Over the past few years we’ve seen the rise of smartphones with dual-camera systems that offer features like optical zoom without a camera bump and adjustable depth effects. But why stop at two lenses?
The Light L16 isn’t a phone, but it is a high-end camera that’s about the size of a smartphone. And thanks to a series of 16 built-in camera lenses, it’s designed to let you take DSLR-style photos without changing out lenses.
It’s a funny looking camera that went up for pre-order way back in 2015 for $1,699. The company said the L16 started shipping this summer, but reviews and hands-on impressions have been hard to find on the internet (although they’re starting to appear).
Now the L16 has passed through the FCC website, which gives us a better look at the camera’s hardware (and user manual).
The Light features 16 different 13MP image sensors and circuitry that lets you stitch together photos from multiple lenses to create 52MP images.
It has shutter speeds ranging from 1/8000th of a second to 15 seconds and supports ISO 1000 to ISO 3200 sensitivity options. The camera has an aluminum alloy case with a rubberized grip and there’s a 5 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixel touchscreen for controlling the camera and adjusting settings. The L16 has 256GB of storage, a 4,120 mAh battery, a USB 3.0 Type-C port, and Android-based software.
Among other things, you can adjust the depth of field in photos, edit depth after a picture has been taken, and up to 5x optical zoom. There are 28mm, 70mm, and 150mm camera lenses built in, a dual-tone LED flash, laser-assisted autofocus, and a proximity sensor.
The camera measures about 6.5″ x 3.3″ x 0.9″ and weighs 15 ounces. The $1,699 price tag will put it out of the range of casual photographers, but it’s not really designed to compete with point-and-click or smartphone cameras. This is a new type of camera for folks willing to drop a lot of money on a more powerful, versatile solution.
But will any of those built-in features make the Light L16 a better option for serious photographers than a DSLR or mirrorless camera? Not necessarily. I suspect pro users will still prefer the ability to customize their camera by selecting just the right lens for each situation. But for folks looking for a compact, all-in-one solution the L16 certainly looks a lot more portable.
The initial batch of Light L16 cameras are currently sold out. But the company says it’ll start taking orders again in “late 2017” and you can sign up at the Light website to be notified when orders are open again.