Your phone’s flash has nothing on the powerful, pocketable Lume Cube

    Hillary Grigonis/Digital Developments

    Trendy smartphones put prime quality cameras in your pocket, however discovering equally moveable lighting is usually a problem. The bottom Lume Cube is a photograph and video mild that’s constructed to be as moveable as a cellphone, constructed round a tiny however shiny LED supply that’s appropriate for plenty of totally different topics. Whereas the Lume Dice can be utilized as a steady mild with any digicam, from DSLRs to GoPros, it additionally features as a flash when paired with an iPhone. The Lume Cube Creative Lighting Kit for iPhone (examined) provides a handful of sunshine modifiers and a clamp for mounting the sunshine to the cellphone.

    So simply how a lot can an LED mild not a lot bigger than a golf ball affect your photographs? Properly, don’t anticipate it to overpower the solar, however it’s as versatile as it’s small. From lighting up a vlog to creating snapshots pop, the little Lume Dice makes a huge impact on cellphone images.

    Small, however powerful

    Even contained in the elective housing, the Lume Dice measures lower than two inches on both sides with none modifiers hooked up, nevertheless it’s surprisingly sturdy. The corporate says it will possibly survive underwater as much as 100 toes deep — a restrict we didn’t try to check — and it simply survived shallower dunks. From the steel housing to the laborious plastic window defending the LED, this mild seems like it will possibly deal with a good quantity of abuse. The one downfall of all this sturdiness is the screw-off cap that hides entry to the micro USB port. This makes for a minor annoyance at any time when you have to cost the sunshine, however one which’s in all probability well worth the waterproofing.

    You possibly can management the Lume Dice through the cell app over Bluetooth, however fortunately that’s not the one possibility. Two buttons on the highest of the sunshine let cycle by the various brightness ranges and change between flash and video modes. The buttons can he held to set off secondary features to activate the optical sensor mode or flip the unit off.

    Whereas the Lume Dice is on the market — and helpful — with none equipment, the iPhone package features a housing, modifying gels and diffusers, and a smartphone mount. A typical 1/Four-inch tripod thread might be discovered on the underside of the sunshine, too. The steel housing is required to connect the modifiers to the entrance of the sunshine, however in any other case isn’t obligatory.

    The modifiers are held in place by magnets, making it simple to swap them or stack a number of collectively to combine or intensify the results. The iPhone package contains three flat diffusers, a dome diffuser, and two warming gels.

    By utilizing diffusers, you will get natural-looking pictures the place the usage of flash isn’t apparent.

    The diffusers soften the sunshine in comparison with the customarily unflattering look of a naked flash, whereas the orange gels alter the colour steadiness to match the hotter tones of golden hour daylight or indoor incandescent lamps. Because of the magnetic mount, the gels can be utilized with the diffusers, however needless to say most mild output is decreased with every modifier that’s used.

    The included mounting clamp makes it simple to connect the Lume Dice straight to your cellphone for one-handed operation. It’s made with equally sturdy steel development and stretches to accommodate totally different cellphone sizes and circumstances, together with Plus-series iPhones. The power to make use of the sunshine off-camera is without doubt one of the Lume Dice’s perks, however if you simply want a easy, direct mild, the clamp is useful.

    The Lume Dice app

    Establishing the app is easy and painless because of Bluetooth. As soon as linked, the app has a handful of various settings. Tapping the Lume Dice emblem opens a fast menu the place you may swap between flash, fixed mild, or two totally different strobe modes. Brightness, in ten increments of 150 lumens, and red-eye discount can be set on this menu.

    Whereas you need to use any digicam app with the continual mild, solely the digicam contained in the Lume Dice app works with the flash mode. As a pleasant contact, switching to video mode inside the app routinely units the sunshine to steady. Utilizing the Lume Dice digicam is just like the iPhone’s native app: Faucet to focus and slide up and down to regulate publicity.

    A second menu incorporates comparable controls, however provides an underwater mode and an optical set off mode. Within the optical set off mode, the Lume Dice works as a slave flash. It seems to be for adjustments within the lighting and triggers the sunshine when a change is detected. For instance, it will possibly hearth when it sees the built-in flash on the iPhone hearth. Further settings are provided for utilizing the sunshine with a GoPro.

    The little mild that would

    Photographers with expertise working with mild know that huge sources create softer mild, whereas small sources create more durable mild. Which means smaller mild sources can have darker, extra apparent shadows with a more durable edge, somewhat than a gradual transition from highlights to shadows. One sort of sunshine isn’t essentially higher than the opposite — they every have their respective makes use of — however smooth mild is usually a fascinating impact, whereas harsh mild is usually a telltale signal of an affordable, naked flash. The Lume Dice is actually very small, in order you may think about, it’s not simple to keep away from it casting a harsh mild.

