New approach (coming next year)

RichardRichard Mildly bemusedMadrid, SpainAdministrators, Vanilla Admin Posts: 19,434 moderator
edited October 16, 2015 in Cameras
Meet the Light L16, which features 16 lenses and 11 sensors to produce a 52 Mpx image with DOF adjustable after the fact. All in something about the size of a cell phone. Priced at $US 1300 for pre-order, $1700 when (if?) it becomes real.

http://www.technologyreview.com/news/542121/a-high-end-camera-in-a-small-package/

http://www.light.co/

As best I understand it, this is a different approach than the Lytro (what ever happened to that, anyway?). Rather than light field, this contraption stitches together multiple images from three focal length groups, 35mm, 70mm and 150mm. The lenses in each group give a slightly different perspective at their focal length and algorithms do the rest.

Hmmm.....

Comments

  • ThelensspotThelensspot Mentally grainy! Registered Users Posts: 2,041 Major grins
    edited October 8, 2015
    Installing the lenses horizontally...interesting.
    "Photography is partly art and partly science. Really good photography adds discipline, sacrifice and a never ending pursuit of photographic excellence"...ziggy53

  • Cygnus StudiosCygnus Studios Commercial Photographer San Francisco's North BayRegistered Users Posts: 2,294 Major grins
    edited October 8, 2015
    This type of system is a neat idea for phone photographers. There are certainly some advantages for them, but I don't see how this will have any impact on dslr users at all.
    Steve

    Website
  • kdogkdog artistically challenged San Jose, CAAdministrators Posts: 11,650 moderator
    edited October 8, 2015
    Imagine showing up to shoot a wedding with that thing? lol3.gif
  • jonh68jonh68 Major grins Registered Users Posts: 2,711 Major grins
    edited October 8, 2015
    kdog wrote: »
    Imagine showing up to shoot a wedding with that thing? lol3.gif

    Pros will not be but I imagine more pros will lose out on more jobs because brides are going to use this line more and more: " I am so sorry to waste your time you spent talking to us. We are on a tight budget and after talking with you my friend showed me their really nice camera so we decided to go with them. Thank you very much for your time and will recommend you."
  • kdogkdog artistically challenged San Jose, CAAdministrators Posts: 11,650 moderator
    edited October 8, 2015
    jonh68 wrote: »
    Pros will not be but I imagine more pros will lose out on more jobs because brides are going to use this line more and more: " I am so sorry to waste your time you spent talking to us. We are on a tight budget and after talking with you my friend showed me their really nice camera so we decided to go with them. Thank you very much for your time and will recommend you."
    I don't see this changing that equation at all. Everybody already has an uncle-Bob with a "really good camera". You simply don't want to position yourself in a market that competes with him.
  • jonh68jonh68 Major grins Registered Users Posts: 2,711 Major grins
    edited October 9, 2015
    kdog wrote: »
    I don't see this changing that equation at all. Everybody already has an uncle-Bob with a "really good camera". You simply don't want to position yourself in a market that competes with him.

    I know, just trying to add a little humor, sorry it failed.
  • ThelensspotThelensspot Mentally grainy! Registered Users Posts: 2,041 Major grins
    edited October 9, 2015
    kdog wrote: »
    I don't see this changing that equation at all. Everybody already has an uncle-Bob with a "really good camera". You simply don't want to position yourself in a market that competes with him.
    jonh68 wrote: »
    I know, just trying to add a little humor, sorry it failed.

