Lighting is an important aspect of photography and videography and is key to capturing a great image. Too much light exposure, and you’ll have an image that is whited-out. Not enough light, will leave you with an image too dark. So, depending on the type of image you are looking to capture, good lighting and exposure is imperative. After a very successful campaign on Kickstarter, Rift Labs is looking to provide the ideal lighting solution for all of your photography/videography needs and its finally available to the masses. The little device is called: The Kick – a photo and video light designed for your iPhone and DSLR’s. The street price is ($179) and is very useful for photographers who are turning to their Apple iPhone as a primary photo-capturing device. The Kick has a whole host of features that include control-connectivity to your smartphone device and custom color selections, differentiating it from other light devices.
The Kick is a handy little device that adds light to your close-up/at-night iPhone/Android photos and videos. Its light enough to take with you anywhere, anytime and fits snugly on to an Apple iPhone 4/4s/5. Using the Kick is quick and easy. First, lets get the Kick ready to go by turning on the device via the Power Button. Then, turn on ‘Wi-FI’ via the infinite button. Once you’ve done that, lets connect to the device by iPhone/Android smartphone. You’ll want to connect to your Kick by Wi-Fi connection, so go to Settings -> Wi-Fi -> and select ‘Rift Labs‘. After that, fire up the Kick App [iTunes link]. At this point, you’re pretty much ready to go (for full step-by-step directions, go here). From here (and this is where the Kick lighting device really shines) you’ll be able to use a full spectrum of light colors to illuminate your subject, where you can choose to either manually select from the Kick App’s default palettes or, by choosing colors from your own photos and (get this) your own videos. There are also special effects like ‘lightning storms‘ and ‘sine waves‘ among others to choose from.
I think its worth noting that the Kick is an ideal lighting companion for your DSLR and, if you’ve got an adapter, fits perfectly in the hotshoe, providing great fill-light on close-up photos and/or videos. And, if you shoot at night/dark places, the Kick will give provide (acceptable) lighting at up to 10′.
The Kick is made of plastic and I find myself treating it a little bit more delicately than my other lights. Maybe its because I’m just too cautious and don’t want to break my new shiny toy. The area where the light emits is more durable and with about a half hour of usage, the LEDs don’t feel like its gonna burn my fingers. The buttons move around a bit, but feel secure. And the tripod mount looks like it’ll last me a long time. If you treat the light well and are mindful of the delicate electronics inside, then the Kick will last you for quite some time.
Overall, the Kick is a good lighting solution for your smartphone and DSLR if you need a good light at night and good fill-light for close-up shots. The variety of colors you’ll be able to get from the Kick w/out having to use any gels/filters also makes this an invaluable light to use. The only caveat for the Kick is that, depending on the unit you get, you may come across some issues. The light may not work, may not charge, may not talk to your smartphone. However, the support you get from Rift Labs is exceptional and you’ll get someone to help solve your problem right away. In the end, I really get a kick of The Kick and I look forward to taking it out on more projects.
Street price: ($179)
★★★★½ out of ★★★★★