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Low-Light-Loving iPhone Photogs Get Ring of Fire

Low-Light-Loving iPhone Photogs Get Ring of Fire

After 20 design iterations, Lightstrap has a manufacturer lined up, and the product -- including packaging -- is ready to go into production. It works with any camera app on the iPhone 5 and 5s. The built-in battery will last for 500 photos or 30 minutes of video. There are seven brightness levels and seven color temperatures, from warm and yellowy to cold and bluish.

By Chris Maxcer MacNewsWorld ECT News Network
12/11/13 5:00 AM PT

The challenge for any fun-loving youngster old enough to party in dark places is that the quality delivered by iPhone cameras just doesn't match up with the memories of the moment: Smiling faces are washed, vague or blurry, and the color tones, it seems, are never what your mind remembers.

Of course, depending on the scope of low-light fun, the photo might be the only thing remembered -- just entirely after the fact.

Enter Lightstrap, a new project by Brick & Pixel looking for funds on Kickstarter. Lightstrap is basically a snap-on case for the iPhone that boasts a controllable ring of light around the outer edges.

Triggered by the action of the built-in iPhone 5/5s flash, this giant ring of light lets your iPhone deliver crisp, vibrant shots worthy of your low-light moments. Think restaurants, bars, events, campfires on the beach, and searching for lost car keys anywhere along the way.

In addition to still photos, Lightstrap works with video.

And the light? Blinding? While it's 10 times brighter than the iPhone 5s flash, the subjects in the promotional video didn't seem to be struggling with it. Plus, it's adjustable: Two buttons let you control the intensity of the light as well as its warmth or tone.

There are seven brightness levels and seven color temperatures, from warm and yellowy to cold and bluish. If the angles are all wrong, you can take the Lightstrap case off your iPhone and use it to light a scene -- up close and personal, of course -- from a spot a few feet away from the iPhone's camera. This is actually a pretty cool idea.

The ring design, by the way, is based on lighting tools used by fashion photographers.

Ready to Shine

Brick & Pixel in California has successfully helped produce medical devices, and its design abilities have already moved Lightstrap beyond the prototype stage. After 20 design iterations, Lightstrap has a manufacturer lined up, and the product -- including packaging -- is ready to go into production. It works with any camera app on the iPhone 5 and 5s. The built-in battery will last for 500 photos or 30 minutes of video.

The project pledge levels vary, with the best deal already snapped up by early birds: a Lightstrap for US$87. For $97, you can get a Lightstrap plus access to Brick & Pixel's behind-the-scenes blog. For $597 or more, you get one Lightstrap and your name printed on the product packaging and in the companion app.

Estimated delivery is April 2014.

Will It Ship?

Right now, interest seems solid with more than 530 backers and more than $66,000 in pledges and 22 days to go.

The challenge? The project's goal is a cool $250,000.


MacNewsWorld columnist Chris Maxcer has been writing about the tech industry since the birth of the email newsletter, and he still remembers the clacking Mac keyboards from high school -- Apple's seed-planting strategy at work. While he enjoys elegant gear and sublime tech, there's something to be said for turning it all off -- or most of it -- to go outside. To catch him, take a "firstnamelastname" guess at WickedCoolBite.com.


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