    Interesting thread to follow as an amateur photographer. I have attended weddings as you point out where the relative with the nicest camera is the photog. When these potential clients approach you with this scenario I'm sure your next question must be..."But after the pictures are taken what talents does he have to produce the result you are looking for?" or that you must discuss with them that "it's not just having a camera" angle. When I look at the many wedding portfolios posted here, to me there would be no question as to what the right choice would be. What percentage of the decisions you experience are based solely on the cost angle? Seems to me having the quality shots would be a priority from the beginning. I'm also going to probably answer my own question here as well. Having practiced as a primary care MD for 30 years, I can't count the times patients have returned to the office after abandoning my recommendations because "my cousin told me I should do this". If I took this off course, I'll leave through the side door. :D
    "Photography is partly art and partly science. Really good photography adds discipline, sacrifice and a never ending pursuit of photographic excellence"...ziggy53

  • jonh68jonh68 Major grins Registered Users Posts: 2,711 Major grins
    edited October 9, 2015
    Interesting thread to follow as an amateur photographer. I have attended weddings as you point out where the relative with the nicest camera is the photog. When these potential clients approach you with this scenario I'm sure your next question must be..."But after the pictures are taken what talents does he have to produce the result you are looking for?" or that you must discuss with them that "it's not just having a camera" angle. When I look at the many wedding portfolios posted here, to me there would be no question as to what the right choice would be. What percentage of the decisions you experience are based solely on the cost angle? Seems to me having the quality shots would be a priority from the beginning. I'm also going to probably answer my own question here as well. Having practiced as a primary care MD for 30 years, I can't count the times patients have returned to the office after abandoning my recommendations because "my cousin told me I should do this". If I took this of course, I'll leave through the side door. :D

    I don't justify my prices or try to convince them. The way I look at it it is a way of excluding potentially bad clients. If they can't tell I'm better than Uncle Bob then I have a problem or they don't want good photography.

    Cost is a major factor but some do not see the value. I talked to one bride who was having a sunset wedding on a sailboat. She was a friend so I even gave her a rate based on cheap photographers in the area. About two weeks before the wedding she called and said her niece has a really good camera and she will take the pictures. She posted the pictures and the dramatic sunset portraits she is dark and underexposed. When they were facing the sun she was squinting and looked 15 yrs older. However, she was gushing about how well the pictures looked on Facebook. I do think much like we photographers fall in love with our own photos, brides that do not have critical tastes will fall in love with their pictures so good enough and free are just fine. Me, I'm thinking why go through the trouble of having a romantic sunset wedding on a sailboat and not hire someone who can capture the feel of the moment. Her, she uses the pictures to relive the moment and since there isn't a comparison she doesn't know what a great picture is compared to just snapping away.

  • ThelensspotThelensspot Mentally grainy! Registered Users Posts: 2,041 Major grins
    edited October 9, 2015
    jonh68 wrote: »

    ... I do think much like we photographers fall in love with our own photos, brides that do not have critical tastes will fall in love with their pictures so good enough and free are just fine. Me, I'm thinking why go through the trouble of having a romantic sunset wedding on a sailboat and not hire someone who can capture the feel of the moment. ...

    15524779-Ti.gif
    "Photography is partly art and partly science. Really good photography adds discipline, sacrifice and a never ending pursuit of photographic excellence"...ziggy53

  • RichardRichard Mildly bemused Madrid, SpainAdministrators, Vanilla Admin Posts: 19,434 moderator
    edited October 9, 2015
    I suspect that the majority of people don't much know or care about the artistic quality of photos. What matters to them is the memory that pics evoke, which is why snapshots matter more to most than a museum full of Cartier-Bresson, Steichen or Frank images.

    Which makes me wonder a bit about who this new product is supposed to serve. It's going to have to be exceptionally good to compete with highly capable DSLRs in the same price range. While it's true that small cameras are getting better and better, the same applies to DSLRs and their lenses. It would be great if someone invented a tiny, light device that was as good as the cameras and lenses we use, but I'll believe it when I see it. What I can easily imagine is that this company will sell their technology to cell phone vendors, who could use it for competitive advantage--for a couple of years mwink.gif.
  • Cygnus StudiosCygnus Studios Commercial Photographer San Francisco's North BayRegistered Users Posts: 2,294 Major grins
    edited October 9, 2015
    jonh68 wrote: »
    If they can't tell I'm better than Uncle Bob then I have a problem or they don't want good photography.

