Taking pictures with your phone at night, inside the house, or worse, in a dark environment like a club is usually an exercise in futility. LED flash units, which are fitted to most phones, just aren’t strong enough to effectively light up most subjects. While Nokia has come to the rescue with hardware such as the Lumia 1020 and its xenon flash, it’s not much good if you own an iPhone.
The Lightstrap is a new product up for funding through Kickstarter, which elevates the iPhone’s low-light photo ability way beyond even the most capable camera phones, something it does by incorporating a massive flash into a handy case. But this isn’t just another single LED bulb, as the Lightstrap is what’s known as a ring light. The LED array produces a diffused, soft light to bring out more realistic colors and skin tones, while avoiding blur and grain.
Photographers will have more control over their pictures using the Lightstrap too, as it comes with a color control with six different settings, and seven different brightness levels. It’s all controlled using a set of buttons on the shell, and three LED lights show the flash’s status.
Overall, you’ll get a flash which is ten times brighter than the standard flash on the iPhone 5S, and fifteen times brighter than the iPhone 5. Naturally, the Lightstrap has a battery inside, which is good for around 500 pictures and 30 minutes of video, and although it’s primarily a case for the phone, it can be taken off and used independently too. What’s not immediately obvious is how the Lightstrap works. It’s compatible with any camera app for the iPhone, and is apparently triggered by the phone’s flash, but there’s no Bluetooth connection or dedicated app for the Lightstrap.
According to the Kickstarter blurb, the Lightstrap is ready to be sent to manufacturing, and provided the goal is met, shipping will begin in April next year. The campaign has only just begun, and it has a lofty $245,000 target, of which $10,000 has been raised at the time of writing. It’s not a cheap piece of kit either, as each Lightstrap will set you back $97, or if you’re quick, $87 in an earlybird special.
If you’re frustrated by your iPhone’s shortcomings when taking pictures at night, then you may want to take a closer look at the Lightstrap.