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Smartphone cameras rise up to conquer the DSLR with the Light L16

editors-choiceThe power of high-quality photography has never been in the hands of so many. But for all the incredible progress that smartphone cameras have made, there’s still a wide gulf between the tools pros use and those in most people’s pockets. Indeed, even if DSLRs were cheap and simple, their size would make carrying around most places prohibitive.

Light is seeking to take on some of those issues with its first camera dubbed the L16. It is so-named for the 16 smartphone-class imaging  modules in its Swiss cheese-like frame. When the Android device’s shutter is pressed, the camera uses 10 of those lenses to capture images up to an amazing 52 megapixels at a range of zoom levels. By taking photos at different exposures, The L16 takes exceptional low light photos according to the company. It can also perform some of the same tricks at the Lytro cameras, notably adjusting the focus after the photo is taken.

The L16 has built-in Wi-Fi to send photos to your smartphone for quick uploading And while the camera can’t rival the sleekest (or even the thickest) smartphones, it’s far lighter and thinner than a DSLR camera with a telephoto lens. The L16 is expected to be available in the fall of 2016 for $1699. While a $400 discount is available for preorders, the company requires a $199 reserve price.

It’s unlikely that the L16 will do much to stall even advanced amateur photographers for reaching for their smartphones on most occasions. The Light is thinner than even many mirrorless interchangeable lens series cameras such as the Panasonic Lumix series and is capable of a number of impressive tricks with its unique architecture. However, it costs more than many quality DSLRs. For now, buying in is a leap of faith as to the quality of its photos.

Arthur Tufeau is a contributor to Backerjack.