Light L16 Camera Gets a Refresh Even Before It Ships

Light L16 Camera Gets a Refresh Even Before It Ships

The Light L16, the camera you’ve been hearing about for the last couple years with 16 lenses and sensors packed into a phone-sized package, has gotten a bit of a facelift ahead of its launch.

New pictures of the updated version of the device hit Lightrumors.co a few days ago, ahead of the shipping of the first batch of cameras later this year. The photos on the official Light.co site now match those seen earlier and show a few changes — namely a flatter body (the handgrip area is now flush with the rest of the camera), a repositioned flash, and some shuffling of ports.

The idea behind this camera is to use software to help make better images with smaller devices. And with all of the talk about this particular camera in photography circles, it seems that enough people are excited for Light to have sold out all pre-orders of the L16, with no new orders being taken until later in 2017, according to the company website.

It’s a (not so) simple concept. To keep the size down, small sensors and what are called “folded optics” – basically, mirrors projecting light onto those small lenses and sensors – are used in large numbers to generate an image using software to merge all of those optical paths together. The result is a design that the company claims can have DSLR-territory image quality in a small, phone-sized package. You can also produce super-high-resolution images and images with which you can adjust the depth of field after the fact using this software wizardry.

It seems like an interesting solution to the size problem, but initially, some of the blog posts showed photos from prototype models that were…rough:

A picture from Light's photo blog from May 20, 2016. Many of the photos from around that time seemed to have some problems, but the latest revisions seem to show quality improving with the newest versions.

A picture from Light's photo blog from May 20, 2016. Many of the photos from around that time seemed to have some problems, but the latest revisions seem to show quality improving with the newest versions.

That’s just one picture, but there were more examples that might give a photographer pause — smudged details, not-so-sharp photos, flaring issues — in short, photos that look not a whole lot better than a last-generation iPhone. All that said, this image above and the others mentioned were from the middle of last year — an eternity in photo tech time.

Images seem to have improved with the latest build of the camera. Check out some of these more recent photos that seem to hold greater promise:

More recent samples from Light's website. There are higher resolution versions to download over there in case you'd like to pixel-peep. Things seem to have improved from last year.

More recent samples from Light's website. There are higher resolution versions to download over there in case you'd like to pixel-peep. Things seem to have improved from last year.

These photos make a better case for the $1699 price tag that early adopters have paid — after all, you’re talking a decent DSLR and lens at this price, so the photos should at least come close.

There are bound to be some growing pains with this new technology, but at least those buyers willing to deal with them will be seeing their cameras soon, if the company’s website and these new product photos are any indication.

[via Lightrumors.co]

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4 Comments

Too bleeding edge for me.

Can't wait to see how it fares against 'pocketable' cameras.

Felix Wu's picture

The camera still looks really awful. Too many eyes. @.@

David Hynes's picture

hard pass.