What Light’s L16 means for smartphones

This photo is a prototype L16 camera from the company Light. While the L16 has not yet been released, it’s already the most promising new photo gadget in years. The L16 uses a range of lenses with smartphone-sized sensors to computationally generate images that could have come from a DSLR. It also brings features to the table never before seen on a professional-quality camera, like after-the-fact focus and depth-of-field adjustments.

Whether the L16 itself can actually compete with the best DSLRs around remains to be seen, but it doesn’t matter. It’s essentially a proof-of-concept device. If it works, which it seems likely to based on example shots and conversations with the creators, the underlying tech can scale up or down. And the creators have partnered with smartphone manufacturing giant Foxconn to scale it down for smartphones.