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As streaming continues to grow, content creators are often looking for new ways to amplify their streaming game. When starting out, it is reasonable to have a low-key setup. A half decent headset will suffice for most newbies. However, as your streaming game grows you’ll want to take your tech to the next level. One of the ways to do that, is to ensure you have good lighting for a crisp image. As it turns out, the Elgato Ring Light has hit the shelves, looking to provide a new option in this area.

The product has sold out in many places globally, and it comes with a rather large price tag. So, is the light all it’s cracked up to be? We’ve been testing one out for a couple weeks, and we’re here with the low down on the Elgato Ring Light.

Setting up your Elgato Ring Light

One of the things I dislike about streaming is all the setting up that’s required, and I don’t mean when just getting started. Whenever a new piece of tech arrives there’s always a setup procedure involved. Some tech takes forever to setup, and you can never get it quite right.

With the Elgato Ring Light however, there’s no worries in that department. Unboxing the light for the first time, I was a little concerned as the instructions were huge! They were long and extensive, filled with lots of pictures. But, it seems like this was just for show. The setup was rather simple, and I barely referred to the instructions at all.

Elgato Ring Light
Don’t be intimidated by the crazy amount of instructions.

Unlike some ring lights on the market, the Elgato doesn’t come with a floor stand. Instead, it attaches to your desk. This suited my setup nicely and gave me extra room under my desk. If a floor stand is your go to, then no worries. You can purchase an Elgato one at an additional cost.

Attaching the light to my desk was easy enough, just like adding a boom arm. Then, it was just a matter of screwing the light to the desk stand, plugging in the power, and presto! It works. It was a really simple and easy setup. Although, I did have a little bit of trouble adjusting the height until I worked out you just need to unwind the neck a tad more.

Software setup

It would not be an Elgato product, without accompanying software. The Elgato Ring Light runs on the Elgato Control Center. If you’ve used any other Elgato lights before then you’ll be familiar with this program. If not, the software is a compact, minimalist affair. Download and install the Control Center, click Add Accessory, and then pair your light through WiFi.

It’s also easy to add and control multiple lights with the Control Center.

Once you’ve paired your light, you can control it from your computer, or even your phone. Yes, there’s a phone app for the Control Centre. If you are using an Elgato stream deck like the XL, or even the mini, you can control your light from your deck too. There’s a built in option to turn each light on and off. This is super handy when you’re streaming and you don’t want to get out of your chair. Yes, I can be a bit lazy sometimes.

Lighting quality: see the difference

Okay, so it’s easy to setup and use, but does it actually make a difference? I tested out a number of different settings and environments to see what works.

When it comes to showing yourself on stream, a decent webcam with high quality will do the trick, preferably 720p or higher. Using good lighting however, you can achieve a clear and crisp image without upgrading your camera. Whether it’s photography or film, light is key to creating a good image. The Elgato Ring Light delivers on high quality lighting.

Unlike many other ring lights on the market, the Elgato light doesn’t show its individual LEDs. Instead, you see uniform light, which disperses evenly. This helps to create an evenly lit surrounding environment. When streaming, you can really see the difference between having no light and having light. Just be sure not to raise it too high or you’ll look like a ghost!

Stream setup (1080p webcam) with no light on. The image is slightly grainy and the colors look dull.

Elgato Ring Light in use
Same camera as above. The Elgato Ring Light is on and gives the frame more life and color.

Super high contrast (100% lighting) can make you look washed out. Experiment with different levels of lighting for your environment, as every room will be slightly different.

Lights don’t just help create an even environment for a real life setting. If you’re using a green screen, it’s even more important to have uniform light. Since you’ll be using a chroma key, you want your green screen to be the same green across the whole screen. Light helps create that uniform look. See the difference when using a green screen with a light, compared to using no additional light.

Green screen with no light on. I almost look like I’m sinking into the background of the image.

Elgato Ring Light green screen
Green screen with Elgato Ring Light on. I look more vibrant and the edges around my jumper are more crisp.

Is it worth it?

My verdict is that this light is amazing. I’ve used other ring lights before and have even been known to use the torch on my phone to help create better lighting. In contrast, the Elgato Ring Light makes everything so simple and easy to setup. However, it comes with a price tag.

These lights aren’t cheap. If you’ve used any Elgato products before, you’ll know they sit at the higher end of the pricing scale. The Ring Light starts at about $249 USD ($329 AUD), depending on the supplier. It might be expensive, but I think it’s worth it for someone who is building an audience, either for streaming, YouTube content, or photography. It really ups the production value of your videos, and will provide a better experience for viewers.