Not long ago, mobile phones were judged by their sound quality. Nowadays, phones are judged by their image quality. “Can you hear me now?” has been replaced by “Your phone has how many lenses?” But while image quality continues to improve in quantum leaps, the lighting systems built into our mobile communication devices are “quaint” at best.
Your mobile device undoubtedly has a flash or LED lighting system built into it, but in terms of using it as a flattering, photogenic wash of light, save your phone’s LED lamp for the next time you need to light your way out of a burning building.
The following lighting accessories are designed to expand and enhance the lighting quality of stills and videos captured with mobile devices. The color temperature of these devices is invariably daylight (give or take a few hundred degrees Kelvin). Depending on the model, some allow you to adjust the color temperature of the lights to fit the occasion. And yes, they’re all available at B&H Photo.
The iblazr 2 LED Flash for Smartphones and Tablets is a simple device that slips onto devices 0.24 to 0.37" thick. The rectangular iblazr 2 LED Flash for Smartphones and Tablets features four LEDs that, together, output up to 300 Lux of light at a 75-degree beam angle.
Connectivity is via Bluetooth and the color temperature can be adjusted from 3200K to 5600K. Other features include red-eye reduction and free downloadable apps for iOS and Android devices. A mount clip, key clasp, and diffuser are included.
The Lume Cube Kit with Single Lume Cube & Smartphone Mount has been getting oodles of attention since it was first announced. Despite its size, the Lume Cube outputs 1 to 1,500 lumens of continuous 6000K light, along with flash. With Bluetooth control of more than 5 units using iOS and Android apps, the Lume Cube attaches to your iPhone or Android with the included Lume Cube Smartphone Mount.
At full power, the Lume Cube lasts up to 20 minutes, or up to two hours at half power. Other features include 1/8000-second flash durations and waterproof functionality down to 100' under the waves.
Another Lume Cube kit option is the Lume Cube Smartphone Video Kit (Gunmetal Gray) , which includes a Smartphone Video Mount Handle in place of a smartphone mount. The specs for the Lume Cube are one and the same.
Another cube-shaped mobile light is the IC One Two The Qubie - Bluetooth Micro LED Strobe and Video Light, a 4 x 4 x 4" 5600K LED fresnel continuous light source that can bang out 1/8000-second bursts of light at up to 15 fps. Power output can be adjusted from full to 1/128-power with up to 45 minutes of continuous light or 800 flashes at full power or up to 3,000 flashes at 1/128-power. Multiple units can be daisy-chained for additional power output.
Designed for use with an ALM mCAMLITE (sold separately), the ALM Mobile Light Rig Pack enables you to attach accessory light sources to mCAMULITEs. Included with each kit is an iBlazer 2 LED Flash for Smartphones and Tablets, and a light bracket with a ¼"-20 thread mount.
The Bescor LED-21 18-Watt Self Powered Smart Phone Light is as simple as it gets. Balanced for 5600K output, Bescor’s 18W LED-21 connects to your device via the headphone jack without interfering with the device’s audio output. A USB charger is included.
You get up to 45 minutes of continuous 5200K light from the 32-LED lamp head of the Godox LEDM32 Smartphone Mini Light. Providing an output of about 120 Lux at a distance of 1.6' from your subject, the Godox LEDM32 clips directly to your smartphone, and features an adjustable brightness control that can be triggered via optical remote.
The Xuma Mobile LED Light Set is brutish by smartphone lighting standards. It contains four dozen LEDs that collectively output 46 lumens of even illumination for up to four hours on a charge. There’s a choice of three lighting modes (High, Low, and Pulse) and five mounting options. A suction-cup mount, phone clip, 3.5mm plug mount, 10.5" USB-Micro-USB charging cable, cold-shoe mount with ¼"-20 threads, and a warming filter are included.
The Yongnuo YN06 Smartphone LED Flash is a small, though rather elegant lighting device that can output up to 30 minutes of continuous daylight-balanced (5500K) light, or about 1,000 flashes. Yongnuo’s circular light source is small enough to carry in your pocket when not in use.
If you prefer a wireless flash option, the Godox A1 Wireless Flash for Smartphone is a compact, 6000K flash with a guide number of 26.6' @ ISO 100, 5 power settings (Full -1/16-power) and a recycling time of 2.5 seconds. The Godox A1 is powered by a 1000mAh rechargeable battery. All you need to do is download the free GodoxPhoto app and you’re good to go.
Another flash option from Godox is the Godox LEDM150 LED Smartphone Light. Features include adjustable brightness modes, a diffusion cover, fixed and L-brackets, and a rechargeable battery.
What’s small, simple, and clamps onto any smartphone or mobile device? Vivitar Universal Clip-On LED Light. Vivitar’s mini LED lightbank contains 21 LED bulbs, which are powered by a set of AAA batteries.
The Bower Smartphone LED Video Light delivers up to 18-hours of continuous light from its 50-LED array in a choice of eight brightness levels. Included with each lamp head are diffuser, warming, and cooling filters, a mount, a shoe mount, and a charging cable.
The tiniest light in the bunch is the XP PhotoGear Smartphone Ring Light, a small warm-white LED ring light that plugs into your smartphone’s headphone jack, and charges via USB cable. The lamp can be set to three brightness levels, and, in addition to black, it is also available in a choice of pink, green, and blue.
For more elaborate setups, a choice of lighting kits is available. The B&H Photo Video Basic Photo/Video Kit for Smartphones is designed for devices measuring 2.4 to 3.25". The lamp features 48 LED bulbs arranged in a rectangular array. It has three power settings (High, Low, and Blink) with a 46-lumen output and four hours of battery life. Also included are a 9.7" table pod, a warming filter, mounts, and a cleaning cloth.
In addition to a 10-bulb LED array that features three fill settings and brightness levels, UmAid’s 3-In-1 Light with Lens Kit also includes a choice of two lens options that clip onto your smartphones front or rear cameras—a macro lens that enables 15x magnification from less than 1" from your subject, and a wide-angle attachment. A USB cable and storage case is included.
If you’ve used LED and/or flash accessories with your smartphone or tablet we might have missed—especially one that you really like—let us know in the Comments section, below!