The Next Phase of the Light L16: More Control, More Freedom, More Creativity

The driving force behind our latest software update was you, the L16 photographers dedicated to making this camera better. We spent the past few months listening to our community, learning not only their pain points with the Light L16 but also their ambitions for this camera of the future. What we heard was a resounding desire for more serious camera features. We’re talking about priority and preset modes, on-camera editing, rating systems, histograms—all the tools experienced photographers need to truly unleash their creativity.

The software update we’re releasing today will do all of these things and more. As a photographer, it is your right to have the finest, most precise control of your creative output. We’re packing as many of these professional photography features into a minimal form, so that you can push the limits of not just where you go but what you see.

Shutter / ISO Priority Modes

We’re welcoming two new modes to the Light L16: Shutter priority and ISO priority. Shutter priority mode lets you select the shutter speed (1/8000 to 15 sec), while the L16 automatically adjusts the ISO (100-3200) for you. This is a great mode to use when trying to freeze motion, such as football games or wildlife. In a dimly lit scene like the one on the left (below), the L16 would normally prioritize a lower ISO. But in this case, the photographer wanted to freeze the motion of the waves, so he chose to use shutter priority mode to ensure the action was prioritized over light.

One example: If you wanted to avoid motion blur on a skateboarder, like the one shown above, you’d select a fast shutter speed such as 1/3000. The L16 will adjust the ISO level accordingly. If you wanted to include with some artistic blur, you’d lower the shutter speed to around 1/1250 and let the camera do its thing.

From left: A few scenarios where shutter and ISO priority modes come in handy. Captured by Sean Custer.

For ISO priority mode, the reverse is true. You select the ISO and the camera adjusts the shutter speed for you. This mode is ideal for scenes with dim lighting, where you want to keep the ISO low to reduce noise in the image. For the image on the right above, the photographer chose to use ISO priority mode—that way, the camera wouldn't expose for the daylight streaming in from the escalator.

White Balance Preset Options

Every photographer has their own unique way of lighting a scene. Lighting is just one of the many creative components that goes into a photographer’s whole aesthetic. As the makers of your tool, it’s our job to give you control over your style and brand, so we built out our white-balance presets. Our presets include Daylight, Cloudy, Incandescent, Fluorescent*. You’ll be able to preview these options in real time on the L16’s touchscreen so you can perfectly match the scene with the preset. Check out how they compare below.

One scene, shot with different AWB preset modes. Captured by Sean Custer.

5-Star Rating System

Part of being a great photographer is taking a lot of images—but a vast collection of images can also be extremely time-consuming to sort through. We’ve built an easier way, more intuitive way to sort and filter your favorite photos. With our improved rating system, photographers can assign each image a star rating while they’re sorting through their L16 gallery. Then, when they transfer photos to Lumen, all image ratings will follow suit, making it easier to find your best work. (Note: You’ll need to update Lumen in order for all new features to function.)

On-Camera Editing

Let’s face it. Everyone these days is always on the go. Whether or not you’re a professional photographer, few people have the time to sit down for hours on end to edit dozens and dozens of images. To assist your active workflow, we’ve added image-editing tools on the L16 itself. These basic adjustments allow photographers to tune color, tint, contrast, and more.

Conveniently located in the L16’s gallery, this tool will first prompt you to process your image with the photographic data from five of 10 camera modules. When you see the higher-quality image, you’ll have access to all the tools you need to make your photo pop. Transfer to Lumen from there—or share straight from the camera via Bluetooth. (More on iOS sharing coming soon!)

All of your edits are saved on the camera and will sync with Lumen when you transfer your RAW files to the desktop. As of right now, you won’t be able to adjust the depth of field or focal plane on the L16—but we’re working to find a way.

Histogram

The histogram is the last major feature we added to your image gallery. This graph should give you enough data about your image to know whether it was exposed properly or not. The histogram is simply one more step to giving you more control over how you create and capture photographs. To find the histogram—and your images EXIF data—just tap on an image in gallery mode, then tap i.

For those who aren’t familiar, a histogram is a graph of all the pixels displayed. The left side represents the shadows; the right side, the highlights. The height of the graph shows how many pixels there are at any one point. A lot of photographers develop their eye for exposure by assessing the light layout of shadows and highlights. If the histogram has gaps on the left side, the image was overexposed, which can lead to loss of detail in those areas. Changing exposure settings can easily address this. We think the histogram feature may also come in handy when shooting live, so we plan to make it visible in preview mode in the future.

Lumen

Though our focus was the L16 in this latest release, we made a few vital updates to Lumen as well. You should notice an easier, more intuitive import experience, as well as an improved rating system, and easier access to recently opened folders. Image quality, of course, is always improving as well.

We encourage our L16 photographers to take their cameras out and start testing these new tools right away. We’ll keep building on our current feature set, and in just a few weeks, we’ll have another big update to share with you. Until then, show us your favorite L16 photos by tagging them with #CapturedByLight on Instagram. See you out there.

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