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Light's $1,300 L16 uses 16 cameras to capture 52-megapixel images

By Scorpus
Oct 8, 2015
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  1. Light has been quietly developing a very interesting compact, point-and-shoot camera solution that's designed to replace larger, bulkier DSLRs. Their product, called the L16, looks a little unusual, but its array of 16 cameras on the front allows it to be much more flexible and powerful than traditional point-and-shoot devices.

    The L16's 16 camera sensors are divided into three groups, each paired with a lens of a different focal length. In total there are five cameras with 35mm effective focal length lenses, five with 70mm modules, and six with 150mm modules. When combined using clever software and stitching tools, the camera can zoom through an effective range of 35mm to 150mm without any moving parts or adjustable lenses.

    The camera sensor behind each lens captures 13-megapixels, and their smaller smartphone-class size means the quality from a single sensor isn't as good as what you'd get from a DSLR. Where the L16 makes up for this fact is in its software, where the 16 captured photos can be stitched together into 52-megapixel images, which also helps reduce noise and improve low-light sensitivity.

    The focus of the L16's images can be adjusted after they're taken, making this device similar to the Lytro in its flexibility. However the L16 can also capture 4K video, which is something the most expensive Lytro camera cannot manage.

    If you want to buy an L16, it'll come at a price: Light will be initially selling the camera for $1,299 through a pre-order system, though after November 6th the price will jump to $1,699. Only a few thousand units will be made, but it's an awful lot of money to put down for a camera not shipping until late summer 2016.

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  2. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 6,476   +2,034

    The price is not too bad considering you can pay $900 for an iPhone and that only comes with a single, measly 8MP camera but yeah, for that price I'd still spring for a DSLR.
     
    gregzeng and p51d007 like this.
  3. mantissteam

    mantissteam TS Rookie Posts: 34   +8

    Wow this is really interesting where can I see some sample images..

    also I feel that with so many lenses chances go up something will go wrong with one of them..
     
  4. p51d007

    p51d007 TS Evangelist Posts: 908   +384

    1st Gen...so to speak. Personally, I'll stick with my dSLR for a while longer. Plus, I've got too much invested in the numerous lenses I carry around.
     
  5. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,648   +521

    Cool concept, definitely has potential to be something of producing really great shots for a reasonable price, the problem is the price isn't reasonable yet... Considering the relatively cheap sensors being used, at least that's my assumption given it has 16 of them, I would expect a more attractive price. Pricing it similarly to a good second hand DSLR, not such a good strategy. Besides, this is the first iteration of the product, revision should lower cost, and improve on defects that may or may not arise down the road.
     
  6. gregzeng

    gregzeng TS Enthusiast Posts: 30

    If each lens is f-1.9 or better, it should excel at low-light photography.
    Software development is the tricky stumbling block which will possibly sink this. I expect the CPU-GPU-memory demands to also be very, very high.
    No doubt Sony, Samsung and other innovators are researching these technologies. Android already has third-party software developed which allows multi-megapixel photos with many sequential photos from the one camera lens.
     

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