Will a lens to software paradigm shift doom Nikon?

rmprmp Posts: 586Member
The Light L16 camera is a paradigm shift for picture taking. The camera contains 16 lens/sensor pairs and software in the camera selects the lens/sensor pairs to make an image. In effect, it trades away a 35-150 zoom lens for some subset of the 16 lens/sensor pairs. The software selects the lens/sensor subset. It includes built in HDR processing and focus-stacking. The L 16 is about the size of a thick cell phone.

You can see it here: https://light.co/
You can read MIT’s technology review here: http://www.technologyreview.com/news/542121/a-high-end-camera-in-a-small-package/
You can see Thom Hogan's cautious review here http://www.dslrbodies.com/newsviews/the-light-camera-almost.html

Now the question for NRF. Do you see a lens-to-software paradigm shift in the making? If so, do you think Nikon will keep up or go the way of Kodak?
Robert M. Poston: D4, D810, V3, 14-24 F2.8, 24-70 f2.8, 70-200 f2.8, 80-400, 105 macro.


  • HockeyManHockeyMan Posts: 68Member
    It's interesting to ponder. I think it's a matter of what Apple / Google will do with this idea. If Apple and Google decide that people want wide / normal / telephoto perspectives on their phones and provide this, it could completely erode any perceived need for your typical parent to purchase a DSLR.

    Then again, Apple would never put forth the design monstrosity that is the L16. The insect like number of eyes would never go over with Apple's walled garden of delight. The idea of achieving a telephoto distance by using a mirror in a cell phone really makes smart phone photography much more interesting and I'm surprised no other manufacturer has tried this to date. I can see Apple maybe going up to 3 lenses, but no more, and they'd have to all be in line and uniform in the way that they "look".

    If technology makes it possible for an iPhone to go from 24-150 or whatever zoom length, you can be sure Apple would market it as innovative, groundbreaking and revolutionary and no one would (other than folks on NR / photography blogs) be wiser.
    D800, 14-24mm f/2.8, 50mm f/1.4G, 85mm f/1.4G, 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II, TC17E II, D300, DX 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G. Coolpix E5400, some AI lenses from my father.
  • starralaznstarralazn Posts: 204Member
    edited October 2015
    while it seems like an interesting technology, i can't help but think its just another Lytro.

    To me, the inextricable advantage a DSLR has over this kind of camera is the manual control(with physical buttons, dials and switches), and depth of field. This light camera does not yet impress me. You could argue that it has a lot of room for improvement, but the base differences ( to me ) will remain

    that being said, the sample pictures are reminiscent of current gen iPhone pictures (at least at the current avg 1920x1080 resolution). this is good enough for most consumers. we shall see if light outpaces the iPhone, and if it eats in to entry level dslr sales...
    Post edited by starralazn on
  • CaMeRaQuEsTCaMeRaQuEsT Posts: 357Member
    I'm guessing this works on the same principles as those used in the Very Large Array radio telescope, but with 3 very important differences:

    1. Each antenna of the VLA can be minutely positioned and aligned to focus correctly on the subject

    2. The VLA's subjects are always still

    3. The data output of the VLA is crunched by some of the worlds' largest supercomputers

    So this Light camera, which has all lenses' positions and alignment "fixed" (with what level of precision and for how long will the lenses stay precisely aligned after being subjected to daily shock, temperature variance, etc.?) at factory, has to do all the positioning and alignment of the subject's images within its tiny image processors, and how does that works on moving subjects and stabilizing, etc. etc., what kind of output quality can we get from it? The samples they have given are far from the "52Mp" resolution they boast, so I'm very skeptical about it. I'm sure the big camera makers have done previous research on such types of cameras and have come to the same conclusion: not currently viable.

