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Published on November 25th, 2013 | by Greg

Rift Labs Kick: The Best Way To Improve Your iPhone Photos!

The most popular cameras in the world, as measured by uploads to popular photo sharing sites, are not your standard DSLRs or Kodak pocket models. Instead, smartphones far and away represent the biggest growth in photography, and capturing events and special moments is standard now thanks to devices like the iPhone. Each generation improves a bit, and though the 5S does indeed offer plenty to love, it still lacks a good lighting solution. Anyone can see the limits of the built-in flash, despite the best efforts of services like Instagram. And that’s where today’s gadget comes into play.

The Kick, from Rift Labs, is the truly portable, multi-color lighting solution you’ve been waiting for. You’ll still need to select a good direction and placement for the light, but now you can have control over the hue and brightness, thanks to the 40 built-in LEDs. And there’s much more too, thanks to the programmable nature of the Kick via the app- you can easily add effects, and either create your own or select one from a library. That means instant flameless candles, or a fake lightning storm, created on demand. You can play your videos back via the lights, and this can create some fun samples with no effort. We weren’t able to try it out, but you can link multiple together as well.

It’s all pretty revolutionary stuff, if you’re a fan of iPhone photography and don’t already have another lighting solution. We’ve looked at one other similar gadget, the Manfrotto KLYP, which is more durable and easier to setup, but far less customizable. The Rift Kick was funded via Kickstarter, and is about the same size as an iPhone itself, though the battery life isn’t quite as good as your phone’s. On a full charge, we were able to use it over the course of a full day, but for a total of about 4 or 5 hours. The specs suggest that using it at max brightness will deplete the battery within an hour and a half of so. Charging is via USB. We liked that a tripod mount was included, but would have liked to see some other mounting options in the box, and maybe some diffusion screens or filters as well. The manual control on the unit is nice to have, though if using a smartphone, we definitely suggest using the app instead.

The wireless control is fast, and the colors created are lovely, plus with 400 lumens in total, enough for most any situation. Add warmth to skin tones, or a crazy tint without having to find a computer for post-processing- it’s a great creative tool. Leave your gels at home, and your flash too- and even if you’re using an SLR, the Kick is a nice companion. It’s smart, cute, and fun- what more could you ask from a pocket-sized photo and video lighting studio? The Rift Labs Kick is available now, online primarily, for about $180.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.



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