Nine-lens smartphone from camera maker Light may launch this year

Waiting for a triple-lens iPhone? This smartphone reportedly packs 9.


multi-camera smartphones
Take a picture or nine with this smartphone prototype from Light.
Photo: Light via Photo Rumors

An iPhone with a third lens is in the pipeline, rumor has it. But why just three, when you can have a smartphone with nine lenses?

Light, maker of a futuristic camera with 16 lenses, reportedly plans to introduce a smartphone with five to nine lenses by the end of 2018.

The Washington Post technology columnist Geoffrey A. Flower got a sneak peek at a working prototype of the smartphone. The device’s array of lenses can simultaneously record an image and merge each module’s take into one big photo.

“We’ve already seen a version of this in Apple and Samsung phones with two lenses on the back,” Fowler wrote. “The P21 Pro flagship from Huawei includes three lenses: one color, one monochrome (to help with depth and lowlight situations) and one 3X zoom.

“Light has taken this idea furthest. It showed me concept and working prototype phones with between five and nine lenses — yes, nine — on the back. It says its phone design is capable of capturing 64-megapixel shots, better low-light performance and sophisticated depth effects.”

Light L16: lessons learned?

The Light L16 may provide the company valuable lessons as it develops a smartphone.
The Light L16 may provide the company valuable lessons as it develops a smartphone.
Photo: Light

Light put a bag full of photo gear into one rectangular camera body when it developed the Light L16. It had the ambition of meeting virtually every promise computational photography holds.

The Light L16 is named for its 16 imaging modules and the same number of lenses scattered across the face of the device. The camera packs a mix of lenses: wide angle, medium telephoto and three with a focal length of 150 mm.

The user zooms in on the touchscreen viewfinder and each camera records an image. In that same instant, the camera’s software combines the images to replicate the focal length, providing a higher-quality zoom than the primitive digital zoom on most smartphones.

The L16 did not exactly get photographers to shelve their DSLRs.

Reviewers marveled at the possibilities but largely panned the device. Many said the image quality did not live up to the hype — or the $1,900 price tag. In a review earlier this year for The Verge, Sean O’Kane said the L16 proved slow at times and performed poorly in low light. Plus, image quality did not hold up when zoomed in all the way.

“I’m not that happy with the L16 as a camera,” O’Kane wrote.”But for Light, the real value of the L16 is not as a standalone product. Rather, it’s a demonstration of certain technologies and ideas, all of which could make a lot more sense in smartphones.”

Light’s nine-lens smartphone sounds intriguing

Whether Light is applying the lessons learned from the L16 to a game-changing smartphone remains to be seen.

The company hyped the L16, probably to attract more investors, before it debuted the camera in late 2017, making some who preordered it wait two years.

Apple is likely to welcome a Light smartphone, eager to tear it apart to see how it can improve on the technology.

Via: Photo Rumors


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