Good concept for mobile light — improvements are needed.
I’ve been perfecting my skills as an iPhoneographer in recent years and find there is a lot I can do with the built-in devices Apple provides, but the one thing I always find is lacking is adequate lighting. There are some compelling options available, but some are just too large to carry around. Fortunately, there is now a very tiny light called the Moon Ultra Light. It’s an advanced portable lighting device.
The Moon Ultra Light is the world’s smallest portable mobile lighting device. The light is designed to be universal and will clip onto any smartphone, tablet, and even some laptops. It features touch-controls and recharges via Micro USB. The Moon Ultra Light comes with a charging cable, carrying case, and user manual. There is no app required for use and you have complete control over the color temperature (5000K to 2700K) and brightness (005 Lux to 400 Lux) levels.
As a frequent user of an iPhone camera, I really love the concept of this little light. It’s pocket-sized and comes with a travel case. Those are some really big perks of the device. One of the first things that caught my eye though was that is charges via Micro USB. I’m at a point where I would much rather see rechargeable devices use USB-C. It feels like the more modern choice in my opinion. I know that Micro USB is probably more cost-effective, but it just seems outdated as many devices are charging by USB-C now.
The next thing that caught me right away was the user manual. It’s a fold-out pamphlet that folds up into a 2 x 2-inch square. The odd thing to me is that there is no information on the backside. I think that Moon Selfie, Inc. could have saved some resources by combining the User Manual and safety guide. The user manual does a good job of providing walk-through instructions on how to use the light and even outlines how to properly care for the light. It’s important to note here that Moon Ultra Light is not waterproof.
The biggest issue I ended up having was with the controls. The larger part of the unit — the part where you plug the charging cable into — is where the controls are located. To get the light to come on, you are supposed to touch/hold both sides of the control area for 1.5 seconds according to the user manual. It seems to take much longer than 1.5 seconds to complete this function. And, it’s really difficult to touch just the right spot on both sides to make the devices power on. I would actually suggest either building a notch into the control area so people know where to place their fingers or have the power function controlled by a switch. There is a light near the control area that indicates when a touch happens on the control area, but there were plenty of times that the light LED lit up and nothing happened for me. Since all of the controls are touch-based, it just seems like it would be a lot easier to access the functions if the user could tell exactly where they are.
As far as the actual function of the light goes, I was fairly impressed with how bright it got. Even though I’m a little jaded that the controls are finicky and not very easy to use, I thought the light did a good job of brightening the subject of a photo. As a test, I took a few photos using my iPhone 11 Pro and the Moon Ultra Light together. The results are shown in the gallery below. The first tile shows our Wicket Pop Figure and plant side-by-side in a white box. The only lighting in this photo is what was available in the room (an overhead fan). The iPhone did automatically correct for the darkened set, but it’s obvious that additional light is needed. The next two photos show the cooler end of the color temperature spectrum that the Moon can provide (approximately 5000 Kelvin). The top photo is done with approximately 50% brightness (it’s hard to be specific because there is no display on the device) and the bottom photo shows 100% brightness. Finally, the bottom photo shows the warmer end of the color spectrum (approximately 2700 Kelvin) at 100% brightness.
Now, in the photos above, I had the Moon Ultra Light attached to my iPhone directly next to the camera lenses. This means the light was pretty harsh coming from the front only. One of the neat things about this light is that you can use it even if it’s not attached to your phone. In the next set of photos, I detached the light from the phone and placed it at an angle between the phone and the subject, to the side of the subject (for a more dramatic shadow), and then directly above the subject. Even though this may not be an ideal scenario for taking photos of people, I thought this was a much better use of the light.
While I’m not entirely thrilled about this product, I do see its merit and I do really love the concept of it. A tiny portable light that can work with any type of mobile phone, tablet, or computer is truly a wonderful idea. I would be eager to see some improvements made on it (controls, display, charging type, etc.), but think that overall it’s a really fun product and that any iPhoneographer should pick one up.
Originally published at https://macsources.com on March 16, 2020.