The camera modules on today’s smartphones can run circles around the sensors in use just a few short years ago, not only wowing us with higher pixel counts, but also improved light sensitivity and color accuracy. But for a growing number of smartphone makers, even one of these camera modules just isn’t enough, and we’ve seen a real uptick lately in handsets employing two cameras at once to increase their imaging performance. Well, if two is already better than one, won’t more than two cameras offer even more impressive shots? That’s one one startup is betting on, as Light introduces its Android-powered L16 camera, armed with sixteen distinct camera modules.
The L16 is more properly a camera than a smartphone, but given its OS of choice, and the tech overlap we’re seeing (it even looks a bit like a phone), this is definitely one camera that piques our interest.
Even with sixteen cameras, the Light L16 won’t use them all at once – the modules are configured for a variety of focal lengths, and the camera only works with a subset of them at any given time, gathering data from the ten most useful sensors when you go to take a shot. With a little software magic, the output from those cameras is fused into one big 52MP picture.
Shoppers pre-ordering the L16 will be able to take it home for just about $1300, but its final retail price will hit $1700, with the first cameras arriving next summer. That’s going to put it out of reach for many of us, but consider this a preview of what’s to come: how long could it really be before we see mainstream smartphone manufacturers attempting something similar with their own handsets?