustable phone clamp
The idea behind this type of light is to place your camera in the centre of the ring, which then provides soft, flattering, shadowless illumination. Joby specifies an output of 400 lumens, which translates to using ISOs of around 1600 or 3200 with an f/1.8 lens for indoor portraits. But it’s not going to have much impact in bright outdoor conditions.
A huge range of similar ring lights is available on Amazon, so you might wonder what extra value Joby can possibly have brought. But aside from the reassurance of buying from an established brand, you get a useful set of features at an attractive price. This is a sturdy-feeling device that boasts an array of mounting points around its rim for adding further accessories such as microphones.
While the light can be bought on its own, you’ll need to use it with some kind of support. Joby offers it in bundles with various small tripods and stands, and I used the Handypod Mobile Lock kit. This includes a small plastic tripod, whose sculpted and textured legs allow it to double up as an unusually comfortable handle. You also get a sprung clamp that will accommodate smartphones at least 10cm wide, which can also be used to secure a powerbank.
Joby is offering the Beamo Ring Light in several bundles from its web shop, which add various combinations of tripod and phone holder, with the most comprehensive kit even including a microphone for £139.85. They’re sensible enough combinations, but don’t offer any price saving over buying the various products separately.
Joby Beamo Ring Light 12”: Our Verdict
As long as you have realistic expectations of what it can do, this is a well-built light that performs well. It delivers attractively diffuse illumination and provides good control over its output. And for £25, you can’t really go wrong.