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The Light L16 Computational Photography Camera Is Now Shipping

July 15th 2017 2:23 PM

There are certain pieces of tech in photography that make us nod sagely, and others that make us pause and evaluate, and others that flat out pique our interest and excite. The Light L16 is the latter, and finally, it’s shipping.

I first wrote about the L16 in 2015 and it was clear that Light was aiming to solve the problem of power and capability being relative to size. They embarked upon the pursuit of ever-illusive ability to get DSLR quality images from something that wasn’t a DSLR; something pocketable. Furthermore, L16 was meant to go beyond being a one-trick pony as some consider Apple’s ‘Portrait Mode’ to be, and to offer true flexibility akin to what you may get from a system of interchangeable lenses. A tall order, but the promises were high and so was the demand for this type of computational photography.

[REWIND: HEADSHOT PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS | OUR THREE FAVORITE LENSES FOR HEADSHOT PHOTOGRAPHY]

But those in demand had many years of waiting, and that patience is about to pay off (maybe) as the units are now shipping – about 4 years since the deigning began – to pre-order customers.

This will be the first time the general public will be able to see and feel the breakthrough folding optics design with what’s touted as the most advanced imaging engine ever created; all to give the control and ability of a DSLR with the convenience of a smartphone. It has 16 individual cameras and fires 10 of them simultaneously from a series of fixed focal lengths (six 150mm f/2.4 telephoto lenses, five 70mm f/2 midrange lenses, and five 28mm f/2 wide-angle lenses). The images are then computationally fused to create a final 52MP resolution file. Similarly to a Lytro, the defocus of the image can be done after the fact to mimic something either 35mm, 70mm, or 150mm. Nice.

If some of this sounds familiar, that’s because today, unlike 4 years ago, it is. The dual lenses found on Apple, Samsung, HuaWei, and OnePlus phones all use some manner of computational photographic tech, though at a much lower level. If anything, the L16 could be a glimpse into what could be coming for phones of the future.

We would absolutely love to get one of these in for review, and if you’ve got one, let us know how it is.

You can find out more here, see a sample gallery here, and see the official statement here.

About

Kishore is, among other things, the Editor-In-Chief at SLR Lounge. A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Comments [7]

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  1. Taylor Miller

    This looks like an interesting product I would try out.

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    • Kishore Sawh

      I think we all would. The real challenge, I think, is that it would appear to be going after the high-end compact space, therefore needing to be better than an RX100 – in some facet. 

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  2. Ernie Stripling

    I am one of the devotees-in-waiting (for years).   I too think the L16 will be a hit and you will see LG or Pixel follow as the smartphone replica of the L16.  I received my “it’s shipping” email yesterday with the caveat that the “beta testers” will be first.  They all but said “we know you have waited several years so whats a few more months of waiting ….as long as you don’t have anything terminal”.  In all seriousness now, I really feel this will be another notch upping the digital image game and photo editing.  Once it is out I would like to see in-field comparisons between full frame and this little mighty mo.  Can’t wait.

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    • Kishore Sawh

      Ernie, I’m excited for you, and if I’m honest, a bit jealous. You’ll likely have yours much sooner than we might have one in office. When it arrives let us know how it is, your thoughts, and maybe share some images. We’d love to see. Cheers

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    • planetMitch aunger

      Hey Ernie Stripling and Kishore Sawh planetMitch from planet5D and now lightRumors.co here. Even I’m frustrated LOL… I’ve been working on a relationship with Light for a while now and still haven’t been able to squeeze a camera or even full size images out of them yet! I’m hoping that changes soon tho. And of course, Kishore I’d be happy to share with SLRlounge when I do!

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    • planetMitch aunger

      By the way, Light has licensed the technology to Foxconn – who makes many of today’s smartphones – so we’ll indeed see the tech eventually in a smartphone somewhere!

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    • Kishore Sawh

      planetMitch aunger – Het Mitch, thanks for the input, and we’ll definitely look forward to seeing some imagery. And about Foxconn, well, that makes sense and is pretty exciting. Cheers

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