Light — the company behind the still incredible-looking L16 camera, which packed 16 lenses into one pocket-sized device — may be setting its sights toward the smartphone game, with The Washington Post reporting that the company is experimenting with prototype phones featuring between five and nine camera lenses on the back.
According to Light, the multi-lens array on its current (working) prototype can shoot up to 64-megapixel shots, with promises of better low-light performance and depth effects (presumably building off the type of portrait mode features offered on current smartphones.)
In many ways, the shift toward cell phone photography seems like a natural fit for Light, whose original L16 camera struggled with issues like poor software and the fact that while novel, there wasn’t much reason to pick it over a good smartphone camera. But by putting the multi-lens tech straight into a phone (either by building its own, or more sensibly, licensing it out to an established phone company), Light can establish its technology far better than in a $2,000 camera that skews toward the gimmicky side of the product spectrum.
It also would continue to escalate the ongoing camera arms race among phone manufacturers, which has already seen devices with four camera lenses (like the Huawei P20 Pro and HTC U12 Plus) and rumors of LG’s upcoming V40, which is said to pack five lenses into the frame between the front and rear shooters. But if any company is suited to stuff more cameras into a phone, it’s probably Light. After all, once you’ve done 16 cameras, a mere nine should be a walk in the park, right?
Fortunately, we likely won’t have long to wait to find out — The Washington Post report says that Light will be announcing a phone with its camera technology later this year.