Trying to take a good picture in a dimly lit nightclub is hard enough, but doing so on a camera phone? Nearly impossible. Engadget Live San Francisco was hosted in such a dark establishment, which made it the perfect venue for the folks at Brick & Pixel to seek us out. The company's first product, Lightstrap, just happens to be an iPhone 5s case designed specifically for shooting in dark places.

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Lightstrap hands-on

Company founder Cassidy Clawson brought prototype to Engadget's table, pointing out a flash ring running around its outer-edge. Powered by the case's own 1000MAh battery, this LED array promises to light over 500 photos with a flash ten times brighter than the iPhone's native camera. We gave the rig a shot: the above image of Lightstrap was shot with a Lightstrap in a dark corner behind Temple Nightclub's first floor bar. We have to admit, it seemed to work -- images shot with the lighted case were brighter and significantly less grainy for the sake of the larger flash. Sure, a few of our test subjects squinted in the face of the souped-up kit, but it did deliver on its promise: brighter shots in dimmer places.

Undocking the phone reveals a light sensor covering the iPhone's embedded flash -- a trick that grants it universal compatibility with any flash-enabled camera app. Clawson says this allows the case to shine on while shooting video too, though we didn't get a chance to try this out in our brief time with the product. Care to see how that looks? Check out the team's Kickstarter page: their pitch video was shot and lit by -- you guessed it -- a Lightstrap equipped iPhone.

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Lightstrap: an iPhone case that's all flash (hands-on)