Smartphone cameras are great for capturing that spur of the moment memory, but even with a built-in flash, after-dark snaps can look pretty grim. The iblazr team out of the Ukraine has developed a fully synchronized LED flash module that plugs into the audio jack of a phone or tablet. It's been designed to eliminate the white- or red-eye effect, and packs its own battery so it won't leech from the host device.
The iblazr sports four Cree LEDs that beam through custom 60° optics at up to 200 Lux. The unit benefits from its own 200 mAh Li-Pol battery, which is reported to be good for 1,000 flashes or up to 40 minutes of full strength constant light (or three hours in battery-saving mode). It comes supplied with a flexible USB cable that not only provides a means of charging the battery, but can also be manipulated into various useful positions (to provide illumination for after-hours typing on a laptop keyboard, for example).
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According to the developers, it's the first portable flash module capable of fully synchronizing with iOS and Android smartphones and tablets. In addition to outputting more light than device-based flash modules, the iblazr can also bring flash photography to mobile devices that don't have their own units. It can also help stop your subjects looking like they've been possessed by some evil entity.
"The closer the flash is situated to the camera lens axis the stronger the effect of the red-eye," explains iblazr founder and CEO Vkad Tislenko. "iblazr is situated much further from the camera than native smartphone LEDs. The app also reduces the red-eye effect even further, by providing a short amount of light before the flash which also prevents the red-eye effect."
A free proprietary app for iOS and Android platforms has been developed that allows the unit to sync with the camera shutter on the device. There's an included filter for enhancing photos taken via the app. It also helps users to choose which camera to use with iblazr (front or back), and to take control of the intensity of the light thrown out. The team says that the app is constantly being updated to build on existing functionality and bring new features to users.
After nearly a year of design fine-tuning and prototyping, the iblazr team has taken its design to Kickstarter for the final push toward production. All of the early bird pledge levels have gone, so backers will now need to stump up at least US$39 for a black or white edition.
If plastic is not classy enough for you, an anodized aluminum iblazr that's 12 percent more powerful when used in constant light mode is also among the numerous options. The campaign is due to close on September 3, with delivery estimated for December.
The iblazr is overviewed in the pitch video below.