Most modern smartphones have at least two cameras: one on the back and one on the front. Some have dual rear (or front) cameras to let you snap wide-angle, zoom, or bokeh-style photos. And Huawei recently introduced the first phone with three rear cameras.
But why stop there? Rumor has it that LG is working on a phone with five cameras (three on the back and two on the front), and the Washington Post reports that camera maker Light is working on smartphone prototypes with as many as 9 rear cameras.
Light is the company that makes the L16 camera, which uses a combination of 16 different cameras to help you take a variety of different types of photos without swapping out lenses.
The camera can combine data from its multiple optical sensors to create 52MP pictures from 10 different images shot at different widths and/or apertures.
Right now the L16 camera is the only device that uses Light’s technology. But according to the Washington Post, the company is working with smartphone makers to integrated the technology into handsets. Light is currently testing prototypes with between 5 and 9 lenses, and the newspaper says that a phone featuring Light’s multi-camera technology “will be announced later this year.”
Odds are that it’ll be a high-end phone. The Light L16 currently sells for $1,950. While it’s likely that a stripped down version of the technology used in smartphones would be cheaper (and that a major smartphone maker would be able to leverage economies of scale better than a camera startup to help bring down production costs), I still wouldn’t expect the first Light-powered phones to be particularly cheap.