This is the sixth installment of the seven-part series of posts on Manfrotto’s KLYP System. Here are links to previous posts:
Part 1: Overview of Attachment Lenses
Part 2: Taking a closer look at the Fisheye Lens
Part 3: Taking a closer look at the Wide Angle Lens
Part 4: Taking a closer look at the Telephoto Lenses
Part 5: Taking a closer look at the Macro Lens
This post will be taking a closer look at Manfrotto’s SMT LED light.
The SMT LED light from Manfrotto is portable, lightweight and super simple to use. It has a luminance of 225 lumens and displays a 60˚ beam angle. It’s perfect for short-throw distances in shooting small product objects.
The high quality LED’s ensure vivid colors and natural skin tones (for when you are shooting people). The LED light is also dimmable to three different levels of intensity and it can be easily charged with a USB connector. It comes with a built-in tripod mount, provided with a ¼” thread at the bottom, which ensures great stability to any tabletop tripod.
It’s Part of the KLYP Kit
The SMT LED light is part of the Manfrotto KLYP System. You can use it on or off the camera case. Using the LED light on the camera case is when you want more direct light. You generally use the LED off-camera when you are trying to sculpt or shape your subject more.
Why Not Just Use the iPhone LED Flash?
There are three strong reasons for using the KLYP LED flash over the iPhone flash. One, the KLYP LED is considerably stronger and more powerful (225 lumens). Two, the iPhone LED is fixed but you can use the KLYP LED ‘off camera’ for a more modeled look. Three, the KLYP LED is dimmable to get you the exact light intensity you want in your shot.
Most LED Flash Units are Daylight Balanced
Most LED flash units you find, whether for DSLR or mobile, are daylight balanced. In other words, these units have the same color temperature as daylight. This is especially great when you’re shooting outdoors, in natural light, and just want to use the KLYP LED as a fill light. Voilà!
LEDs are Soft Lights
What I have always personally loved about using LED lights in small product photography is the quality of these lights. They are, generally speaking, ‘soft’ as opposed to ‘hard’ lighting. They warp around the objects you are shooting so beautifully and minimize hard shadows.
My Own Experience
I carry three or four of these LED lights in my camera bag. And I also make sure I carry 2 Manfrotto Pixi Mini Tripods. It’s like having a small, mini table-top lighting system wherever I go. Because LED are continuous-source lights, you get exactly what you’re eyes see. Supplemental LED lights help to lower a scenes contrast and dynamic range, making it a lot easier for the iPhone camera to record a pleasing image.
You Can Use Multiple LED Lights on Same Scene
What I really love about these portable LEDs (especially when attached to a Pixi Mini tripod) is that I can move them around – even aim each source to different intensities. So I can get just the right lighting combination I’m looking for. The same sort of approach I would take if I were shooting in a studio environment.
Try It…You’ll Like It
If you have never shot with any sort of auxiliary LED lights, it takes a while to get used to using them, but once you do, you’ll be hooked. And find these portable and powerful beauties a nice lighting complement to making your iPhone photography really stand out.
Jack Hollingsworth is a world-renowned travel, portrait, stock and iPhone photographer. His love for mobile photography is infectious. Since his conversion to mobile at the Crane Hotel on the island of Barbados in 2011, he has traveled to over 20 countries and shot over 400,000 images with his iPhone. He’s a regular contributor to the Camera+ blog (SnapSnapSnap.photos) and he is currently authoring a book on iPhone Photography (eBook and print). Jack is a popular keynote speaker at mobile photography conferences and events and his approach to mobile is principally photographic in nature. He lives in Austin, Texas with his soul mate and two beautiful teenage daughters.