WiFi flashguns control power, colour from a smartphone

A new brand of WiFi-enabled speedlights promises photographers the ability to control power and colour temperature remotely via a mobile app.

Fuldiu FD-H1 and FD-L1

An Shenzhen-based startup has launched a new brand of WiFi-enabled shoe-mount flashguns, Fuldiu, promising photographers the ability to control power levels and colour temperature remotely via a mobile app.

App Reel Ltd (Chinese: 笑话商) unveiled the innovative new system at a press conference in Shenzhen’s Shangri-la hotel, attended by a crowd of mostly Asia-based industry analysts and tech journalists. The assembled crowd were told that the new range of flashguns represent “what image-makers have wanted for years”.

Adjusting settings from a smartphone or tablet would save time and offer more creative control to photographers both in the studio and on location, the company claims. Conventional flashgun control systems, said an App Reel representative, “are so non-intuitive and behind the times you couldn’t make it up”, whereas the new Fuldiu WiFi system is “exactly the opposite”.

Falling into the ‘H’, ‘L’ and ‘S’ series, the speedlights range from the fully-featured Fuldiu Flash FD-H1 to the more economical FD-L1 and entry-level FD-S1 models. The H1 will have WiFi support and may be paired with a smartphone or tablet to adjust settings wirelessly on the fly. Power and colour adjustment will also be possible with the L1 — but only using the touchscreen control panel on the rear of the device — while the bare-bones S1 will have just brightness adjustment, using conventional buttons.

Fuldiu FD-H1 and FD-L1
Fuldiu FD-H1 (left) and FD-L1 flashes on display

None of the flashes has TTL exposure control or high-speed sync (HSS). Each has a metric guide number of 50 and a full-power recycle time of “3-4 seconds” running on four alkaline AA batteries. The H1 and L1 specified colour temperature goes from 3000-5600K while the S1 is fixed at 5600K.

Interestingly every light in the Fuldiu range will also have an LED modelling lamp built into the flash head. At only 2 watts in power, it may not be much use outdoors, though.

In a statement on their web site, the company said the free Fuldiu Android app – used to control the FD-H1 over WiFi – is already available and an iOS one “is in the works”. There was no word on current or future support for Windows Phone or Blackberry.

According to a company spokesman, “new features” are being added into the smartphone apps “all the time” and the API will be released to third-party developers to create their own apps “incorporating each new idea as… there’s one born every minute”.

Exact pricing of the flashes has not yet been officially announced but Chinese auction sites indicate the top-end ‘H’ series will retail at 800 CNY, (US$130; £85) with the ‘L’ and ‘S’ selling for less, assuming anybody goes for them. For more information, visit the manufacturer’s web site.

High-res images and more to follow.

Would you be interested in a smartphone-controlled flashgun for your camera?

David Selby
Based in Paris, France, David Selby is editor of Lighting Rumours, a part-time photographer and a quantitative analyst.
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