Published on December 20th, 2012 | by Greg
Manfrotto KLYP: Professional Lighting For The iPhone 4/4s
One of the best parts of the iPhone models are the cameras, among the most popular sources for photography in the world. One of the weakest parts of the iPhones are the flashes, which have all been fairly anemic. They’ll work alright in the right situation, where you don’t mind having the image a bit blown out, but few would consider them particularly helpful. That’s where today’s fun iPhone gadget steps in.
The Manfrotto Klyp is the first iPhone 4/4s case that allows you to attach both a tripod and a custom light to your smartphone. Manfrotto makes a wide range of pro photography gear, so we’re not surprised to see them jump in to a market that allows them to extend their expertise- and the build quality certainly speaks to the heritage. We’ve seen and tried out a lot of LED lighting gear, and while much of it ends up feeling a bit cheap, this one was quite sturdy.
You have the choice between two basic models- a 12-light version and another with 24 total LEDs. We opted for the larger version, but the case is the same either way, and you’ll need the case to make proper use of the light. They also offer a package that includes a pocket tripod, that fits nicely into the two-piece snap-on case. As with other similar iPhone accessories, you’ll have to remove any case and use their custom one, that does come with a felt lining. It’s decent enough, but does add quite a bit of bulk and, as is typical, staff weren’t thrilled with the idea of leaving it on as the default case.
Once we had our iPhones installed in the case, it was simply a matter of inserting a pair of AAA batteries into the device. The manufacturer claims a battery life of 40 minutes, which isn’t bad but won’t last through a lengthy photo shoot. Also, it’s important to note that this isn’t a hotshoe unit- there’s no direct connection to the phone itself, and so it isn’t a flash that will only fire as needed. Instead, you manually turn the light on or off and can adjust the brightness via a knob that is fairly well placed for accessibility, and that holds position well. Light quality was excellent- comparable to other LED lights for DSLRs and prosumers.
Perfect for use with FaceTime or portraits, results were much better than using the small onboard flash. Folks will see you coming, though, which isn’t such a bad thing- everywhere we tried it, people were smiling and asking about the gadget. There is one downside that we found though- it’s not particularly adjustable, and works well only in a couple of positions. We would’ve like a bit more freedom to aim the light, but on the plus side, it is detachable and readily useable even apart from the phone and case.
Available now, the KLYP ML240 costs $100. Cute, fun, and durable, it’s well worth the price if you (or someone you know) is an iPhone photo addict.