I Have Seen The LIGHT
Photography in the past 100 years has been very slow to progress. Dropping film and going to digital is probably one of the biggest. Even then it was just some of the innards that changed. But overall it has been numerous small breakthroughs that have brought us to this point.
Could one of these breakthroughs come in the form of the LIGHT camera?
The camera looks like a mobile phone, has a massive touch screen on the back and 16 cameras. Yes 16 cameras. I know it sounds like they overheard a sarcastic comment about the new IPhone like "2 cameras, might as well have just put 16 on there"... and they followed through on it.
It consists of 5 28mm f2, 5 70mm f2, 6 150mm f2.4 lenses. All firing at the same time, which the camera then choses 10+ of the pictures and stacks to create one high resolution image at the equivalent of 52mp.
Stacking is a technique that is used to create these high res images with massive amounts of detail, often used in astrophotography when photographing the moon. It can be used to stack focal plains as well, this is often used in macro photography to get a insect or something else completely in focus. Check out this out on google.
The photos I have seen that Light have posted on their Instagram feed and their website look like a mixed bag really. The landscape pictures look fantastic and I think this is where the camera will really shine. The portrait shots however don't really look anything particularly special.
However saying that I think that there will be plenty of ProTogs that will give it a go for landscape..but then ultimately put it down again because they have expensive cameras which do the same thing.
I guess it isn't really focused on pros though and more at the consumer market/smartphone users. But here lay two issues;
1. The consumer market has virtually died a death. Consumer cameras (point and shoot) reached their peak in about 2010 when 108million units were sold world wide. Last year, just 6 years later 12 million! Companies are pulling out of the consumer camera market. Samsung completely pulled out of the camera market all together. Even the pro market is dropping. DSLR sales are down, while only mirrorless is holding its own and staying fairly level. Why the sharp, sudden drop in sales? well see point 2
2. The rise of the smartphone. Photography is actually at a all time high. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and others that I'm not cool enough to know about are more popular than ever. As discussed above it isn't because of consumer cameras. It's people taking snapshots on their smartphone. Why buy a camera when you have one in your pocket anyway. Smartphone cameras are getting better and better. You can instantly load stuff on social media. Which can be an issue for professionals as well, something Jason Lanier talks about in some of his YouTube videos.
So, when you consider these two points will it be a success? Does any company go into a market that has recently tanked and expect to be a success? Will smartphone users buy something which their smartphone already does and so many other things?
It's a niche product. It's clever. It's interesting. Will it work as a stand alone product, I personally don't think so. But I believe that the technology will bridge the gap even further between smartphone users and pro cameras. It could even be applied in some other way. It is undoubtedly something smartphone manufacturers will take hold of to improve their needs. Maybe even in the pro market, I reckon with a much bigger design. Or maybe within the interchangeable lens itself so then in-camera you can change the depth of field of that one photo without having to take another picture?
Anyway check out their website for more information www.light.co (I didn't forget the m, it ends .co) and see what you make of it. Shipping this summer to original pre-orders and taking more at end of the year.