    That is the perfect truth.
    Interesting thread to follow as an amateur photographer. I have attended weddings as you point out where the relative with the nicest camera is the photog.

    Just recently I attended my nieces wedding as a guest, but I took along a couple cameras and lenses just to get in some fun shots.

    I did talk to the wedding photographer before hand to let him know that I would be bringing my cameras to the wedding out of respect. I also did not post any images on facebook or anything like that, again out of respect. I did not take images during the ceremony or during the staged portraits and made sure to stay out of their way when I did take pictures and was careful to coordinate my flashes as to not interrupt them.

    The wedding photographer and his assistant both had good gear and from what I've seen got some great shots.

    However I am sure that there were more than a few in attendance that probably thought "WTF" when they saw me break out the 500mm lens on my D3 or after watching me use 3 different cameras throughout the day including my medium format.

    The few guests that I didn't know who I spoke with who asked me about it, I was clear that I'm not a wedding photographer and just wanted some fun shots for myself to remember the day. I can't help that I have pro gear as photography is my day job and I did discuss that with the wedding photographers so they wouldn't feel like I was stepping on their toes.
    Steve

    Website
  • jmphotocraftjmphotocraft GWC for hire Portland.ME.USARegistered Users Posts: 2,987 Major grins
    edited October 11, 2015
    Anyway, back to the camera. My mind is not completely closed to it yet, and I think this looks more plausible than a Lytro, but for now sensor and lens size is still king. These sensors and lenses are small. You can't stitch a bunch of point-n-shoot pics together and get DSLR quality.

    It's interesting how even among people who care about image quality (see above), there can be such various opinions on what constitutes "DSLR quality".
    -Jack

    An "accurate" reproduction of a scene and a good photograph are often two different things.
  • NikonsandVstromsNikonsandVstroms *and Olympus Boston, MARegistered Users Posts: 990 Major grins
    edited October 11, 2015
    Anyway, back to the camera. My mind is not completely closed to it yet, and I think this looks more plausible than a Lytro, but for now sensor and lens size is still king. These sensors and lenses are small. You can't stitch a bunch of point-n-shoot pics together and get DSLR quality.

    It's interesting how even among people who care about image quality (see above), there can be such various opinions on what constitutes "DSLR quality".

    I agree this thing at least in theory is a lot easier of a jump to make than the Lytro was. The basic tech for this device is all out there the bigger issue is getting it to automatically stitch all of the images together in an even way. You can do a lot stacking images, and they said that there's going to be what 10 sensors going per shot?

    I wouldn't be shocked if in a lot of ways they can get to DSLR quality with that many images to work from. They wont get a razor thin depth of field but they potentially can do a good job with things like HDR, focus stacking, and eliminating noise.
  • Cygnus StudiosCygnus Studios Commercial Photographer San Francisco's North BayRegistered Users Posts: 2,294 Major grins
    edited October 12, 2015
    Check out their video (at the bottom of page)
    Steve

    Website
  • kdogkdog artistically challenged San Jose, CAAdministrators Posts: 11,650 moderator
    edited October 12, 2015
    You can't stitch a bunch of point-n-shoot pics together and get DSLR quality.
    I'm open to the possibility that maybe you can. For example, stacking for noise reduction is a standard technique of astrophotographers. Optically I would think that it's easier to make small precision lenses than large ones. So what other aspects would you think can't be achieved?
    I agree this thing at least in theory is a lot easier of a jump to make than the Lytro was. The basic tech for this device is all out there the bigger issue is getting it to automatically stitch all of the images together in an even way. You can do a lot stacking images, and they said that there's going to be what 10 sensors going per shot?

    I wouldn't be shocked if in a lot of ways they can get to DSLR quality with that many images to work from. They wont get a razor thin depth of field but they potentially can do a good job with things like HDR, focus stacking, and eliminating noise.
    Actually they are claiming exactly that with their "infinite depth of field", which you can adjust in post processing.

