Flash Shell is a great accessory for iPhone photographers.
They say the best camera is the one you have with you, well, it is with this in mind that the developers at iStabilizer created the Xenon Flash for iPhone. The device is a pocket-sized professional Xenon flash for smartphones that is designed to improve photo quality by providing a true Xenon flash for mobile phones. The flash reduces graininess, noise, and shadows caused by low light or even backlight.
The Xenon Flash is designed to clip onto your iPhone and looks a lot like a seashell. It is built to work with current version of the iPhone. I couldn’t find a compatibility list, but because it fit my iPhone 7, I know that it will also work with the iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus. I did notice that it will only clamp onto the phone if it does not We received a prototype model (iStabilizer is currently working on funding the flash through Kickstarter) so there is no packaging to speak of. The company did let us know that the retail packaging will include a USB cable, hook screw, storage bag, and a product manual in addition to the flash. In order to use the flash, you have to download the companion app – Flash Shell (available in the iOS App Store).
Set-up is really very easy. You put the flash into Bluetooth mode and when you open the app, the flash automatically pairs to the phone. It’s probably one of the easiest Bluetooth pairings I’ve ever done. The app itself looks very much like the regular iOS camera, which really makes it easy for users to understand how to use it right away. You have the ability to turn the Xenon flash on/off and you can turn the regular LED flash on/off, too. One feature of the Flash Shell app that is quite unique and necessary for the Xenon flash is control over the distance setting. It’s important to judge/measure the distance of your subject from your flash because you can easily blow it out – as seen below. I intentionally set the flash to a distance I knew was incorrect to see what kind of picture I would get. You will notice that the further distance is a lot brighter than the one that was only 1ft away. The light intensity is greater with the 3ft distance because the flash is trying to make up for the distance to the subject.
The second set of testing I did is was to take a photograph without the flash, with the Flash Shell, and with the iPhone Flash. I found that without the flash the lighting was very uneven and there was a lot of reflective surfaces. With the iPhone Flash, the direct light was just a bit too intense. You can see from the example below that there is a hot spot on the white figure in the picture. It is better than no flash at all, but not nearly as good as a photo as the Flash Shell. There are still some darker spots in the photo, but the light in the photo is even and the reflections are diminished.
I really enjoy using this tiny flash accessory. The Flash Shell is the perfect add-on for the iPhone photographer. The flash has the option for you to mount the shell onto a small tripod. I mounted it on one for some testing and I actually think it works best in this way. Mounting it onto a tripod also gives you the flexibility to use the Flash Shell with more types of phones.
The iStabilizer Xenon Flash for iPhone is currently being funded through a Kickstarter campaign that still has 10 days left on its cycle. To learn more, visit kickstarter.com.