Off-camera flash photography with smartphones is officially a thing. Nova, the portable, wireless, crowdfunded phone flash, has been released.
Whereas previously indirect flash with a cameraphone required certain xenon-toting handsets or buggy hacks, the Nova makes the discipline accessible to a much larger number of people. DSLRs and compact system cameras are getting smaller, but a smartphone flash promises to be always with you if you carry your phone around and don’t mind slipping the light into your pocket or wallet.
Compared to your phone’s built-in flash, an external one such as the Nova, held off to one side, creates more depth with less washed-out skin tones and possibly softer shadows. Since you can put it anywhere (within 20 feet) and adjust it, there is much more room for creativity in your photography.
The LED accessory works over Bluetooth v4, connecting to the Nova Camera app, which is available from the App Store and Google Play for iOS and Android, respectively. Through the app you can take photos with synchronised flash, apply effects, change the flash intensity and adjust the “Dual Tone” LEDs to provide warmer or cooler output.
With Kickstarter backers having their devices shipped last month, now the Nova is out of the “pre-order” stage and available on the open market. Third-party distributors include Amazon, Photojojo and BiteMyApple.co. One unit will set you back $59.99 while the app is free.
As Bluetooth 4 support isn’t universal, the Nova is currently specified to work with the iPhone 4S, iPad 3, iPad Mini and iPod Touch 5th-gen onwards, as well as the HTC One, Samsung Galaxy S4, Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4, Nexus 7 and Nexus 10. Other devices might work too, depending on the hardware. You can make your own applications using the open source software development kit.
Now, if wireless isn’t all that appealing to you then an alternative wired-up experience can be found in the form of the iblazr smartphone flash.
For more information, visit Nova’s newly-relaunched web site. Is cameraphone photography the future? Will you give one of these gadgets a go? Let us know what you think!
Stay tuned for the Lighting Rumours review.