Note: I started writing this post over the past weekend because I was hoping to get an update out before anyone else… I wrote to them to get some updates and was waiting to hear back… and bam, yesterday, they sent out an email to everyone – so no early news from me… but besides the “news” there's still some great stuff here that nobody else is sharing.
The email they sent includes some great updates (full email below) – including wider zoom (28mm – 150mm now), more memory at no extra charge, they've raised more money, BUT they don't expect to be shipping now until 2017! But I'm not surprised really.
For me, the delay is understandable as I've been involved in manufacturing and know how difficult it can be to produce a brand new product. There is a LOT to accomplish! And it is great to be able to say that they're rewarding people with patience by adding memory and features.
Original post: I've been eagerly awaiting news on the Light along with many of you and well, news is pretty slim. Tho I have found some interesting updates.
I did pre-order a Light L16 and so I will be reporting more when it finally ships (which was originally slated for “coming next summer” which is now), but until then, we have just a few tidbits.
Related: Original launch story – from October of 2015
The most interesting is the video below… it is rather long (almost an hour!) and very detailed (emphasis on very) but has the most info about the camera that I've ever found. Not all the questions are answered, but there's more than we knew before and actually seeing the details about how they're putting things together with the different sensors is worth the hour.
They've also lent the L16 prototype to Svalbard and he took it north… here's one of the samples — tho I can't really say i'm impressed by these examples. I will have to see images shot side by side with my Canon EOS 5D Mark III to see what I really truly think. Here's to hoping that happens soon.
And their last blog update in May indicates they're working hard on the processes needed to be in place to actually ship the units – including info on their distribution center plans…
L16 Update (May 2016) logistics, logistics, logistics
It’s shaping up to be another productive month at Light. Our Operations team spent April and most of May identifying, visiting, and evaluating potential US distribution centers.
The distribution center plays a key role in getting L16 cameras to customers and serves as the hub of supply chain and fulfillment operations. Once the L16 comes off the manufacturing line in Asia, it will be packaged and transported to the center. There, cameras will be added to inventory systems, sorted, and put on shelves. Next, customer orders will be sent to our distribution center partner and associated with individual cameras. Those cameras will be picked from the shelves, packed into boxes, and shipped to our customers.
Hopefully we'll get another update shortly.
Informative L16 behind-the-scenes video:
So what's most interesting is this video – which has been out 8 months but I haven't seen it posted anywhere else yet. It features CTO Rajiv Laroia explaining in great detail what is going on inside the camera and how the overlapping images will be processed. What I still don't totally understand is where will the post processing really be done? Will there be a desktop app to let me decide the amount of depth-of-field or will I have to judge that on the LCD before exporting to my desktop?
Actual photos start at 41:00 – watch in HD on vimeo if you can't see them well – and they do look much better in this video than they ever appeared on their site (mainly because they're just bigger in the video LOL).
Acquisition of video is explained at 53:40 in the video. Basically, in the first version of the camera, video will only be captured by ONE of the 16 sensors and it will be 4k video… so it will be much like cell phone 4k video in the first iteration.
They also touch on many things like stabilization, calibration, sensors, lenses, depth-of-field, android apps and APIs, depth maps (by 3rd party), and more.
And yes, eventually they will produce a phone based version (with Android OS of course).
Other videos about Light
The CES report from Techcrunch
Here's the Light L16 Order Update email I received:
When we launched the L16 for preorder last October, we were overwhelmed by the response and actually had to revise our shipping estimate within a few days of the launch. When you placed your order, your shipping estimate was late summer 2016. We’re contacting you today to let you know that we now estimate your camera will ship in early 2017.
Since our launch, we have become intimately familiar with the mantra, “hardware is hard.” In addition to building a world class, mobile device from the ground up, Light is also developing a breakthrough optics system which is powered by revolutionary imaging software. We have made a monumental amount of progress thanks to a remarkable team. Along the way, though, we encountered an unforeseeable delay in production of a critical, highly customized electronic component. This is the cause of the anticipated shipment delay, and we are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause. We are truly excited to get the L16 to you as soon as it is ready.
L16 Product Improvements
That said, we are pleased to share a few product improvements that you will enjoy in your L16. When we launched L16 pre-orders, we planned to provide 35-150mm optical zoom equivalent. Many of our pre-order customers emailed us asking for a wider focal length, and we listened. Today, we are pleased to announce that the shipping L16 Camera will have a 28-150mm optical zoom equivalent. This wider zoom range will make for more dramatic landscapes, more interesting street and architectural photos and a more versatile camera overall.
We were also planning to include 128GB of internal memory in the camera when we unveiled the initial product specs late last year. 128GB is a significant amount of memory, but as part of our continued effort to deliver the best possible product to you, we were able to obtain early access to a limited supply of 256GB internal memory parts and will be including that increased memory in our pre-order cameras at no additional cost.
We hope you will find this wider-angle camera with double the storage truly delightful.
Prototype Manufacturing Video
Second, on one of our recent trips to our manufacturing facilities in Asia, we filmed the production of the most recent L16 prototypes. We hope you enjoy going behind the scenes with this video.
Making the L16 Prototypes
Last, but certainly not least, we are pleased to announce that we’ve closed a $30M series C round of funding, led by GV (formerly Google Ventures). We will put these funds to good use as we scale our global supply chain to meet overwhelming demand.
Having top-tier investors like GV support our mission ensures Light is in the best possible position to succeed.
We are grateful to GV and look forward to learning from their expert team and gaining insights from their impressive network of portfolio companies. Onwards and upwards!
Nobody is more eager than we are to get the L16 in the hands of photographers around the world. We remain grateful for your enthusiasm and patience and we look forward to sharing more frequent updates as we barrel forward to production.
(cover photo credit: snap from the video)