After a profitable Kickstarter marketing campaign, a Ukrainian startup is seeking to deliver a completely new sort of product images lighting to market. It’s a set of smartphone-connected LED panels referred to as the Photon Light Module System, and assuming the corporate behind it – PhotonLMS – delivers, it might change how photographers take into consideration gentle containers.
PhotonLMS simply launched a second crowdfunding marketing campaign by way of Indiegogo. While the complete launch gained’t occur till mid-2020, PhotonLMS instructed Digital Trends it hopes to start delivery to backers as early as December 2019, and despatched us a working prototype to check. The prototype isn’t function full, however nonetheless had me hoping this gentle field makes it to the end line.
Building a greater gentle field
There isn’t a lot to an old style gentle field. It’s a field of diffusion materials with one facet open to the digital camera. Used for product images, it softens the sunshine from any supply outdoors the field, be it knowledgeable flash or a fundamental family lamp. This simplicity has made the standard gentle field a no brainer funding for DIY crafters seeking to show their wares on-line by way of the likes of Etsy and eBay.
But a light-weight field is a blunt software that’s not simple to regulate. That’s the place the Photon Light Module System is available in. Instead of a single diffuser field, the Photon makes use of a matrix of LED panels, every divided into 25 independently controllable sections, that may be toggled on and off from the PhotonLMS cell app. That grants way more management over the look of the lighting.
Unsurprisingly, it’s additionally costlier. For a full set of three panels, Kickstarter backers shelled out $599, whereas a single panel went for $219. By comparability, you may choose up a fundamental gentle field with a few lights for round $50 on Amazon. PhotonLMS is banking on its promise of elevated flexibility and higher high quality to promote its product, and for the correct buyer, it’s going to most likely work.
Using the Photon LMS
I used to be supplied a single prototype panel for the aim of this text, and whereas three panels are required for the complete impact, it was sufficient to offer me an thought of the way it works. In reality, I used to be surprisingly happy by the outcomes I achieved with only one panel.
The panel has a built-in Wi-Fi transmitter to connect with your cellphone (Bluetooth can be deliberate for the ultimate model). Once you’re linked, you may open the app to see a show of three panels, every divided into 25 sections. As talked about, I solely had one panel of the three, which confused the app. It labored as if I had all three.
You can faucet any particular person part to show it on, and the panel responds immediately. You may also slide your finger throughout sections to rapidly flip an entire row on or off — however it’s a must to choose both the “tap” or “slide” enter mode. Both can’t be energetic on the similar time, which is annoying.
If you’re utilizing your cellphone because the digital camera, you may snap photos proper from the Photon app. There’s even added performance for cellphone photographers within the type of an “auto shooting” mode that cycles by way of varied lighting patterns and mechanically takes an image utilizing every. You can choose the very best shot later with out having to manually create a number of totally different patterns and check them. If you don’t have expertise working with gentle, it is a nice technique to get began.
The actual perk of the Photon LMS is its skill to dial within the exact gentle you want for a specific product. Even with only one panel, I used to be impressed with the various totally different seems I might obtain by toggling particular person sections on and off. You can steadiness foreground and background brightness, management reflections, reduce gentle again from overexposed areas, and extra. With a number of panels, the high quality tuning obtainable could be practically countless.
That’s to not say it’s excellent. In its present prototype stage, gentle sections may be turned on or off however can’tbe dimmed. PhotonLMS instructed us that dimmable LEDs, together with adjustable colour temperature and full RGB colour, are within the works — however gained’t make it into the present model.
It’s cool, however do you want it?
For many, $600 is a troublesome ask for a chunk of photograph tools. While the Photon LMS can definitely yield higher outcomes, the typical Etsy vendor might discover a cheap gentle field does the job nicely sufficient to promote their merchandise.
While I used to be impressed with how simple it was to customise the sunshine patterns by way of the app, it’s possible you’ll solely discover a distinction from a small fraction of the full attainable patterns, relying on what you’re taking pictures. If you may have a single sort of product — say, jewellery — you’re more likely to arrive on one or two setups that work for nearly each merchandise in your stock. Yes, the Photon LMS makes it simpler to dial in these setups in comparison with a conventional gentle field, however when you’re there, you don’t actually need its flexibility any longer.
It’s an attention-grabbing new tackle an outdated idea that would elevate the standard of your product photographs.
The Photon LMS turns into extra necessary, although, in the event you’re taking photographs of many various merchandise. With the flexibility to scale in each dimension and form, it could gentle all the pieces from a pair of sun shades to a pair of pants. And with adjustable brightness, temperature, and even full RGB management hopefully coming to future variations, the Photon LMS will definitely outperform a conventional gentle field.
That is, in fact, assuming it makes it to market. PhotonLMS plans to launch in June 2020 to make sure it has time to ramp up manufacturing, however that is the corporate’s first product and crowdfunding marketing campaign. The reality it despatched us a working prototype for testing is an efficient signal (the corporate additionally exhibited on the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this yr), however take into account the dangers concerned with crowdfunding earlier than you again the challenge.
We shoot a variety of product photographs right here at Digital Trends, and we’re excited by the promise of the Photon Light Module System. It’s an attention-grabbing new tackle an outdated idea that would elevate the standard of your product images.