Refining the L16

For those of us who’ve spent years developing the Light L16, the past few months have been a roller coaster. We watched a growing community of photographers and visual artists create captivating work with the L16 Camera—from Thomas Sandfield’s Hong Kong street photography to Aaron Wilson’s beautiful backcountry to the thousands of #CapturedByLight photos posted to Instagram from all corners of the globe. The L16 has found a home in so many photographers’ kits and we are humbled by this. Every new L16 image we see out in the world inspires us to keep pushing the limits of modern imaging.

With these highs have come some challenges. We understand the frustrations with certain incomplete features, like iOS sharing, or suboptimal performance such as certain low-light environments. We hear your concerns loud and clear and we want to assure our community that our mission to deliver a little camera with unlimited potential is not just progressing, it’s thriving.

We made a choice to ship the L16 as soon as the camera’s hardware was reliably manufacturable and the core software viable. The early and experimental nature of our product means that it’s constantly evolving and improving. We know that in the camera world, this is not the norm—but we aren’t building just any other camera. The Light L16 is the first computational camera of its kind. Just as when the first smartphone or self-driving car was built, it, too, will continue to get better.

New-to-world technology requires a new-to-world approach for to evaluating that technology. Many photographers are creative boundary pushers by nature. They find the L16 thrilling and the promise of computational photography very bright. Others do not wish to be on the bumpy road of innovation and would prefer to wait for technology to mature before making a deep dive into a new paradigm. We have affection for both groups. For those in the latter camp who are flirting with aspirations of being in the former, we’ve begun publishing tutorials to help make that leap.

We never have to look too far for motivation. Rich communities of L16 photographers have emerged on Facebook and Flickr and YouTube. Embracing the L16 and the future that it heralds, they provide us with valuable feedback that will help us pioneer this new chapter in photography. They inspire us to keep creating better, more powerful experiences.

Since we first began shipping the L16 to photographers, we have released nearly one major software update per month. All L16 cameras receive these updates, adding new features and improving performance and reliability. From a software perspective, this means the camera you read about in October is a vastly different camera than the one you read about today.

In January, we released a massive change to capture in the form of Dynamic Autofocus. We also hosted a live Q&A and posted our first public software roadmap to give you a sense of where the camera is going. We still aim to have most of this work completed by early summer. For the next few months, our efforts will focus on several major feedback areas: :

  • low light performance
  • compose-to-capture time (autofocus speed and reliability)
  • capture-to-share time (lumen speed and ease of use)

We will also introduce an overhaul to our processing algorithms, which will yield improvements to depth calculations and the rendering of fine details. We know it’s hard to be patient for these updates—we’re avid users of the L16, too—but know that we feel your pain and we’re doing our best to make this tool better for all of us.

We are grateful to have so many talented artists on this journey with us already. Our community is an essential part of this journey and we will continue to be transparent about the L16’s progress and evolution. If you need to reach us for any reason, the team is standing by: [email protected] In the meantime, it’s back to work making the future a little more possible today.

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