Spotlight, where we tell stories about Light

L16 Update (December 2016)

Excitement is building here at Light as we enter the homestretch of our journey with mass production in sight. We have a number of exciting updates to share today.

PhotoPlus event

In October, we hosted a meet-up for photo enthusiasts attending the PhotoPlus Expo in NYC. Attendees and media had the opportunity to see the first public demonstrations of L16 prototypes and the Light software suite. Our co-founders were on hand to answer questions and the entire team had a great time meeting with everyone, especially the handful of pre-order customers who attended. You can read more about the event here.

New video

We’ve received a lot of questions from photographers wanting to understand exactly how the L16 works. It’s a complicated piece of technology, so we created a video that demonstrates Light’s technology and the ways the L16 delivers its new imaging power. You can watch it here.


Aperture upgrade

When we launched the L16 for pre-order, the plan called for all 16 camera modules to have fixed f/2.4 apertures. We’re pleased to share that we’ve been able to improve this spec as we’ve developed the L16 prototypes. The L16 that we ship will include 5x28mm modules at f/2.0, 5x70mm modules at f/2.0 and 6x150mm modules at f/2.4. These improvements dramatically increase the L16’s light-gathering ability, making for even better images at magic hour and in cozy social scenes.

Beta testing

We’ve started in-field beta tests with prototypes of the L16 Camera. If you would like to be considered for participation in a beta test to help shape the future of photography, please complete the brief questionnaire here.

Production update

We are on track to begin mass production of the L16 early in the second quarter of 2017. L16 cameras will ship to pre-order customers as soon as possible after mass production begins. For some insight into what’s happening behind the scenes, our next major hardware milestone occurs later this month and will inform a more detailed production schedule, which we’ll share in January.

New images

Our marketing team finally wrested control of the latest L16 prototypes from our engineering team and is out shooting images with the camera as we speak. We’ve already posted some new images to our gallery page and will continue to post more there and on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as they come in.

We’ve also made our first set of higher-resolution images available for download. These images are meant to provide a peek under the hood at Light’s image processing engine, which is currently being alpha tested. You can read more about the processing engine here and download the images here. We’ll be posting more higher-resolution images as we continue to fine tune the L16 prototypes and the image processing engine.

beach

Everybody at Light is heads down working to get the L16 into your hands as soon as possible. We remain incredibly humbled by all of the enthusiasm shown for our mission and grateful for the patience of our pre-order customers. You can reach us any time at [email protected] and track our progress right here on the blog.

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.

box

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.

shelves

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.

svalbard

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