L16 camera by Light

 

2 years ago, there was a kick starter campaign about a revolutionary new concept camera being developed by the Light Company called the L16.

It is a camera that is to have 16 lenses; with those lenses and the technology behind the  camera would be able to take above average photographs than most travel cameras today.

Red Budda 2

This write up is about my observations and experience with the L16.

First off this is a disclaimer that I am writing this on my own and have no association with the Light Company; other than purchasing their camera through the kick starter program for my own personal use.

I am writing this to educate you on my experiences with the L16, a new type of camera that has a great potential to really be a game changer as it grows in capability; more on that in the write up.

As a photographer who travels a few times a year and backpack all my travel stuff, weight and space are an important part of my thought process; what to take or not, how much do I NEED to take for the time period I will be gone.

Camera gear has been a huge issue for me when travelling, as most of it can be big and bulky and weigh a lot!

So when I discovered the kick starter campaign for the L16, I thought I would take a chance and see if it would fit the bill for what I have been looking for in a travel camera.

One that would not be a replacement for my DSLR, but be another tool in my toolbox that could be used when wanting to travel light and still have some of the qualities of my DSLR where I could get some nice quality photographs/ images during my travels.

I do utilize my travel photography in commission work and some of my digital artistry when doing composite work; so the photographs have to have a bit of quality in them so I don’t have to work so hard when processing them later.

There are all kinds of cameras out there for all types of people and preferences…I will tell you that the L16 pretty much fit the bill to be the camera for my travels and let me tell you why:

L16 characteristics

Weight – 15.6 ounces ( I weighed it on the kitchen scale – this includes the Utomic protective casing and gorilla glass)

  • A great weight when travelling around; at least 4 pounds lighter than my DSLR with a small lens on it.

Storage – 256GB internal built in (holds approximately 2000+/- images)

  • I had almost 1300 images on it and still had space for another 900+ per the image storage indicator
  • The camera will keep track and let you know how many images you can take based on storage capacity left

Battery – built in lithium battery, charges from empty to full capacity within 90 minutes

  • It has WiFi capability which drains the battery within a day if you leave it on
  • With WiFi off, I used the camera for 3 days without having to recharge
  • The battery status will tell you how much time you have left before you have to recharge based on your use (which is a really good feature if you are out and about)

Lens range – 28mm to 150mm

  • When taking a photo, 10 of the 16 lenses take and image and the camera merges them together with all the data each lens collects.
  • when previewing the image in camera
    • it shows only one of the lens images for preview
    • if you process it in camera, the preview will be a much higher quality to view
  • If you were to research the ultimate lenses to have when travelling, you would find the range to be exactly what Light put in their camera.
  • I checked each prime lens to see how close I could get when taking photos, as do like macro photography and wanted to see if I the L16 could work for that while travelling.
    • 28mm and the 35mm focused at about 4 inches
    • 70mm focused at around 8 inches
    • 150mm focused at 14 inches
  • you can zoom by swiping/ moving finger up or down on screen to any range
  • Lens front is very sensitive to being blocked by fingers, so watch where you put them when shooting.
  • I found that pretty much anything within an inch of the front of the camera causes a blocked lens notice…to include clear glass windows.

ISO – 100 – 3200

Aperture F2 – F15.2

  • You adjust in Lumen, the program that comes with the camera to process the image.
  • You choose the focus point when shooting, everything is pretty much in focus until you adjust aperture in program, based off of your initial focus point.

Accessories 

  • It comes with the charger and cord
    • The cord is used to charge and download your images to the computer
    • Carry strap
    • protective case
      • The case works well with just the camera, but I ordered the Utomic protective rubber shell and Gorilla glass (to protect the back screen); it does not fit in the case.
      • My recommendation is for Light to develop one or find an aftermarket case that will fit both the camera and Utomic shell.

I tried some night/ low light photography and the results were OK.

  • The ISO is good for the above type of photography, but the issue becomes focus
    • You can touch the screen to focus in low light, but when you hit the shutter it refocuses which throws out your original focus point.
      • for low light, I recommend you use the 3 second timer so when you push the fire button, it focuses and then times down to take the photo.
        • I found this to be the best way to ensure a correct focus when doing low light photography with the L16.
  • For night photography, I found it difficult to use as you cannot set the focus point and lock it, then push the shutter button.
    • the only way I could do it was to have a flashlight, light something in the scene, half press the shutter to focus and take the shot with the 3 second timer on.
      • This is pretty much the only way I could do any night photography with it…other than trying to focus on a bright light or illuminated object in the scene.
        • My recommendation is for light to provide and update that allows to manually focus and lock it prior to pushing the shutter button. This would really bring another level to this camera.

Robert Blum Memorial

Processing images

This process is a little more tedious than just downloading and processing your images in Lightroom, Photoshop or any other image processing program.

The bottom line is it takes time to process any image; especially if it is an exceptional image you want to print and hang on your wall or provide to your client.

First, the images are processed from the camera to the computer

Second, you process the images in Lumen

  • adjust aperture, if wanted or needed
  • make any other adjustments; exposure, contrast, etc. if needed
  • save image as .jpg and/ or .dng file
    • you can save as a small file; as little as 3mb
    • or save the full image as a .dng file at 251mb per image (most of mine were this size after processing)
  • then you can process in any other program you desire or keep it as is if you like

Overall impression

The L16 is a great travel camera for those that do not want to take a lot of gear with them. I traveled with the L16, a gorilla pod tripod and 2 – 256gb USB/micro USB drives to back up the images and that is it for camera gear!

I only used the tripod twice…so next time it may stay home.

The ease of making shutter or zoom adjustments on the fly is as easy as the swipe of your finger…

The quality of the images after getting home and processing them? Well beyond my expectations…many of the images put my DSLR to shame.

I shot images with the L16 that I shot with the DSLR same time last year and the L16 quality beat it hands down with the amount of detail that was in it vs my other camera; using similar or same settings.

This is not like any other camera out there, so it will take some getting used to and to learn how to shoot with it and under what conditions it is best suited for based on your needs.

There is much more to this camera than what I posted here.

Oberwesel Church

I just wanted you to know about my thoughts on the basics of the camera and the ability, quality and ease of use when travelling with it.

For me, this camera is a keeper for sure and it will be my go to camera when I travel.

The Light company also updates the camera via WiFi and is expected to  update it to be able to shoot 4K video in the future as well.

This is another tool in the toolbox to help me capture images during my travels for my personal and professional use without having to load myself down in the process.

I hope you enjoyed reading this write up about the L16 and the information here will help you decide what to look for in your future travel camera.

 

 

 

 

 

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