    I think the technology has merit, and could make a damn fine pocket camera, if it works. However their comparisons to DSLRs is disingenuous. For starters, DSLRs aren't limited to 35mm-150mm zoom. That's the range of a cheap point and shoot. DSLRs handles lenses from 8mm to 800mm. So the comparison is a non-starter right there. I couldn't handle being forced to shoot a mid-range zoom exclusively. And yet they claim their camera replaces a DSLR and three lenses. It's bogus.

    Then there's burst-rate and continuous auto-focus tracking which are extremely important features on DSLRs. I have my reservations about the viability of those features in this camera based on the technology, and of course nothing is mentioned about it.

    So if the camera is so good, why are they resorting to bogus comparisons to hype it? The only people who would believe that hype are non-photographers. That to me gives a sense of where they truly believe their camera fits into the industry, ie casual camera users and not pros.

    It's an interesting camera for sure. But it's not going to replace DSLRs, at least not in this incarnation. And if they think it is, then they simply don't understand photography very well.
  • trooperstroopers Major grins Registered Users Posts: 317 Major grins
    edited October 12, 2015
    I'm almost always a late adopter to camera/tech but I pre-ordered one. I happen to share an Uber with the marketing director, and he convinced me to pre-order: discount code with 60 days full refund :) If anyone wants a discount code, PM me.
  • jheftijhefti Hyperope Registered Users Posts: 734 Major grins
    edited October 12, 2015
    A very capable photographer friend sent me a link about this, and my first thought was that they were using multiple lenses and sensors to achieve greater dynamic range using superposition (Kind of like making HDR images by merging multiple images as is currently done, except these images are taken simultaneously.) Then I had thoughts of using synthetic aperture methods to give a great range on the DOF--more or less, depending on what's desired. Still not sure what the claims are here, but I suspect it's largely targeted to the consumer market. The only pro who might use this are people who like to do candid street photography, as there's some advantage to the small and discreet size.

    Regarding wedding photography, it's not really my thing (though I have shot a couple of weddings for friends). It's my overall observation that most people can't tell a really good image from a mediocre to poor image, and don't really care. They just want to capture the moment, and even a poor image will do this for those who were there. Glad I'm not in the business of fighting this tendency. Almost all of my professional work is in sports; not the biggest moneymaker but it demonstrably requires good equipment and skills. Of course for youth sports I see plenty of people (mostly guys) with high end equipment running up and down the touchlines with burst mode fully enabled. Even the most oblivious parents can tell that my work is better than theirs. But since these are just my kids' events, I don't even try to sell those images.
  • Brett1000Brett1000 Major grins https://www.flickr.com/photos/photoscw/Registered Users Posts: 819 Major grins
    edited October 12, 2015
    kdog wrote: »

    So if the camera is so good, why are they resorting to bogus comparisons to hype it? The only people who would believe that hype are non-photographers. That to me gives a sense of where they truly believe their camera fits into the industry, ie casual camera users and not pros.

    .

    yes, every year there's an internet hype on new camera technology. Maybe it's more about kickstarter funding than the pics !
  • Cygnus StudiosCygnus Studios Commercial Photographer San Francisco's North BayRegistered Users Posts: 2,294 Major grins
    edited October 12, 2015
    kdog wrote: »
    I think the technology has merit, and could make a damn fine pocket camera, if it works. However their comparisons to DSLRs is disingenuous. For starters, DSLRs aren't limited to 35mm-150mm zoom. That's the range of a cheap point and shoot. DSLRs handles lenses from 8mm to 800mm. So the comparison is a non-starter right there. I couldn't handle being forced to shoot a mid-range zoom exclusively. And yet they claim their camera replaces a DSLR and three lenses. It's bogus.

