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Light L16 Review: Optical Insanity

Light L16 Review: Optical Insanity

Trip of phobia is the popular term for a fear of irregularly spaced holes or bumps and if that sounds like you you might want to look away now this is the L 16 a one of a kind device that its manufacturer calls the camera of the future but at this point it’s such a work in progress that it feels much more like a prototype from the past I’m mr.

mobile and these are the peaks and the pitfalls of the pricey light L 16 a big touchscreen an Android operating system a symmetrical rectangular chassis the L 16 might look like a smartphone in pictures but pick it up in person and you’ll see it’s a much more substantial slab than even the biggest of Samsung’s that makes sense because it’s not really meant to do battle with the smartphones of the world it’s aimed at professional photographers instead or more likely to edit their images on a computer in Lightroom than Instagram them from a phone the hand feel reflects that at 435 grams this thing demands two hands which will find their places easily on the casings textured rubber grips compared to a Micro Four Thirds camera like this gh4 the L 16 is actually pretty petite and it eliminates almost all the buttons knobs and switches in favor of that tap a bowl 5-inch display thankfully a physical shutter button stays put with good springy action and a nice firm half press to focus 2/10 below that is a small touch panel that looks ready to do some thumb zooming but as of press time it wasn’t yet activated in the devices software also awaiting future activation is the proprietary accessory port on the bottom and its neighboring three-and-a-half millimeter headphone jack well actually the headphone jack is active but there’s very little to listen to at this point since you can’t yet record video on the L 16 that’s a feature coming down the road those gaps contribute to the feeling that this is a prototype which makes sense because light seems more interested in licensing its camera technology to other companies than just selling L 16 and that technology is definitely the most interesting thing about this device the cameras use different focal lengths from 28 up to 150 millimeters and they’re also assigned different exposure values per photo manipulating this when shooting is about as easy as with a smart phone you pinch to zoom tap to focus or if you want to switch to manual mode you get sliders that are pretty easy to figure out when you snap the shot ten of the sensors fire at once with the software stitching the overlapping 13 megapixel images into a single large canvas the file size varies but most of mine have weight in between 51 and 81 megapixels a far cry from your smart phones typical 12 megapixels they’re saved in a special format which lets you manipulate them using the lumen desktop software so you can do things like change focus and apply depth effects after the fact the promise of this technology is what convinced me to buy this review device light says the L 16 should capture photos with exceptional dynamic range and it should feature excellent low-light performance as well I don’t have the expertise or the equipment to test that claim as well as I’d like so I took a walk down the road to my good friends at review.

com here in Cambridge Mass who were good enough to point the L 16 at their equipment for a quick testing session the EMA test results were promising reviewed said the L 16 does a good job of preserving shadow detail and limiting noise in the lab environment which is a key limiting factor that typically reduces dynamic range in smartphone photos I was encouraged by that finding and when my L 16 got a software update that added local tone mapping I was even more hopeful but sadly my result out in the real world have been almost universally disappointing in a vacuum some of the L 16s photos have been passable but shooting alongside a pixel to excel there hasn’t been a single instance where I preferred the L sixteens picture I understand this camera wasn’t made to go toe-to-toe with a smartphone and I’m also very aware that the pixel 2 has one of the best phone cameras on the market but given the l 16s pedigree and lights big promises compared to DSLRs I expected much better performance than this and the unfinished nature of the software means there’s no quick way to get photos off the unit without connecting it to a computer I’ve read that there’s a way to do this through the built-in browser but that browser has Terms of Service and a privacy notice that don’t blowed so no thanks if you’re a pro photographer who’s used to plugging into a computer and using desktop software to get the most out of your pictures then the L 16 and its lumen program will probably feel quite familiar there are some useful tools built-in including edge cleanup capability to correct portrait shots that’s great but it’s there to correct forget another disappointment the L 16 is substantially worse than some smart phones at applying the depth effects you expect from a portrait so you’ve got mediocre image quality in a package that barely fits in a pocket no video capability yet and no native wireless sharing from the device to third-party apps yet at this point the only things I still like about the l16 are its day time landscape photos now and it’s tripod mount now light is constantly releasing updates and seems very invested in its community of l16 owners so maybe we can expect encouraging developments down the line as we saw with the initially disappointing and now acceptable essential phone thanks in no small part to a price cut if you’re an experimental photographer who’s just in it for the tech there’s certainly plenty of potential to drool over here and I’m sure we will see this technology more at least the lessons from it bleed over into cameras on other devices in the coming years but as for the l16 itself well for two thousand bucks I can’t recommend it to anyone at this point but I do recommend you visit thrifter dot-com I try to keep my sponsor offers relevant to the video at hand where I Ken and thrifter has sniffed out a great deal on a canon t6i with lens for 500 bucks thrifter is a new way to save money by shopping based on value and not hype hit the link in the description for that Canon deal or for savings on everything from gadgets to home goods at thrifter dot-com on our way out a big thanks to review.

com for their help understanding the l16 and check out the description for links to some true pro photographer reviews of this device until next time please subscribe and stay mobile my friends


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