Spotlight, where we tell stories about Light

PhotoPlus 2016

Last week, Light traveled to New York City for the annual PhotoPlus Expo. In addition to hosting many of our key partners, we also brought together media (NY Times, DP Review, etc.) and pre-order customers to get an up close look at the L16 and Light's technology.

We had a blast sharing the latest Light developments, demonstrating the L16 and Light software, and hearing the enthusiasm for the L16 shared by so many.

Below are some highlights from the evening shared by guests on Twitter and some photos captured by the team (not using L16).

img The Light team in New York City

img 8'x8' print of photo captured by L16 prototype

img L16 prototype demonstration

Calibrating the L16

As we gear up for mass production of the L16, one thing remains uniquely important to our camera’s technology: calibration.

A camera that has one optical path worries less about what is “true” or “real” because there is only one truth, one reality. This reality can be objectively tested and optimized, but it requires adjusting only one path.

A multi-aperture camera with sixteen optical paths (apertures + mirrors + sensors) contends with sixteen realities. In order to merge those realities to create one truth (final image), the camera needs to know precisely where each optical path is relative to the others.

In Light’s Palo Alto office, we’ve been using a specially-designed calibration box to “teach” each L16 prototype where all of its optical paths are relative to the others and relative to the world it will capture. This allows the sixteen paths to behave as one - maintaining the same consistency as a camera with only one optical path.

We’ve also been using this box to ensure the various realities captured by the optical paths of our prototypes intersect in the right places (colors match, focal distances are equivalent, mirrors are positioned properly, etc.) so that the final image best reflects the photographer’s reality. All of this calibration has resulted in prototype image quality that achieves the high standards we’ve set: going well beyond traditional mobile photography and into the realm of DSLRs.

At this point, we could delve into the nuances of calibration science or traverse an entire field of philosophical thought about what is real and what is true, but instead we’ll leave it at this:

We’re thrilled with the results we’ve been able to achieve using our calibration equipment in the prototype phase and have now moved our calibration process and box from our Palo Alto office to our Taiwan facilities in preparation for mass production of the L16. Below you can see photos of this exciting move.

The L16 Calibration Box
The L16 Calibration Box

Inside the L16 Calibration Box
Inside the L16 Calibration Box

L16 Calibration Box Wiring in Process
L16 Calibration Box Wiring in Process

L16 Calibration Box Packaged for Shipping
L16 Calibration Box Packaged for Shipping

L16 Calibration Box Departing California
L16 Calibration Box Departing California

L16 Calibration Box Arriving in Taiwan
L16 Calibration Box Arriving in Taiwan

L16 Update (July 2016)

Last October, we debuted the L16, the world’s first multi-aperture computational camera. Since then, we’ve been working feverishly to bring our camera to market. We have some very exciting news to share today.

L16 Product Improvements

First, we’ve made some changes to the L16 product spec that we think you’re going to like.

When we launched L16 pre-orders, we planned to provide 35-150mm optical zoom equivalent. Many of our pre-order customers emailed us asking for a wider focal length, and we listened. Today, we are pleased to announce that the shipping L16 Camera will have a 28-150mm optical zoom equivalent. This wider zoom range will make for more dramatic landscapes, more interesting street and architectural photos and a more versatile camera overall.

We were also planning to include 128GB of internal memory in the camera when we unveiled the initial product specs late last year. 128GB is a significant amount of memory, but as part of our continued effort to deliver the best possible product to our customers, we were able to obtain early access to a limited supply of 256GB internal memory parts and will be including that increased memory in our pre-order cameras at no additional cost.

We hope our customers will find this wider-angle camera with double the storage truly delightful. (A fuller view of the L16 tech spec is now available here.)

Prototype Manufacturing Video

Second, on one of our recent trips to our manufacturing facilities in Asia, we filmed the production of the most recent L16 prototypes. We hope you enjoy going behind the scenes with this video.

Series C

Last, but certainly not least, we are pleased to announce that we’ve closed a $30M series C round of funding, led by GV (formerly Google Ventures). We will put these funds to good use as we scale our global supply chain to meet overwhelming demand.

Since our launch, we have become intimately familiar with the mantra, “hardware is hard.” In addition to building a world-class mobile device from the ground up, Light is also developing a paradigm-shifting optics system which is powered by revolutionary imaging software. Having top-tier investors like GV support our mission ensures Light is in the best possible position to conquer this challenge.

We are grateful to GV and look forward to learning from their expert team and gaining insights from their impressive network of portfolio companies. Onwards and upwards!

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L16 Update (May 2016)

logistics, logistics, logistics

It’s shaping up to be another productive month at Light. Our Operations team spent April and most of May identifying, visiting, and evaluating potential US distribution centers.

The distribution center plays a key role in getting L16 cameras to customers and serves as the hub of supply chain and fulfillment operations. Once the L16 comes off the manufacturing line in Asia, it will be packaged and transported to the center. There, cameras will be added to inventory systems, sorted, and put on shelves. Next, customer orders will be sent to our distribution center partner and associated with individual cameras. Those cameras will be picked from the shelves, packed into boxes, and shipped to our customers.


As the team evaluated all the options, they had a long list of requirements to satisfy. Among those were a history of excellence in fulfilling complex hardware products for some of the world’s most reputable brands, the ability to interface directly with our back-office systems, and high-quality service levels including fast processing and short delivery times.

After much consideration, we have partnered with a distribution center that meets all of our technical and service level requirements. We’re confident that this partnership will result in a seamless post-purchase experience for our customers.


The L16 goes north

In addition to crossing an important milestone on the logistical front, we’ve had a chance to test our camera in the wild. Recently, Josh Anon, a Bay Area photographer and member of our creative advisory board, traveled to Svalbard with one of our P1 (Prototype 1) units. You can see some of the photos he captured along with Josh’s account of the trip on our photoblog: Captured.


More to come from us soon. In the meantime drop us a line any time at [email protected]

L16 update (March 2016)

Since launching the L16 back in October, a lot has happened at Light. Our team has grown, and we finally outgrew our humble abode in Palo Alto. You’ll now find our marketing, operations, and design teams working from our new space in SoMa (San Francisco), and our supply chain and manufacturing teams working from our new office in Taipei.

Light Taipei Office

As our team continues to grow, we remain laser-focused on building and perfecting the L16 camera. We’re grateful for your patience, and we’re excited to share a few updates with you today.


L16 camera modules

As we transition from the prototype stage to the mass production stage, we’ve completely redesigned our camera modules - the individual lens/barrel/sensor assemblies that form the heart of the L16’s optical array. This redesign ensures that the modules will perform consistently across a wide range of environments and use cases. These new modules also include our production image sensors. We’re very excited to begin showing you full-resolution images from these beautiful new sensors soon.


Our image processing software has also seen great progress as we’ve moved toward production. Since August, we’ve dramatically improved the ability to render color accurately in our processed images. This powerful software is well on its way to maturity, and you’ll see more examples of this in the coming months.


L16 chassis

On the construction front, we’ve made refinements to the mechanical designs of the L16 as our components near their final, production specifications. We’ve improved the camera body and will be combining the new bodies with the new camera modules next month.

We are very excited about the next phase and shipping the L16 to our early customers. We have a few more developmental milestones to clear before we can finalize our shipping calendar, but expect that we’ll have more to share on that in another update or two.

We’ve come a huge distance in the last few months, and we remain grateful for your support and encouragement as we hustle to get this truly spectacular camera into the world.

As always, you can reach us at [email protected] with any questions.