    Then there's burst-rate and continuous auto-focus tracking which are extremely important features on DSLRs. I have my reservations about the viability of those features in this camera based on the technology, and of course nothing is mentioned about it.

    Very good points. They talk about a dslr like it is a point and shoot with a fixed lens. When Lytro came out it was supposed to revolutionize photography, and today their focus is licensing technology to others (I've read that they are working with NASA) so it may still be something that is used in the future.

    But, while the moving focus points and adjusting iso and f stop after the shot is taken might be cool for snapshots, I can't wrap my head around any reason a serious photographer would consider giving up their camera for this.
    Steve

    Website
  • jmphotocraftjmphotocraft GWC for hire Portland.ME.USARegistered Users Posts: 2,987 Major grins
    edited October 13, 2015
    kdog wrote: »
    I'm open to the possibility that maybe you can (stitch p&s photos together and get DSLR quality)

    It might be possible in theory, but I would think you would need high quality at the pixel level to achieve it. View any p&s or phone image at 100% and the quality is shite.
    -Jack

    An "accurate" reproduction of a scene and a good photograph are often two different things.
  • jonh68jonh68 Major grins Registered Users Posts: 2,711 Major grins
    edited October 13, 2015
    It might be possible in theory, but I would think you would need high quality at the pixel level to achieve it. View any p&s or phone image at 100% and the quality is shite.

    I'm open to see the final results. Comparing point and shoots now to what an unreleased camera can do isn't a good measure. Maybe they have found a way to overcome some of the technical problems.

    Considering the target crowd isn't discerning as DSLR owners getting DSLR like quality will be just fine anyway.
  • puzzledpaulpuzzledpaul low down bum Registered Users Posts: 1,621 Major grins
    edited October 13, 2015
    Generally interesting to read about different gear, but from a w/life pov, where working in less than ideal (but often interesting) light with long lenses and moving subjects ... then current relevant / appropriate gear is still going to be favourite, I reckon ?

    pp
  • kdogkdog artistically challenged San Jose, CAAdministrators Posts: 11,650 moderator
    edited October 13, 2015
    It might be possible in theory, but I would think you would need high quality at the pixel level to achieve it. View any p&s or phone image at 100% and the quality is shite.
    You're missing the point of having multiple sensors in each focal length. There are three important performance metrics of camera sensors:

    Pixel Depth
    Dynamic Range
    Noise

    So when you say that the pixels of camera phone sensors look like crap, you are saying that they are deficient in one or more of those metrics. I agree with that when you're talking about comparing single sensors. However, all of those metrics can be infinitely improved by taking simultaneous shots with multiple sensors and combining them intelligently. You can theoretically reduce noise close to zero, plus increase dynamic range and bit depth beyond what can ever be achieved with a single sensor. As I previously pointed out in the portion of my quote that you deleted, noise reduction through combining multiple images is a standard technique that astro-photographers use for reducing noise in images at incredibly demanding levels.

    Here's some reading for ya. http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/image-averaging-noise.htm

    BTW, that article is geared towards averaging images from a single sensor, hence this quote: "Image averaging works on the assumption that the noise in your image is truly random. "

    So what about non-random sensor noise? A sensor most likely also introduces a certain amount of repeatable or non-random noise that averaging a single sensor will not remove. However, averaging across multiple sensors will. It's brilliant. nod.gif
  • trooperstroopers Major grins Registered Users Posts: 317 Major grins
    edited October 13, 2015
    Acc to Light's Facebook page, they sold all the cameras they expected to sell in a month in 2 days. Shipping times for orders placed after this Friday Oct 16 will not be until Autumn 2016.
  • jmphotocraftjmphotocraft GWC for hire Portland.ME.USARegistered Users Posts: 2,987 Major grins
    edited October 13, 2015
    jonh68 wrote: »
    I'm open to see the final results. Comparing point and shoots now to what an unreleased camera can do isn't a good measure. Maybe they have found a way to overcome some of the technical problems.

