L16; The Camera of the Future is Not Quite Ready for Prime Time

I saw the Light camera L16 profiled on a local news show (it was invented in Silicon Valley after all). I was fascinated. Of course I knew it would be expensive, and of course I thought I wanted one.

Wired’s review has induced a dash of wisdom into my yearning. At $1950, the proof-of-concept camera actually costs less than I had projected… until I factor in that I would need to get a new computer to manipulate the images. In fact, I would probably want a computer dedicated solely to images. Faintly, in the distance, I hear the ka-ching of cash registers.

Also, right now this technology intimidates me. I’m only beginning to learn how to take good pictures with my phone camera, and confronting the limitations of that device. Like the reviewer, I’m more comfortable with a DSLR although I am clearly not at the reviewer’s level. The fact that the camera named Light is not good in low light seems ironic (unless the name refers to what it needs, like a vampire calling itself “Blood” or something). I’m often shooting things in motion; animals, birds, ocean waves, and the current generation of the L16 doesn’t handle that very well.

I have difficult wrapping my head around the technology. (That’s nothing new.) The L16 doesn’t rely on optics, on ground lenses, or anything I kind of do understand. It’s all algorithms. Do I need yet another piece of technology in my life that I don’t understand? On the other hand, the new washing machine is computer driven and I can use it just fine, while I haven’t got the slightest idea what it’s doing while it’s chugging, pausing, “sensing” and so on.

The reviewer gleefully envisions a time when you can take a photo with your paperback-book sized camera, manipulate the image on the screen and “upload to Instagram” without ever looking at it on a big screen. To my that’s a scene straight out of hell, which just proves that I’m old and the tech has passed me by.

But still… you can take such cool photos with it.

Maybe I’ll start saving my pennies and wait for the next generation of the L16. By then, they may have the 600 mm lens done. That would be awesome.

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3 Responses to L16; The Camera of the Future is Not Quite Ready for Prime Time

  1. Carlo Favetta says:

    I have the L16. Though it’s still a work in progress, I really, really like it. Yesterday, I received an OTA that has added a swag of improvements. OTA’s are one of the beauties of this camera, being built on an android platform and able to be improved continuously.
    If you go to the Spot.light.co webpage the following article https://spot.light.co/ask-us-anything/ contains a road map of where their heading with the L16 in the next 6 months. (NB Their intentions are to keep improving beyond this)

  2. Marion says:

    Carlo, hey, thanks! I’m glad you are liking it. The ability to upgrade so quickly is certainly one of the draws. (And the other is the 16 lenses!) I’ll check out that article.

  3. Marion says:

    I loved her signs. I liked almost all the signs, actually. I did not get a picture of the one that said, “Free Melania” but it made me snort with laughter.

    I thought the event was very well coordinated and I was disappointed that the coordinating group did not loop in the local daily. Even a phone call with the census of people would have been good. I was sad to see that West County was not included in the next day’s article.

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