The strap marks burned into your neck from a long day of shooting. The back aches. The massive bag filled with different lenses.
These are problems all photographers will recognise: DSLR’s just simply aren’t the lightest piece of equipment around. For a long time, it has seemed impossible to find a happy medium of a camera that will give high-quality images without the heavy duty weight.
Until now. Maybe.
The new Light L16 camera claims to be able to deliver DSLR quality photographs while being small enough to fit in your pocket – which, of course, is brilliant if it can deliver on that. But what exactly are we dealing with here? The company claims to have produced a “multi-aperture computational camera”.
Try saying that after a few Jagerbombs…
For those of us who speak English, that means that the camera shoots on multiple focal lengths, through 10 different lenses and sensors at the same time, after which the images are stitched together using the computing process within the camera. Alongside this, the Light L16 holds a laser rangefinder to assist with auto-focusing. There’s the definite feeling that this camera has been crafted to achieve the highest quality for minimum effort on behalf of the photographer. The photographs seem to be produced on a more automatic than manual sense, with little owner input.
The Light L16 seems to be made to appeal towards our ‘instant gratification’ culture. The depth of field, exposure, and focus are all chosen after taking the image, which seems to solidify the Light L16 as the ‘Instagram of cameras’: it’s a way for those with little talent or interest in photography to easily take photos of good quality, and edit them to an even better standard.
Given all this, it’s hard to think of a solid market audience for the camera. It’s due to be released next year with an opening price of a hefty £1100. For photographers who prefer the more conventional practice, they could easily pick up a better DSLR for less (such as the Canon 70D), and clearly the price isn’t the most accessible for the general public. For such a price tag, it’s easy to imagine that the Light L16 could end up as the latest gimmick for Viners and Youtubers (especially now that their beloved scooter boards have been banned from the streets). The camera does shoot 4K video, and has built in Wifi, which lends itself towards instant sharing on social media, suggesting perhaps that, at least for the moment, the Light L16 may be most comfortable among internet celebrities.
With the camera not being shipped in the US until next autumn, and an international shipping date yet to be set, we have a while yet to see its commercial success – and I for one sincerely hope that the camera proves me wrong and welcomes in a new era of more portable DSLRs. But for that price tag, I think many will be sticking with crippling camera bags and sore shoulders.