Photography Startup Light Launches Multilens Camera

$1700 will get you 16 lenses, 52 megapixels, and a lot of clever computing in a box the size of a smart phone

1 min read
Photography Startup Light Launches Multilens Camera
Photo: Light

Last year, stealthy Palo Alto startup Light picked up $9.7 million in venture funding to “reimagine the art and science of photography.” Job postings indicated they were looking for people with experience in combining multiple recorded images to reduce noise and improve image quality.

This week, Light demonstrated a prototype of its first product, what it calls a “multi-aperture computational camera,” the L16, at the Code/Mobile conference in Half Moon Bay. This flat camera, which looks like a fat smartphone, includes 16 camera lenses with a variety of focal lengths, 10 of which fire at any one time. Behind each lens is a camera module that records an image in 13-megapixel resolution; exposure is set individually for each lens. Then the camera’s software selectively combines those images.

Like light-field camera Lytro, you can adjust the focus after shooting. Besides shooting still images of up to 52 megapixels, it shoots 4K video. It runs Android and can communicate with Wi-Fi so you can share an image to social media without transferring it to your computer.

And while you can put your money down now ($1300 until 6 November, $1700 afterwards), the product won’t ship for almost a year.  Pricey, for sure, and clearly targeted at the early adopter who just has to have the latest cool technology. And though the name hints at a second generation to come (an L32, with double the number of lenses, say) this launch may be more of a clever public beta than a real mass market product. The company’s ultimate goal is to get its technology into smart phones; it has already signed an agreement with Foxconn. Light’s founders talk about the technology in the (admittedly promotional but still interesting) video below.

The Light Story from light on Vimeo.

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Digging Into the New QD-OLED TVs

Formerly rival technologies have come together in Samsung displays

5 min read
Television screen displaying closeup of crystals

Sony's A95K televisions incorporate Samsung's new QD-OLED display technology.

Sony
Blue
Televisions and computer monitors with QD-OLED displays are now on store shelves. The image quality is—as expected—impressive, with amazing black levels, wide viewing angles, a broad color gamut, and high brightness. The products include:

All these products use display panels manufactured by Samsung but have their own unique display assembly, operating system, and electronics.

I took apart a 55-inch Samsung S95B to learn just how these new displays are put together (destroying it in the process). I found an extremely thin OLED backplane that generates blue light with an equally thin QD color-converting structure that completes the optical stack. I used a UV light source, a microscope, and a spectrometer to learn a lot about how these displays work.

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