Light L16 Digicam with 16 Lenses, A Glimpse of Future Smartphone Imaging?

I'm currently fixated on this new point-and-shoot camera that 'The Wall Street Journal' featured on their official Youtube account a couple of weeks ago.

It's called L16 and it's made by a US-based start-up imaging company named "Light".


What's so special about this digital camera is that it has a whopping 16 lenses with focal points, fields of view, apertures, and sensor size!

According to the company, L16 replaces the bulk and weight of a traditional single-lens or replaceable-lens camera with many small optics and sensors that are placed at 45-degree angles across a flat panel.


When you press the L16's shutter button, light enters 10 or more apertures -- and utilizing unique folded optics, the system then bounces this light off periscopic mirrors, through horizontal lens barrels and onto the optical sensors. The result is one large 52 MegaPixel photo, formed using images taken from at least 10 different perspectives. Awesome, eh?

I would like to give The Wall Street Journal full credit all photos used in this post.

The camera also intelligently chooses which optics and imaging algorithms to use depending on the subject that the user wants to take photos of. There are macro lenses for close-up shots and telephoto optics for landscape photography.

On top of that, L16's software is also powerful enough to allow the user to add interesting bokeh or shallow depth of field effect to portraits. And since there are multiple lenses with different apertures, the user can choose from several levels of background blurring to implement on the final image.


Now, I don't know about you but reading about the features of this camera (virtual bokeh, periscopic mirrors, telephoto lens), seeing how thin it is compared to traditional DSLRs, and looking at the user interface, I couldn't help but think that this is something that can be implemented on smartphones too.


OK, maybe not exactly 16 lenses but more than what we're currently seeing on popular handsets like the Apple iPhone 8 Plus or Samsung Galaxy Note8, which both have two optics are the back. Right now, there are already smartphones that have three lenses at the rear like the Asus ZenFone AR and the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro -- so it's not impossible. In fact, Light L16 could very well be a glimpse of what we're going to see on high-end cameraphones a few years from now.

I actually like the concept. I mean, I certainly wouldn't mind owning a smartphone that has five cameras at the back -- as long as the imaging software is up to par and there's enough to cool features to justify such number of optics.

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