    Put it inside a wine glass, vase, mason jar — something with a two-inch opening — to realize some dramatic results.

    Designed for portability, it’s simply not doable to get the standard of sunshine from the Lume Dice that you may get from a robust studio strobe with a big smooth field. However the high quality of sunshine actually isn’t horrible and, at 1,500 lumens, is decently shiny.  By adjusting the depth and utilizing diffusers, you may nonetheless get natural-looking pictures the place the usage of flash isn’t apparent to the untrained eye.

    It must also work nicely at the side of an add-on macro lens for close-ups, as right here you may put the sunshine proper up near your topic the place its relative dimension — and due to this fact, softness — will improve.

    In non-macro conditions, the Lume Dice’s small dimension will make the sunshine harsher, nevertheless it’s additionally doable to create enjoyable lighting results by utilizing it off-camera, tucking it into locations the place a bigger mild merely wouldn’t match. Put it inside a wine glass, vase, mason jar — something with a minimum of a two-inch opening — to realize some dramatic results.

    Lighting is without doubt one of the trickiest points of images to study, however the Lume Dice makes for a comparatively easy introduction to it. Continuous lights are also good for beginners as a result of you may see how the sunshine impacts the shot earlier than you’re taking it, in contrast to with a flash.

    Pattern photographs with and with out the Lume Dice Hillary Grigonis/Digital Developments

    A flash actually has some advantages, reminiscent of freezing movement, however with the Lume Dice, we most popular to stay to fixed mild mode. Because the app has to speak with the flash through Bluetooth earlier than truly taking the image, it provides a big quantity of shutter lag between if you press the button and when the picture is definitely taken.

    This downside isn’t unique to the Lume Dice; it’s the character of Bluetooth, which simply isn’t as fast as a bodily connection or the wi-fi radio connections utilized in skilled off-camera flashes. The phone add-on cameras like the Sony QX1 had the identical downside. Whereas the delay can be a deadly flaw if the Lume Dice was flash-only, switching to steady mode is a simple resolution when a delay would imply lacking the second. Utilizing the continual mild on full energy for prolonged durations could make the sunshine run scorching and can drain the battery quicker. Battery life is rated for simply 30 minutes at full energy, however jumps to 2 hours at half energy.

    A inventive instrument for fanatics

    General, the Lume Dice performs nicely for such a small mild. It might probably’t overpower the solar like an expert flash, however it’s shiny sufficient to assist steadiness outside lighting and fill in in any other case harsh shadows. The first promoting level, nevertheless, is its capability so as to add some inventive depth at night time, indoors, and even underwater by utilizing it off-camera. Reasonably than routinely making your photos higher, it’s a lightweight that encourages inventive experimentation. As such, it will not be proper for everybody, however many cell photographers will like it.

    Fanatic cellphone photographers and motion cam customers will discover lots to like within the Lume Dice.

    Past being one of many smallest picture/video lights available on the market, the Lume Dice is the primary synchronized off-camera flash for cellphone photographers. Because of its portability and flexibility, it additionally opens up quite a lot of inventive lighting choices for DSLR and mirrorless digicam customers, too.

    As an iPhone flash, the sluggish response time of Bluetooth means it received’t at all times be usable (though, utilizing the optical slave mode might supply an acceptable various for some customers right here), however the Lume Dice is in any other case a wonderful inventive instrument for a lot of photographers who don’t need the majority of conventional lighting gear.

    Few lights pack in the identical variety of options in such a small profile and smartphone-friendly format. The LitraTorch is comparable in dimension and value, however doesn’t have Bluetooth or Wi-Fi for wi-fi management and is barely rated to 30 toes underwater. Whereas you could find cheaper however bigger smartphone video lights, they aren’t waterproof or app-enabled and sometimes aren’t as shiny.

    Lume Cube
    Hillary Grigonis/Digital Developments

    The Lume Dice, with none of the equipment, sells for $80. The corporate gives mounts for GoPros and drones to increase the sunshine’s versatility. The iPhone lighting package is an Apple Retailer unique and retails for $150, together with the sunshine, housing, smartphone mount, and adapters. That is maybe a tad expensive for the common individual, however fanatic cellphone photographers and motion cam customers will discover lots to like.

    Like add-on lenses, the Lume Dice provides customers the prospect to experiment creatively with their cellphone’s digicam, to push boundaries and produce distinctive content material in a easy and enjoyable manner with out the expense and bulk of bigger, devoted cameras and lighting gear.

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