  • PapermanPaperman Posts: 469Member
    And those tiny lenses :-?
  • esquiloesquilo Posts: 71Member
    edited October 2015
    The L16 reminds me of the old days before zoom-lenses was invented or at least before they become commonplace. Remember the lens revolvers used on film cameras from small Super8 to big-ass TV-set?
    Post edited by esquilo on
    Nikon D7100 with Sigma 10-20 mm, Nikon 16-85 mm, Nikon 70-300 mm, Sigma 150-500 mm, Nikon 28 mm f/1.8G and Nikon 50 mm f/1.8G.
    Nikon1 J3 with 10-30 mm and 10 mm f/2.8
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,398Moderator
    The first link, from the manufacturer, ends with the phrase, "capturing the emotion of the moment" and this is what separates the "photographers" from the rest of those who capture images. IMO, the one factor which separates the Ansel Adams', Steichen's, and Avedon's from the rest of the world is precisely this one simple fact. Our desire is to capture the "emotion of the moment" and what camera one uses is in most cases of far less importance than the person who is using it.

    So, as the 35mm camera has taken over for the most part what the 4" x 5" did 0 years ago, and digital has again killed film, if this new technology can be produced and can actually capture the same image quality in say BIF, as the 800mm f/5.6 Nikkor on a D4s, well, this is the future.

    What we are going to have is about 1,000,000,000 crapy images captured by amateur button pushers, and occasionally we will have a few who "capture the moment". Not a lot different than with the cell phone today.

    Will Nikon go the way of Kodak? It could certainly happen, or at least the company would be focused on a different market, like maybe producing lenses for my new glasses......LOL

    Oh, I do remember the huge studio TV cameras with the array of lenses on the front...and hand held light meters used with an actual Nikon F.
    Msmoto, mod
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,545Moderator
    Nikon already supply lenses for spectacles. :P
    Always learning.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,398Moderator
    Yes, that was precisely what I was referring to....LOL
    Msmoto, mod
  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 3,744Member
    Go would not laugh. I am sure that the spectacle market is pretty sizeable and Nikon (and Hoya) have a good piece of it.

    I just picked up a pair yesterday, of course with Nikon lenses.
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,186Member
    edited October 2015
    Its not as interesting/complicated/complex as the Very Large Array.. that system aims to create a lense the focal length of which is the diameter of the VLA so that it can see very far (imagine a focal length of 36km ). Light L16 is just 16 cameras in 3 sets of focal lengths (equivalent 35,70, 150). It then does a smart merge of images. I belief its not very "smart" too. ie not as "smart" as the Lythro. The lythro is based on light field mathematics. I think this L16 is more heuristic. ie I think it goes something like this, merge the 35mm cameras, merge the 70mm cameras merge the 150mm cameras resulting in 3 "super resolution" images greater than 13 MP (posibly 30mp) then if you want a 50mm image use the 35mm image and enhance it with the 70mm images. and then crop. do the same for any focal length from 35 to 150mm.

    So yes its going to be a nice form factor. Image Quality will probably be equivalent to say 20 mp DX. ( I am guessing).. I think it will be a nice new tool to add to the world of photography. the next 3 generation of this camera will be nice to see. I imagine an array of these at the back of a mobile phone could be nice. we already have dual-back camera mobile phones that add "bokeh" (and other things) why not a octa-back camera mobilephone?

    DSLRS will be around for a few more years .. :-) especially for Birders.

    Post edited by heartyfisher on
    Moments of Light - D610 D7K S5pro 70-200f4 18-200 150f2.8 12-24 18-70 35-70f2.8 : C&C very welcome!
    Being a photographer is a lot like being a Christian: Some people look at you funny but do not see the amazing beauty all around them - heartyfisher.

  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 3,744Member
    The only real advantage of the lenses in that configuration will be to use them as an interferometer, effectively making the lens diameter the distance between the two farthest lens. This will provide the superior resolution (but not the light gathering power) of the larger formats.

    If they are not doing that, then at best the are basically taking a panorama and stitching them together.
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    Two images, even say a few mm apart could also be used to produce stereoscopic 3-d images. Think about your eyes @-)
  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 3,744Member
    That is a good point. I have often thought about a D800 with two mounts.
Sign In or Register to comment.