October 10, 2015

Smartphone-Sized Light L16 4K Camera Lets You Control DoF & Focal Length After Capture

The Light L16 is basically 16 cameras in one. It packs the power of a DSLR into the small form factor of a smartphone, and allows you to change your DoF and focal length after you've captured your image.

The L16 is the world's first multi-aperture computational camera. Utilizing a folded optics design, it simultaneously captures up to 10 images with 16 separate cameras at 3 focal lengths and then combines them using its computational algorithm to produce a 52MP image. This allows users to adjust depth of field, focus, and exposure after the images has been captured. Furthermore, thanks to the 16 cameras that range in focal lengths between 35mm to 150mm, the L16 will choose a subset of those cameras to capture images based on the field of view the users sets themselves.

Take a look at this promo for the Light L16 camera: 

This video will tell you all about the construction and engineering of the L16, as well as the journey Light has been on since 2013:

Though there are other cameras that allow you to refocus after the fact, like the Lytro Illum, the L16 will have actual video capabilities. However, not much is known about it's technical specifications, because -- well, Light hasn't shared them yet. (They're still in their prototype phase.) They promise to release a full spec list the closer they get to their Spring 2016 release, so until then, here are some exciting features they've mentioned in their FAQ section:

  • 5" touchscreen
  • 128GB of onboard storage
  • minimum focus:10 cm at wide angle (35mm); 1m at telephoto (150mm)
  • dust/water resistant
  • multi-aperture computational camera
  • shoots video up to 4K with optical zoom from 35-150mm equivalent focal length
  • standard 1/4"-20 tripod socket
  • GPS and accelerometer
  • Outputs JPEG, TIFF, and raw DNG
  • built-in dual-tone LED flash
  • $1700

That price isn't for the faint of heart -- or the hobbyist. And even though the technology the L16 utilizes is really exciting, surely customers are going to need to know a little bit more before they feel comfortable reserving this thing. Seeing as this camera is built with photographers in mind, filmmakers will no doubt need to know more about its video features before considering it an option for their projects.

We'll keep you posted on any new developments from Light.      

Your Comment

14 Comments

This is great and all, I'm all for new technology. I want to try this and this would be cool to play with as a consumer/vacation camera. But specifically for developing our craft and for work, is this going to make us lazy with our filmmaking? Think about restaurant that only sells their famous cheese pizza vs that 24-hr diner that has a billion things on the menu and everything is just mediocre...

October 10, 2015 at 9:01PM

3
Reply
avatar
Erik Lu
Director
85

Love this :)

October 10, 2015 at 9:09PM

0
Reply

It's interesting tech, but I would have to rent one before I would cough up $1700 for an experimental camera.

October 10, 2015 at 9:38PM

3
Reply
Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
31618

Great article. Small correction: "The L16 will...ship in late summer 2016."
Source: http://spot.light.co/

October 10, 2015 at 10:05PM

0
Reply
avatar
Samuel Neff
DP / Editor
848

Sorry...wasn't clear. Spring is when they'll release full specs.

October 11, 2015 at 12:51PM

0
Reply
avatar
V Renée
Nights & Weekends Editor
Writer/Director

Well I think this is a really exciting innovation. As a professional myself I too have a variety of kit ranging from 4k RED down to a Canon 5D MkII.. Most of the pictures I take however are off my Sony Xperia Z2! I love being able to whip the Z2 out and capture real nice quality photos (just check out the FB page 'Camera Phone Photographer' for how good they can be!). Of course you are limited on such devices with zoom and low light and a lack of control, auto focus on the video is a nightmare! I love photography and videography but never want to carry my DSLR around with me just incase I come across an interesting photo opportunity! It's a case of there are different tools for different jobs... I rarely use my RED camera for corporate work I will use my ageing Sony FS100 because it's still a great HD camera. This is another tool that will suit a variety of jobs. It certainly grabs my attention as something I want to carry around with me that will exceed the capability of my camera phone to a DSLR level. The price will need to come down though i think 1700 is a lot to ask for new unproven tech.... I will be following this development with great excitement!!

October 11, 2015 at 5:55AM

0
Reply
avatar
Gary Rogers
Director of Photography
81

I wonder what they shot the promo video with.

October 11, 2015 at 6:15PM

5
Reply
avatar
Alex Zakrividoroga
Director
3329

I was wondering the same thing, Alex.

October 12, 2015 at 4:07PM, Edited October 12, 4:07PM

1
Reply
avatar
Jeff Rivera
Filmmaker | Storyteller
865

It seems really neat, something that might be fun to take with me when I spend some time in hiking in the woods.

October 11, 2015 at 6:17PM

0
Reply
avatar
Charles Duoto
Instructor & TV Production Crew
1370

Ok, BMD buy this one :)

We need ultra low light ability, 16 stop+ dybsmic range, 10 bit plus record (12bit plus preffered) 4kp50/60 30D video with video profiles for eng, cinema, doco etc, raw, neutral and enhanced video levels. Visually lossless at least 4k, 1 terabytef that new Intel cheap fast low powered flash to store all this great footage and processor dram memory technology (forget the company name) to speed processing. And 6 inch screen factor to fit it all in .

Of course, apart from the BMD thing, all this is unlikely to happen. :(

October 14, 2015 at 3:14PM

0
Reply
Wayne M
Director of a Life
90

I was getting ready to buy this one, oh why next year :(

October 14, 2015 at 3:15PM

0
Reply
Wayne M
Director of a Life
90

"Puts the focus back on creative photography". Are they kidding me?? This makes taking photos an even lazier process. It's fun and all that, but no way is this going to foster original creativity. Saving a poorly executed shot after the fact, maybe.

October 14, 2015 at 7:41PM

0
Reply
avatar
Benton Collins
Camera aimer
291

If this has strong video capture potential as well, it will be phenomenal. I already love the fact that I can carry high quality video capability with me all of the time through my iPhone. The ability to adjust light and depth of field after shooting would be a huge step forward.

October 15, 2015 at 8:19PM

0
Reply
avatar
Robert Reeves
Assistant Professor of Communication
81

Old

May 26, 2017 at 12:14AM, Edited May 26, 12:16AM

1
Reply
Wayne M
Director of a Life
90