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The L16 allows me to create enormous, rich photographs without having to lug about lots of heavy gear. A friend has referred to it as the biggest bargain in medium format cameras since the images it creates have so much detail; when you zoom in, stories are revealed that you didn't know where there when you shot the photogrraph. The L16 is not a medium format camera, but you wouldn't know that from the enormous files it can create. To me, those discoveries in the detail are like finding gold. It is always a delight to get home and see on my computer so much more story than I had anticipated. In addition, I like to hike and find it a snap to carry the L16; this is especially important when I am on steep terrain, or slippery footing. I hike all winter, out on frozen waters and icy paths (I live in Northern Vermont in the USA and winter is long). In addition, the L16 is great for travel. It easily slips into my handbag, and I find I don't have to haul out the dslr and heavy lenses all the time. On a recent trip, I brought my usual hand luggage heavily weighted with cameras and lenses, and in the end, used only my L16. This is a serious camera, for serious photographers
I was one of the early (non-beta) users to receive the L16. After seven months of using my L16 with its greatly improving camera and Lumen software, I can say with confidence that the L16 has now surpassed my expectations. Over the years I’ve used many 35mm film and medium formats and then progressed from the first digitall SLRs to the Canon 5D I own today. What initially attracted me to the L16 (and to pre-order) was the size, lens flexibility, and promise of image quality. As an older person, I found it harder to lug my heavy equipment around to make landscape and related images, which is one of my main interests in retirement. The L16 is not going to satisfy everyone. But when I factored in the size, focal length range, and potential image quality (along with software updates) the purchase made perfect sense for me. The biggest improvement I’ve seen in the past few months relates to image quality. The wide dynamic range is really superb, capturing subtle detail in shadows. The overall sharpness has also gotten much better, giving me the ability to crop images. For those used to a traditional workflow, the L16’s companion Lumen software may be seen as a bottleneck; this is used to first process and convert the camera’s proprietary RAW files. But Lumen does now offer a lot of adjustments – not only to settings like sharpness and color balance, but aspects traditional cameras can’t touch, especially depth of field after an image is made. Put simply, it’s the essence of computational photography. No question, the L16 is not good for capturing fast sports action. And the current lack of video capability will turn others away. But when looking at the whole package, the L16 has let me travel places I couldn’t do before – and capture scenes with a look that wasn’t possible with anything I’d owned before.
I now have had the opportunity to use the L16 for 5+ months putting it through a number of challenging photographic situations, including a trip to Antarctica and South Georgia Island. Net net I’m enjoying using it as well as the results I have gotten. As a Wildlife Photographer I don’t see the L16 replacing my DSLR with itt’s arsenal of lenses but it has already moved into first place as my pocket / walk around camera replacing my Canon G11 and my Nikon V1. Having a very high resolution and optical zoom of 28-150mm sets it apart from many other compact cameras. While the very high resolution of the L16 excels in well lighted situations I have had particularly good success shooting concerts, bands, plays and other low light / high contrast challenging lighting situations. Some of these situations like concerts prohibit professional level cameras but the stealthy L16 with it’s clunky smart phone look has been no problem. I have also had the opportunity to make some awesome prints from the L16. Overall I am very impressed by this first generation highly innovative camera, I’m also impressed by the company’s responsiveness to suggestions and their speed at continually updating and improving this very innovative new approach to photography. While the L16 is easy to use right out of the box to get the most out of it requires use and practice as there are elements to using a computational camera which are different from your everyday camera. For example I normally shoot 98% of the time using Aperture Priority however when shooting with the L16 the notion of aperture is not really relevant as it shoots everything at f15, but unlike any other camera you can change the aperture and point of focus in post, a very cool feature. I would say though that the post production workflow using Lumen adds an extra step and is more challenging and burdensome than with traditional digital camera workflows, but I have seen a steady flow of improvements from Light in this area, and hopefully will see many more. Although if you just want a simple jpeg vs raw file you can streamline your process significantly. One cool element of the camera is that it has an internet browser built in so you can actually surf the web, interact with Social Media and even check your email on the camera’s high resolution LCD screen, another very cool element. The Light Co. has some really helpful online video tutorials that I highly recommend and I have found the Facebook L16 Group forums to be very useful in learning how to get the most out of the L16 and the Lumen software. Even after 5 months of use I am still learning how to optimize my L16 Photography, but I’m enjoying the opportunity to use this highly sophisticated addition to my photographic toolbox. I am very active in International Photography Competitions and look forward to winning one with my L16. To learn more about how the L16 performed in Antarctica check out my blog at: http://billklipp.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/2/Antarctica-Wanderings-I---L16-Light-Camera-in-Antarctica
I'm an engineer and hobby photographer. So, I get pretty excited when breakthrough camera technology comes around in my lifetime. The idea of multi-camera photograph is only recently made possible due to the many advancements in camera module manufacturing. Why should you, a photographer, care about that? This allows you too decompose large, bulky lenses and camera body into a compact form factor that fits into an oversized smartphone case and shoots a lot like a medium format for much less than $10K. I had a lot of questions when it came time to finish ordering my camera. After all, it's a complex camera, but here's the cliff notes. Maybe you'll find your own questions below. But wait, what's so special about a bunch of smartphone cameras? Yes, same image sensor. Different lens. The lens was redesigned to resolve details up to the diffraction limit (the best a lens can get). Already, this makes the camera module able to resolve detail better than a mass manufactured smartphone camera. Also, you can stick it in your pocket, unless you're wearing hipster jeans. Most people think it's a weird cell phone, and you can take your camera into many places where people are wary of photos. Light as a feather, too. I can't believe I used to carry that silly camera bag on hikes. There's a depth map? Yes. This is actually a 3D camera. You have two eyes? The L16 has 5 that it uses to calculate a depth map in Lumen. Light also uses depth maps to do aperture adjustment and refocusing in post and in high resolution. Want a star shaped bokeh without putting some weird cutout in front of your lens? Do it in software. Well, Light needs to release the LRI format before we can do that, but that's to come in 2018... Do you lose quality when you zoom? Nope. You lose resolution instead. 52MP to 13MP. Why's that? Light uses mirrors to tile longer focal length lenses onto a wider focal length background. Think of it like a variable crop factor. Lenses in 35mm systems become longer when the sensors are cropped, like in APS-C. The same thing with the L16, except they use mirrors to vary the crop factor. It's a cool idea. What won't you like? The L16 struggles at lower light levels. Max ISO (3200) is unusable, ISO1600 might be usable. That means you won't be shooting at night with the L16. It's a 2-year old sensor and technology moves fast. There isn't a grip and it's lunchboxy in shape. Always keep two hands and a wrist strap on the camera. The L16 is just about as slow as my Nikon in Live View mode. Bad for fast action. Does the L16 shoot like my (fill in your camera here)? The L16 probably doesn't do a lot of things your camera does. It doesn't even have a hotshoe. But my Canon also can't do a lot of things my Nikon can do, and vice versa. They're just different. Light also has to develop many of the features (besides the Android OS) into the camera through regular firmware updates. That means the camera's not done yet. I take photos that have weird depth map artifacts in them, but they are far from the majority and mainly consist of errors having to do with repeating patterns (like fences). In those cases, I just turn off aperture adjustment and send the buggy capture to Light. 80% of the time, the pictures turn out great. Is this the camera for me??? *I* like the camera, but then again, I'm not you. Only you can decide that. Fortunately, Light has a generous return policy. I'd say try it and follow Light's many video tutorials on how to setup and shoot with the L16 when you do get it.