    I am open to seeing what the camera can do too, but I don't think any full res samples exist. Anyway, you can see from the video that the sensors are small, not even 1". I highly doubt they invented new sensors. I'll bet they are sourced from existing p&s sensor OEMs, and probably not the most expensive ones either.
    Considering the target crowd isn't discerning as DSLR owners getting DSLR like quality will be just fine anyway.

    Umm, at $1700, the target crowd is most certainly discerning.
    -Jack

    An "accurate" reproduction of a scene and a good photograph are often two different things.
  • jonh68jonh68 Major grins Registered Users Posts: 2,711 Major grins
    edited October 13, 2015
    I am open to seeing what the camera can do too, but I don't think any full res samples exist. Anyway, you can see from the video that the sensors are small, not even 1". I highly doubt they invented new sensors. I'll bet they are sourced from existing p&s sensor OEMs, and probably not the most expensive ones either.



    Umm, at $1700, the target crowd is most certainly discerning.

    Which is all speculation, and haven't seen too many discriminating photographers getting all that excited about this. Some that want smaller and capable are hoping it can get close to DLSR quality and be a fun camera are getting excited about. If enough people buy this they can research for better quality, smaller size, and get cheaper.

    Personally I don't see a huge market for this. The camera phone crowd will use camera phones, the discerning isn't going to go for it unless it does deliver DSLR quality so it will be interesting to see who does buy this.
  • Brett1000Brett1000 Major grins https://www.flickr.com/photos/photoscw/Registered Users Posts: 819 Major grins
    edited October 15, 2015
    jonh68 wrote: »
    Which is all speculation, and haven't seen too many discriminating photographers getting all that excited about this. Some that want smaller and capable are hoping it can get close to DLSR quality and be a fun camera are getting excited about. If enough people buy this they can research for better quality, smaller size, and get cheaper.

    Personally I don't see a huge market for this. The camera phone crowd will use camera phones, the discerning isn't going to go for it unless it does deliver DSLR quality so it will be interesting to see who does buy this.

    I'm also hoping for a pocket-size DSLR quality camera with 300mm action/sports lens.
    It will be a game changer ...... or another internet fantasy !
  • NikonsandVstromsNikonsandVstroms *and Olympus Boston, MARegistered Users Posts: 990 Major grins
    edited October 16, 2015
    I am open to seeing what the camera can do too, but I don't think any full res samples exist. Anyway, you can see from the video that the sensors are small, not even 1". I highly doubt they invented new sensors. I'll bet they are sourced from existing p&s sensor OEMs, and probably not the most expensive ones either.

    The point of this camera is to get over the limitations of a single sensor. KDOG addressed this point pretty well, but to sum it up with multiple images from lower quality sensors you can expand the capabilities beyond the best single sensors out there today. Say you have a DSLR with 14 stops of DR and a cell phone camera with 11, now make that an HDR out of 5 images from that cell phone sensor and you'll be able to have much more dynamic range than that DSLR.

    You can do this with various other things as well, like resolution (Olympus is doing this in camera now), and noise as in KDog's post. The big limitation this would face is that it can't replicate a really shallow depth of field.
    Umm, at $1700, the target crowd is most certainly discerning.

    At 1,700 it'll be going to early adopters. The initial R&D to make this system must have been huge and makes up a large chunk of the cost. The parts they use aren't expensive and are getting cheaper by the year so as long as they don't need to make massive changes to their code if they can stay afloat to release more models I'd expect prices to drop considerably.
  • trooperstroopers Major grins Registered Users Posts: 317 Major grins
    edited October 16, 2015
    At 1,700 it'll be going to early adopters. The initial R&D to make this system must have been huge and makes up a large chunk of the cost. The parts they use aren't expensive and are getting cheaper by the year so as long as they don't need to make massive changes to their code if they can stay afloat to release more models I'd expect prices to drop considerably.

    This.

    I preordered mine for $900.
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