It’s increasingly clear that mobile devices, especially flagship smartphones, can offer a camera experience that’s on par with most point-and-shoot cameras. Some even approach DSLR territory. In fact, the iPhone has been the most popular camera on Flickr for years, with competing devices usually aiming to beat Apple’s benchmark.
A recent video showed that the iPhone 6s can outperform professional DSLRs in video recording tests, further proving how advanced smartphone cameras have become. That’s why it’s not surprising to see someone create a worthy DSLR rival that’s about the same size as a smartphone, yet it’s ready to deliver a camera experience like nothing else we’ve seen before.
Called the L16 and created by a photography startup called Light, the camera features no less than 16 camera modules, each having a its own focal length. Whenever the shutter is pressed, 10 cameras fire off, Re/code says.
Combining imagery from multiple modules, Light’s software can create photos of up to 52 megapixels. The point-and-shoot camera can record 4K video as well.
The device runs Android and has Wi-Fi connectivity though it lacks the cellular components required to make calls. The L16 features a 5-inch display on the back, and it’s about as big as a Nexus 6 but twice as thick.
Of the 16 lenses it packs, five are 35mm, five are 70mm and six are 150mm – in other words, the camera can also offer high-quality zoom.
“We repurpose and leverage the billions of dollars invested in these little smartphone cameras,” CEO Dave Grannan told the tech site. “The economics and quality have become very compelling in these.”
However, the L16 will still be a pricey device, at least at first, though it’ll be cheaper than DSLR rivals. A limited number of units will be available for preorder at $1,299 until November 6th. Then, the camera will be priced at $1,699, and all models will be shipped late next summer.
Light has partnered up with Foxconn, and an upcoming phone launching next year will incorporate a similar array of cameras.
“This is how cameras will be made in the future,” Grannan said. “This is just not going to exist tomorrow,” he added, pointing to a pile of lenses that costs thousands of dollars and a DSLR.