If you’re looking for the best ring light you can buy in 2021, the choice across the market right now is huge. There are lots of different options from cheap imports to high-end professional-level ring lights that promise to offer all things to all people.
Sitting somewhere in the middle is the Joby Beamo Ring Light, which is available at a reasonable (if not super cheap) price, but gives you the confidence that it’s coming from a reputable brand.
Ring lights come in useful for both stills and movie creation, but as the Beamo is aimed at vloggers and content creation, it’s likely that those with a penchant for TikTok, YouTube et al will be drawn towards this simple-to-use device.
Designed to provide flattering and even lighting, ring lights are a useful addition to any vloggers kit, with the Beamo offering a number of key specifications that should appeal to lots of different users. More on that later.
Joby Beamo Ring Light 12” Review: Design and Handling
Setting up the Beamo Ring Light 12” is super-easy and straightforward, which is good news for anyone who doesn’t have advanced knowledge of lighting and lighting systems.
You can buy the Beamo as a standalone light, but it’s also sold in a number of different kits designed to appeal to different types of users. You’ll need something to mount the ring light on, such as a tripod or light stand, so if you don’t buy it as part of the kit - bear that in mind.
At the bottom of the ring light is a standard 1/4” tripod thread which you can use to attach the light to a stand or tripod of your choice - the light won’t stand up by itself if you have something in the middle of it (such as your smartphone), but you could balance it on something else such as a shelf if you really wanted to.
Ideally, however, the ring is designed to accommodate whatever you’re recording with in the middle of it. It’s ideal for smartphones, but it can also be used with small cameras such as premium compacts and mirrorless options.
As well as the tripod mount on the bottom of the ring light, there’s also a further two screw mounts at the bottom of the interior of the ring light, as well as a cold shoe, giving you good cope to mount whatever device you like inside here. There are also three further cold shoes at the 3, 9 and 12 o clock position of the ring light, giving you scope to use additional accessories, such as microphones.
You’ll need to connect the Beamo to a power source via the attached USB cable. You can either plug it into a portable power bank, a socket plugged into the mains or another device with a USB output, such as a laptop computer - making it useful for streaming, and moving around wherever you need to go.
On the USB cable, there’s a control box for adjusting the settings of the light - there’s three different colour temperatures to choose from, plus 10 levels of light intensity, depending on how much light you need to throw onto the scene. The simplicity of the light is one of its most appealing factors - you simply plug it in and you can start using it straight away.
Joby Beamo Ring Light 12” Review: Features
As the name suggests, the Beamo Ring Light 12” has a 12-inch diameter, putting it at the midpoint of ring light sizes, making it a versatile all-rounder that is neither too small to light up anything bigger than close-up subjects, nor too big to be difficult to transport.
It’s also lightweight enough to carry around with ease, weighing in at just 330g. A carry case is supplied in the box to make it even easier and convenient to transport.
The stated light output is 400 lumens, with three different selectable colour temperatures ranging between 3000-5600. If that doesn’t mean much to you (and why would it), you essentially get a very warm light, a slightly warm light and a light more akin to daylight. The light can also be dimmed in 10 different steps, ranging from barely visible to quite a high brightness - though its effectiveness is most obvious when using the light in darker conditions.
You’ll need a 5V/2A Power Supply to use the ring light, which isn’t supplied in the box. However, as it’s compatible with either a wall adapter, a portable power bank or even your computer, then you shouldn’t be short of a place to plug it in. The portable power bank option makes sense for moving it around makes a lot of sense if you’re going to be live streaming from different areas, but being able to plug it into your computer is an easy solution for video calls and the like.
As already mentioned, you can buy the Beamo by itself, or as part of a number of kits that Joby supplies it in. These kits provide various types of stands for the light, as well as other accessories such as microphones. If you don’t want to use Joby-related accessories, the tripod mounts and cold-shoes are universal to allow the use of other brands and manufacturers.
Joby Beamo Ring Light 12”: Review: Performance
For an affordable and simple-to-use ring light, the Joby Beamo is a great addition to your kit if you’re a vlogger or content creator.
Having the different colour settings to choose from at the touch of a button, as well as the easy adjustment of light intensity produces some flattering results and gives you the look you want easily and quickly.
There are a couple of downsides to the ring light - the fact that it can’t be used as a flash, and instead provides continuous light only, might be off-putting to those who are looking for a ring light for stills work, rather than video. Also, as it’s a relatively low-powered light, it’s best for use in dimmer conditions, rather than being used as a fill light in bright or outdoor conditions.
Joby Beamo Ring Light 12”: Verdict
Although there are cheaper ring lights available, buying from somebody with a reputable name like Joby gives you the confidence that you’re getting a well-made product that should stand the test of time.
Setting up and using the Beamo is very straightforward, meaning anyone with very little knowledge of lighting products can get started with it straight away.
At around £25, the Joby Beamo Ring Light is an inexpensive proposition on its own, it’s only when you start veering towards the kits that it starts to become a more expensive outlay - but if you’re a dedicated vlogger or content creator, that’s likely to be par for the course.
If you already have something you can mount the Beamo to, such as an existing tripod or tabletop stand, it exists at a price point that represents extremely good value.