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Is the Light L16 the Most Bizarre Camera in History?

Update 2/16/24: The last L16 firmware update and the Lumen software are available at the GitHub repository here. This firmware update enables video!

It isn’t any secret that I have a bit of an obsession with weird technology. I crave novelty and just have to get my hands it. I remember reading about the Light L16 camera sometime around 2016 or 2017, but it cost about $2,000 when new and so I promptly forgot about it.

Light L16
Experiencing trypophobia yet?

Recently, I was watching Krazy Ken on the Computer Clan YouTube channel and he discussed this camera for a video in his “tech flops” series. Intrigued, I checked eBay to see how much they were going for. I found one for just $175 and immediately purchased it.

Light L16
Looks almost normal from this side

That arrived today and I can’t go another minute without talking about it, because the Light L16 is so bizarre. It has 16 individual lenses and sensors arranged on its front face like some sort of demented spider. It runs Android. It technically fits in a pocket!

Light L16
They never released any accessories for that terminal on the bottom. But USB-C is nice!

I’ve been playing with it all afternoon and it is easy to understand why it flopped. Honestly, as a camera, it kind of sucks.

Light L16
It’s just an app for Android.

I’m no photographer, but I can at least operate my two Panasonic Lumix GH5 cameras and my iPhone 12 Pro. Not so much with the Light L16.

Light L16
It is a very sleek, modern design!

It is hard to hold without shaking—especially when pushing the shutter button. The camera was constantly yelling at me for blocking one of the many lenses. I’m not sure there even is a way to record video. And the photos are lackluster.

Light L16
Couldn’t get proper focus, even with several attempts. I was trying to focus on the “5” in the center.

The colors look pretty nice to my eyes and it is cool being able to instantly switch between lenses of very different focal lengths, but everything else is kind of bad.

Light L16
This has a fake depth-of-field bokeh created by the software. Usually, that feature didn’t work well.

And with 16 cameras on this thing, you’d think they could give you a rear-facing camera for selfies. Nope!

Light L16
[insert pun about sharpness]

At least it has a standard USB-C port so proprietary cables aren’t a problem. And the Lumen software (beta) is still available on archive sites, so you can use the L16 without any major issues today.

Light L16
The colors look nice to me, but many will consider them oversaturated.

Will I be using it? Almost certainly not. My iPhone 12 Pro takes photos that are probably better. If I need something better than that, I’ll use one of my GH5 mirrorless cameras.

Light L16
Can you even tell where my point of focus was? The camera seems to barely take it into consideration.

But as a collector’s piece, I absolutely love this thing. It is one of the those consumers products that makes you say “I can’t believe they actually made that!”


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