Startup creates a 16-in-1 Android camera called Light L16, predicts the death of DSLRs

Startup creates a 16-in-1 Android camera called Light L16, predicts the death of DSLRs
Do not adjust your screens, the title of this article is correct: a very young California-based company called Light announced a 16-in-1 camera to take on DSLRs. What does 16-in-1 mean? Well, the new device - dubbed Light L16 - really contains 16 camera modules, and was designed to give photography enthusiasts DSLR-like photo quality in a pocketable format.

All 16 camera modules and lenses are visible on the back of the L16. There are five lenses with the equivalent of 35mm focal lengths, five at 70mm, and six other at 150mm. Combined, they allow the L16 to provide 35mm - 150mm optical zoom. Whenever you take a photo, 10 of the cameras shoot simultaneously, letting you snap photos of up to 52 MP, at variable focal lengths - so you can adjust the focus and depth of field later. The new device runs an unspecified version of Android - which, being a free and highly customizable OS, seems to be the perfect choice for such a camera. At the moment, full tech specs are missing, but we know that the L16 features Wi-Fi and a dual LED flash, and is about the size of a Google Nexus 6 (though it's twice as thick).

The Light L16 is not cheap, costing about as much as a mid-range DSLR or mirrorless camera. Customers who reserve the L16 before November 6 can get it for $1,299 (after paying $199, with the rest of $1,100 to be paid at launch). After November 6, the camera will cost $1,699. However, it looks like the L16 will only ship starting mid-2016, so you'll have almost one year to wait before you can actually use it.

Interestingly, Dave Grannan, Light CEO, told Re/code that "this is how cameras will be made in the future" - naturally talking about the L16. The exec also mentioned that DSLRs and expensive lenses will "just not going to exist tomorrow.” We're really skeptical about all this, but, hey, anything can happen in the future, right?

We've no idea if the L16 will be a successful product. But we do know that, if things somehow go wrong, Light wouldn't be the first, and neither the last young company to promise big things and fall short of delivering them. In any case, Light has serious plans. Earlier this year, it has partnered with Foxconn (famous for manufacturing Apple devices, among many other things) to bring a multi-camera system - similar to that seen on the L16 - to smartphones. Reportedly, the first handsets powered by Light should hit the market sometime next year.

Until we hear more about Light and its L16, you can check out some photo samples (provided by Light) in the second slideshow below. Unfortunately, the images aren't high-res, so we can't properly judge them. Anyway, let us know if you think that Light can really take on DSLRs with its technology.

sources: Light, Re/code



1. DoggyDangerous

Posts: 1028; Member since: Aug 28, 2015

wow wow. Now this is called the quality

4. engineer-1701d unregistered

its about time makes sense each lens can fix on a point in the image and maximize it, just like the htc wanted focus after pic and zoom into areas of the pic and enhance the image i think this will be a game changer, now hard core dslr people will not change for years because they are stuck thinking there skill makes the pic perfect, the rest will get this and have amazing pics without having the photo class in college.

7. AnTuTu

Posts: 1620; Member since: Oct 14, 2012

This is called disruption in technology. I presented on this yesterday like how IoT is going to change the business etc. Great to see this start up is going to disrupt the DSLR market :)

26. Fellwalker

Posts: 538; Member since: Apr 04, 2014

I had expected that by now the Nokia 42MP sensor sampled to 5MP or more would have taken over smartphones and compact cameras. That to me seemed disruptive.

31. DoggyDangerous

Posts: 1028; Member since: Aug 28, 2015

the problem with 42mp sensor is the speed of processing. Complex algorithms of pureview technology made the photo taking experience very slow. Shot to shot time is very slow. If nokia will use 1/1.2inch sensor with less mega pixels(13mp or 16mp) then it will be more better. But it will cost them more to have a custom made sensor with 5um pixel size. OR second better solution is to put two good cameras with two seperate dedicated processors for each camera and merge the photos in real time hrd. In this case they dont have to put such a huge sensor. Only 1/2.3" or 1/2.4" sensors (IMX230 OR IMX220) will work wonders and image processing will be quick significantly. Price of commonly available sensors will be less too. But this technique will require to develop new software algorithm, which will take a long time in development and testing.

34. Darkerm

Posts: 322; Member since: Jan 31, 2012

I thought its a wireless speaker...

2. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Pretty Cool.

14. maherk

Posts: 6965; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Would've been way too cooler if they added a xenon flash.

15. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

True That.

23. kkmkk

Posts: 699; Member since: May 06, 2013

maybe this camera dose not any kind of flash at all

43. funtikar

Posts: 25; Member since: May 05, 2012

defo... but with this kind of low light, its forgivable that they didn't include it

3. pixel8or

Posts: 84; Member since: Jun 10, 2010

I actually believe this headline. I think this really could be the end of the DSLR.

11. AntiFanBoyz unregistered

Then you don't understand DSLRs.

13. Martin_Cooper

Posts: 1774; Member since: Jul 30, 2013

This is not a DSLR killer and never will be. The point of DSLR is its versatility and collection of lenses. Can this offer telephoto zoom? Nope. Can you install on it hundreds of lenses from cheap to very expensive covering all needs? Nope. Is it going to have countless accessories, flashes, and what so ever? Nope. Then no this isnt a DSLR killer. Everyone who buys a DSLR knows its size. No one buys a DSLR to be his/hers daily shooter but its for more specific occasions and on those occasions nothing beats it.

19. combatmedic870

Posts: 986; Member since: Sep 02, 2015

Spot on Martin.

21. AnTuTu

Posts: 1620; Member since: Oct 14, 2012

Not right now doesn't mean won't be available in future.

30. DoggyDangerous

Posts: 1028; Member since: Aug 28, 2015

exactly! this is the first product from this company. If successful then they will release 2nd version, 3rd, 4th and so on. They will improve features and functionality over time in each new model and might kill dslr. Did galaxy S1 has the same camera quality of S6? No, right? quality improved in each iteration

36. AntiFanBoyz unregistered

There's absolutely 100% no way this will ever kill DSLR. You literally cannot change the laws of physics and it's physics why a 200mm f2.8 DSLR lens cannot be beat by anything the width of a cellphone (or two cellphones even, in this case).

37. pixel8or

Posts: 84; Member since: Jun 10, 2010

You're right, I misspoke my second half of my statement. I do not believe that THIS will be the end of the DSLR, but I do believe that technology like this is a sign of where things are going to go, which is the eventual end of the DSLR, and shorter term on the consumer end. DSLRs were kind of a stepping stone in digital photography transitioning from film cameras (which, by the way, I remember pretty much everybody, including myself, saying that digital photography would never kill film.)


Posts: 1168; Member since: Oct 05, 2015

It will. I heard previously about using a bunch of small lenses that work in tandem to create a bigger image with better qualities...kinda like a bug's eyes. This would be great on a smartphone. 7 lenses, each like a 5mp camera (think like our front facers) Someone needs to make this happen

24. boosook

Posts: 1442; Member since: Nov 19, 2012

the problem, when implementing this on a smartphone, would be where to put the rest of the hardware without making the phone 1 inch thick!

25. Fellwalker

Posts: 538; Member since: Apr 04, 2014

And the device will need lots of RAM to process the images, which might be why the samples are such low resolution.

6. runzlord

Posts: 245; Member since: Oct 13, 2013

The first Camera Sample is on POINT!

8. azimesmail

Posts: 264; Member since: Nov 23, 2014


9. AntiFanBoyz unregistered

Anyone who thinks this is the death if the DSLReither doesn't understand photography, is a moron, or is a paid shill.

10. dimas

Posts: 3383; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

Big phone companies are already aiming for this many years ago. They have the technology if they want to implement this, they're just holding it back because: *It will make the phone production skyrocket that they have to find some ways to mass-produce it *The demographics of casual user to are still greater than quality-sensitive picture takers *Showing all your cards in one device will prove to be a profit suicide for other upcoming release *DLSR business is still making money so they'll introduce this technology to smartphones when camera business is waining. Technology is here, the business world is just making it slow to reach us.

17. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

I am pretty many pro or semi pro photographer would buy it. Its price like just one of their DSLR's len. The gadget strongest advantage is convenient.

12. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

still cant beat the strongest point of DSLR "interchangeable lenses" (DSLR obviously have bigger sensor, but maybe this camera can beat it with numerous small sensor) this camera will be good for consumer level, and DSLR can be back to profesional use (and let the cheap DSLR die) (maybe next year we'll start seeing 16in1 smartphone camera, lol)

16. zeeBomb

Posts: 2318; Member since: Aug 14, 2014

Dxomark 99

18. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

I doubt it even beats the RX100. But as this tech evolves, it might kill the advanced pocket cameras. DSLR is a different league tho.

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