Light L16: Cam of the future?
Light At the end of the first season of the HBO tech comedy Silicon Valley, the characters turn up at a conference where one CEO after another stands up on a stage and insists that their company is making the world a better place. But the reasons these imaginary entrepreneurs give are intensely niche and jargon filled, bordering on nonsensical. That’s a pretty good send up of the real-life tech industry, Everyone insists they’re changing the world.
But true innovations the smartphone, the global internet, self driving cars, are uncommon signals in all that noise.
Rajiv Laroia is the rare technologist who can offer a compelling argument that his product carries that revolutionary potential. As the chief technology officer at a camera startup called Light, he’s created a camera promising never before seen quality and functionality with a footprint small enough to fit maybe a bit uncomfortably in your pocket.
Light announced its first camera, the L16, back in October
Described rather obtusely in a press release as the first multi-aperture computational camera, the small company nonetheless received so many pre-orders for a $1,699 camera still in its prototype stage that they had to shut down the pre-order program. Asked in an interview if he thinks the L16 can compete with top tier offerings from established companies like Nikon and Canon, Laroia laughs.
Light’s VP of marketing Bradley Lautenbach clarifies:
Because of their product, he says, in five to ten years the major camera brands will no longer exist. Cameras are better then ever, but they need to go I first heard about Light’s L16 camera not from a press release but from Chicago wedding photographer Misty Winter .
She’d worked in the industry for long enough to grow tired of hauling around two heavy Canon DSLRs and bags full of lenses everywhere she went.
After hearing rumors about an iPhone sized device with optical zoom, wide aperture lensing, and DSLR like sensor quality, she told me she’d ditch her Canons as soon as she could get her hands on one. Riding in her passenger seat with my back aching after a day of hauling around heavy equipment, I privately doubted that day would come.
Serious photographers favor cameras with detachable lenses and physically large sensors the sort that can only be found in large, professional DSLRs because they offer a degree of control over image making that you just can’t find in smaller, cheaper devices.
Purpose built interchangable lenses offer exceptional quality with the option of wide apertures and shallow depths of field. And the width of a DSLR’s sensor area produces an image closer to what you see with a human eye. A DSLR can produce an image at any focal length with wide dynamic range, excellent color, and shallow depth of field timed to a perfect moment.
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