Life just gets more and more interesting (forget about the big issues that face us these days - they border on overwhelming -- let's just talk about gear). Aputure recently sent me two new products, both aimed at the smartphone market. Good idea!
I'm talking about the smartphone version of their wired A-lav mic, the A-lav EZ; and the not-yet-released, completely unexpected and lovely little micro-LED panel, the Amaran Lighting Up.
We've come to expect complete packages from Amaran, and so it is with these two: in addition to the main events, they both sport warranty cards, manuals and nice cases -- and it goes on from there.
For the A-lav EZ:
- windscreen/pop filter
- lav clip
- cable organizer
- mini-dead cat
For the Amaran Lighting Up:
- magnetically attachable diffuser
- universal adapter
- USB charging cable
How do they work?
In a word: great.
In four more words: for what they are.
The A-lav EZ enters a market where RØDE has its smartLav+, audio-technica has its ATR 3350iS, and Polsen has its OLM-10, all of which I own and all of which I like (though only the smartLav+ operates directly with a smartphone: the other two require adapters). It's an increasingly crowded space.
But to its credit, the A-lav EZ is complete, comparable, and priced more like the audio-technica than the smartLav+ (the smartLav+ also comes with a splitter which allows one to add a second mik AND monitor audio through a headphone jack - then again, it's more than three times the price).
Amaran Lighting Up
The Lighting Up is smaller than a deck of cards (not much thicker than the iPhone 6 in the photo with the iPro case), super lightweight, and very bright - again, for what it is. I measured an EV of 5 at one meter with the diffuser on, ISO 100, using my trusty Sekonic L-308, compared to an EV of 2 for the built-in flash acting as flashlight on my iPhone 6s+. That's a big honking difference, especially in a pinch.
It's even adjustable!
Finally, the universal adapter can screw directly into a 1/4" threaded socket, but also comes with a screw-on hot/cold shoe mount. Clever.
If you're remotely serious about videography with your smartphone (Apple or otherwise), it's easy to call these new Aputure products n0-brainer, must-have items. They're small enough to take anywhere without a second thought, and you'll be glad you did.