Since the first photographs were produced by Louis Daguerre in Paris in 1833, the basic concept of photography has remained pretty much unchanged.
Light is captured and focused by a lens, and then cast upon a material that holds that image. For Daguerre it was chemically treated metal plates. For Henry Fox Tablot (1841), it was chemically treated paper. For Kodak (and everyone for more than 100 years, it was chemically treated strips of plastic.
The advent of digital cameras meant that a CCD, Charged Coupling Device captured the image and translated it into digital content. But the basic architecture of the process remained unchanged.
Indeed, it had remained unchanged since the Chinese writer Mozi first explained the concept of the Camera Obscura in the 4th Century.
So when someone comes up with a revolutionary concept for the basic design of a camera, that is big news. Which is why the Light L-16 is big news.
Instead of having one lens, or a series of interchangeable lenses (such as Nikon or Canon or Leica offer), the L-16 combines 16 different lenses into one camera - about the size of a small stack of smartphones.
What makes this possible is, of course, technology - both lens crafting technology, but also the ability to process vast amounts of data quickly and efficiently.
In simplest terms, when you hit the shutter button (of course, there is no shutter), the L-16 simultaneously takes 16 different photos of the same exact image at exactly the same moment - thus giving you (in theory) 16 different focal lengths and exposures all at once. In short, the camera captures everything.
Then, through the Luma software (which mercifully comes with the camera), the vast and enormous file (59 mpxl) is processed and presented as a series of options.
You may control the depth of field, the focal length (along with all the regular controls such as contrast, saturation) and so on, to endlessly manipulate the image that you have captured. It is all in there - all the option, all the variables that you would have gotten had you gone through the bother and expense of buying, dragging around and changing all that glass.
Here's an example of a photo of the exterior of our cottage in Dale Abbey shot with the L-16
When we load it into the Luma processing software, it appears like this:
Here's the detail. Same shot.
Retail cost, about $1995
This is still very much in the Beta developmental phase and the company promises upgrades to video coming soon.