Last year Light introduced us a camera that can fit in your back pocket and competes with the likes of DSLR quality cameras, offering high-resolution images up to 52 mp, compare that to Sonys’ Full-frame cameras which can go up to 42mp, and Canons 5DS which can shoot at about 50 mp.
So whats so great about this camera?
Well, one you don’t have to carry many lenses with you, with DSLRs or Mirrorless cameras the body might be light, but you still need a lens to capture beautiful photos, the glass can get quite heavy and you end up carrying about 10lbs of lenses just so you’re fully prepared for any situation, the other issue is that you have to switch between the different lens if you’re truly taking a variety of photos, but that’s amateur talk.
The L16 (as the name has it) comes pre-equipped with 16 lenses and sensors, that’s right. They took the dual-lens philosophy from Apple’s iPhone 6, 7, 8 and X and added 14 more lenses. Each lens also has its own sensor, the magic happens in onboard software as it combines photos from the different lenses into a single photo, ending up with a 52-megapixel photo.
What’s the software like?
The OS on the Camera is actually a flavor of Android which has a few settings that’ll let you control some of the features as a camera. There are very limited options on to how many types of photos you can take. It’s got Manual controls and Auto with Dynamic AutoFocus. The one thing that’s missing from the camera is an Aperture priority mode and it’s because the 16 lenses all have different apertures, once you’ve taken a photo, you can edit the aperture in their Lumen desktop application, after your edit you can export it as a DNG or JPG file and further edit the photo in your favorite photo application.
Does it take videos, continuous photos or time-lapse?
According to their site, with a firmware update, the L16 will be able to capture 4K video, my problem with that statement is this. Already the camera is slow in taking photos in fast succession, with no upgrades to the CPU on the device, I’m reluctant to count this camera’s ability to shoot 4K video, and if it will shoot 4K, will it be 15fps, 30 fps or 60 fps? It’s possible that it’ll offer 4K video at 24 or 30fps using HEVC or H.265 codec. But again I just don’t find myself waiting for these things to come to me. It just breaks my workflow, where it totally can support third-party applications to let you edit photos on the fly.
So is it a keeper?
For folks that are just getting into the photography and do not own a smartphone, or want to be on the cutting edge, this camera might be for you. I tried out the camera for a week, sure I didn’t take extensive photos as I should’ve for a full-review-worthiness. But here’s what stopped me from using it more. I’m very used to taking photos on my iPhone 8 Plus (portrait mode, videos, timelapse, you name it), and then I’d edit the photo on my phone on several different photo editing apps creating the look that stands out for me. Even DSLRs and mirrorless cameras these days have the ability to transfer photos to your smartphone or tablet, the L16 did not have that ability, I’m sure it’ll be a software update… but I just can’t find myself taking photos with a camera this advanced.
The other thing they talk about is competing with DSLR and full-frame sensors, are 16 sensors as good as one full-frame or crop sensor? They like to think so, but they aren’t. Being a photographer with an eye for detail the camera falls short in this department. There’s noise in low-light conditions and no matter what I was not able to get the results they boasted about on their site.
I’m very much set in my workflow of how I take photos and process them and L16 just falls short in that department.
For me, it’s not a keeper.
Check out more about the L16 camera at Light.co