The Light L16 Camera has been heralded by some as a Digital SLR killer. Whilst the smartphone has contributed almost single handedly to the demise of the cheap and cheerful point and shoot compact camera it has so far failed to rival the professional photographers trusted tool of choice.
As somebody who has rarely experienced many days over the last sixteen years without having a camera in hand, it’s safe to say I take photography pretty seriously. Despite being wowed by new gadgets and usually being an early adopter I’m pretty traditional when it comes to taking photo’s. I’ve never felt comfortable taking a photograph with a phone despite owning many phones boasting hi pixel counts. I am typical of somebody who takes a ‘considered photograph’ rather than the snap or selfy photo’s more often associated with smartphones. Whenever I’ve entered debates with friends or family about why I still choose a camera to document the world around me, it’s been an easy argument. To get the shots that I want, I need:
- Low Light Performance
- Shallow Depth of Field (Nice blurred backgrounds)
- Sharp Focus (No Motion or Pixel Blur Thank You)
- Interchangeable Lenses for Creative Freedom
- Natural & Accurate Colours
- Resolution For A3 or Larger Prints
I’ve been a fan of the SLR camera ever since first seeing Jimmy Olsen wield his Canon AE-1. I like the form of a DSLR camera, it fits the hand nicely, has a solid feel and allows me to take some decent shots. For that reason I felt a mild disturbance in the ‘camera force’ (excuse the Star Wars reference I couldn’t help myself as Dec 18th approaches) when I first read about the new challenger to the current king of cameras.
The Light L16 is pretty much attempting to re-invent the camera as we know it. It’s inventors claim to be able to bring all the quality and versatility of a DSLR in a slim phone-like flat body. How can it achieve this when it uses a sensor similarly sized to that of a phone? Well it has 16 lenses and sensors which when combined can create 52 Megapixel images. Here’s where it get’s a bit more futuristic. This technique of combining or compositing data from each lens and sensor allows you to alter your depth of field and focus on your computer after the shot has been taken. On top of that it offers focal lengths ranging from 35mm to 150mm. Rather than record onto a memory card it is expected to ship with 128GB onboard memory.
All in all this sounds like one impressive concept. Specs are one thing, the proof of the pudding will lie in how the Light L-16 performs in low light conditions, scenes with contrasting shadow and highlight tonal ranges which challenge dynamic range capability, colour accuracy, sharpness as well as the obligatory pixel peeping at 100% magnification. In the video world Blackmagic have tried to challenge the establishment in a vaguely similar way. You can create innovative technology but cameras that sell best are generally those that can be relied on to consistently create quality images.
I don’t think Canon or Nikon need to panic just yet however the Light L16 may well provide some pretty worthwhile food for thought especially considering they recently signed a strategic partnership with Foxconn to bring Light’s imaging technology to devices manufactured by smartphone manufacturing giant whose clients include Apple, Blackberry, Nokia, Huawei, Sony to name just a few.
The Light L16 Camera is currently available for pre-order direct from the manufacturers site costing $1699 and is due to ship in Autumn 2016.
Check it out in more detail at: https://light.co/