Light announces the L16, a 52-megapixel ‘DSLR-killer’ that fits in your pocket

by Gannon Burgett

posted Thursday, October 8, 2015 at 12:06 AM EDT

Over the past six months we’ve taken an inside look at and shared in-depth interviews with the brilliant minds behind Light, a photography startup looking to ‘reimagine photography’ with a unique multi-module point-and-shoot camera its founders call an ‘SLR-killer’.

Today, Light has announced the L16, its first real-world product that was first teased in prototype renderings shared with us in April of 2015.

As the renderings showed and our interviews explained, the L16 packs in sixteen 13-megapixel camera modules at three different focal lengths – 35mm (5), 70mm (5) and 150mm (6) – for a total of 52-megapixels. Each of these modules captures an individual image, which is then stitched together via software to yield a photo that Light claims is equal to the quality of a DSLR with a large lens attached.

The device itself would be fairly understated if it weren’t for the sixteen cameras staring down any subject in its path. Besides the camera array, a small flash and a textured front grip, the front of the camera is devoid of any buttons or screens. On top, two buttons control the power and shutter, while a five-inch touchscreen on the back gives you access to all of the settings and controls.

The announcement of the L16 comes as a slight surprise, considering Light never explicitly mentioned any plans to build its own camera. However, it does line up with the Fall/Q4 announcement Light CEO Dave Grannan foreshadowed in our latest interview. This could prove to be an interesting move consideringLight signed an agreement in April 2015 with Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn to license out its multi-module technology for future smartphone devices.

Although not mentioned on the L16 microsite, it seems Light also has a proprietary post-processing software in the works. As you can see in the screenshot above (from the below video), it looks to offer a very minimal control scheme with a focus on speed and simplicity. 

Light has officially opened up pre-orders for the L16, which will set you back $200 for an immediate deposit and a remaining $1,100 (and applicable taxes) when it ships in ‘late summer 2016’. Snagging one after November 6th will bump the price up by $400, so reserve yours now if you want to be one of the first people to take the tech for a spin.