What? You can’t name your company Light and not expect a few terrible Poltergeist jokes. Thankfully, the Palo Alto startup isn’t joking around when it comes to cameras.
Light unveiled its 16 camera lens L16 on Wednesday. What’s different? It does not look like your typical camera. The L16 has 16 lenses strewn across the front of the camera. Powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, onboard software work to bring the all those images together (10 fire simultaneously) into one image that is up to 52 megapixels.
Easy Light, you’re starting to speak to my inner self that will buy anything remotely fascinating and has a lens.
What is Light trying to accomplish? It wants to put a DSLR-quality camera in your pocket. Optical zoom? It has a 35-100mm true optical zoom. Beats the digital zoom we all use on our smartphones. Say goodbye to the blurred edges.
Depth of field and low-light conditions are also handled by the L16. The depth of field can be taken all the way to f/1.2. Light’s imaging system promises to handle low-light conditions with ease.
What about controls? The back features a five-inch touchscreen that will help you frame the shot, do some light editing and of course, bombard your followers on social media.
Light chose to power the L16 with a modified Android M OS. What about its footprint? Think smartphone. It will be slightly larger than an iPhone 6+.
I wonder if people will be able to get past it looks like a smartphone but isn’t when it comes to size. If it can offer DSLR quality, the size is rather astounding.
Here’s how Dave Grannan, CEO of Light explains the L16:
“The L16 is actually providing all the functionality of a $6,000 DSLR camera gear. It’s like having a full-frame DSLR with a zooms lens and prime lens.”
“What we’re really doing is repurposing technology found in cell phones,” said Grannan. “We’re taking multiple small, inexpensive camera modules and putting them into a high-quality camera that’s a fraction of the cost of traditional big glass optics.”
Why the need for a smaller, DSLR-like camera? Owners of DSLRs want something smaller. As an owner, I can attest to that. Sometimes you don’t want to haul around the dedicated pack with all your gear. Light surveyed over 28,000 DSLR owners and found half don’t even use them anymore. Photographers are turning to their phones for portability.
The L16 will seek to fill that niche of prosumers who might be thinking of getting a DSLR for the range of options, but want to maintain the portability of a smartphone camera.
Preorders are up at a discounted rate of $1,299 for the first few thousand cameras ordered. The price will then jump to full retail at $1,699. Ship date? The company hopes to have it in the hands of customers by summer 2016.
Light isn’t depending on selling cameras. They want the technology to make it into upcoming smartphones. The company is looking at licensing deals with various Android device manufacturers.
Check out the video below to learn the story of the L16: