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Fun with Light L16

Godfrey

Well-known member
(I don't really know where to put Light L16 photos on this forum. Moderators, please let me know where this thread really belongs. Thanks!)

Continuing to study and practice with the L16, I carry it all the time now. It proves handy and unobtrusive...


Light L16
ISO 915 @ f/15 @ 1/40 @ 150mm

enjoy!
G
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
Ah, looks right. Thanks!
Now if one of the mods can move the thread (I can't). Thanks again!

G
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
Another shot of my Moto Guzzi V7III Racer, this time fitted with the seat I plan to use for touring, the Gel Comfort Saddle:


Light L16
ISO500 @ f/3.8 @ 1/60 @ 55mm

The focus zone in this one was narrowed; I used the "match depth" function to shape where I wanted the sharpness to be.

enjoy! G
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
Thanks for moving the thread!


Double header over the past couple of days: Two-three days ago, a new version of the Lumen image processing app was released and seems to work substantially better. And yesterday, a new firmware release came out that improves focusing speed and accuracy, adds several new features as well.

They are moving right along! :D

The more I use the L16, the more I like it. For what it's supposed to be—a compact way to have most of the imaging capabilities of a much larger, heavier system—it is beginning to really click. My Leicas remains safe however: they have capabilities that the L16 can't touch. :)

G
 

Knorp

Well-known member
Another shot of my Moto Guzzi V7III Racer, this time fitted with the seat I plan to use for touring, the Gel Comfort Saddle:
Perhaps you could post your previous image here again, G.
So people who missed that one will have an idea how the different seats look like.
Just saying ...
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
Racer again ... Now a front 3/4 view with the Gel Comfort Seat and the DART Piranha fly screen:


Light L16
ISO 500 @ f/4.7 @ 1/40 @ 47mm
Reduced and shaped focus zone.

enjoy!
G
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
Perhaps you could post your previous image here again, G.
So people who missed that one will have an idea how the different seats look like.
Just saying ...
Good idea ... From A Ride Up, A Ride Down:

It was a beautiful day out yesterday so I took my Racer out for a nice 75 mile ride!


Light L16
ISO 100 @ f/15 @ 1/340 @ 52mm

Full ride report for those who might be interested @
A Ride Up, A Ride Down | GuzziTech Forums
That's Racer with the stock seat (including number plate cowling) and stock front number plate/fly screen. I've been slowly changing little things to make it my aesthetic proclivities... There are a few more details yet on the way. :D

usw,
G
 

Knorp

Well-known member
Yep, with the racing seat you seem to sit a bit 'longer', whereas the touring seat provides a more upright position.
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
Yep, with the racing seat you seem to sit a bit 'longer', whereas the touring seat provides a more upright position.
Umm, no.

It's an optical illusion due to perspective ... the monoposto seat, from the back of the tank to the butt stop edge, is within 4mm of the same size as the dual seat (it's a little hard to measure since the dual seat bump has a much softer shape). What throws your eye off is the perspective as well as the fact that the cowling on the monoposto saddle makes it look much longer. (I've since removed the cowling on the monoposto saddle, and it looks much shorter as a result.)

Essentially, my butt is in exactly the same position on the bike with either seat and my posture when riding is identical. :D

G
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
This morning at the cafe ...


Light L16
ISO 132 @ f/8.7 @ 1/60 @ 150mm

I was trying to capture "people in motion"—testing the camera for its capabilities at street photography—and caught my friend as he entered the cafe.

enjoy,
G
 

ggibson

Well-known member
This camera is very interesting to me. The potential for computational photography techniques is huge, as evidenced by some of the results from this camera. Smartphone manufacturers like Apple and Google also are doing really cool things with their latest phones with these techniques too. It opens up a lot of new approaches to generating images with different lens/sensor combinations allowing completely new form-factors. All very exciting to see what will come next.

The results on the L16 can be quite impressive, but also seem very inconsistent at the moment unfortunately from what I've read. Certainly this can continue to improve over time with better software. The user experience also seems to be drastically less friendly than a smartphone or mirrorless camera at this point though. It seems akin to Sigma's cameras with the huge files having to be run through proprietary software to really get the best image quality or adjust your f-stop. It may have its niche to some people though (and certainly a cool gadget to use). I found this informative blog post that shows how the individual sensor images overlap in a single shot:

http://timmulholland.com/2017/10/23/light-l16-camera-hands-on-review-a-different-kind-of-camera/
 

blessingx

New member
Godfrey, glad you're having good luck with the L16. I hope others do too. I'll toss in my experience, though...

I was very intrigued with it over the years and picked one up from Light.co from one of their flash refurb sales. Even felt a little guilty, it shipping in one day after others had waited a couple years. Anyway, it could be my unit, but the results were pretty disastrous. Mounted on a tripod, in test shots over a 12 foot table with various objects, nothing was ever tack sharp (auto or manual modes). Depth mapping was significantly behind Apple a year ago (forget about hair, chunks of head were off). Software not ready for release. To be honest even playing, while the camera was in transit, with the three released full resolution sample .lri images (strangely the only three and presumingly shots they want to best show off camera traits) and their Lumen software (still beta), I started having my doubts. I'd encourage all to take that step (as you can download all) if considering ordering. Computational photography is obviously very interesting, but at this point and at least my unit, there are some first gen Lytro echoes here. And again perhaps my experience isn't normal, but mine went back and I even had to write them two days ago (three weeks since return - I'm one town over from Light.co and in-state with their return group), because my refund never showed. "For some reason, the refund got held up in our online system, but we've now pushed it through!" So good personal/bad system(?) customer service?

I don't know. Again I hope my experiences aren't shared by others and/or software/firmware updates improve things quickly and greatly. Potential here, but competitors aren't sitting still either.

ggibson, I know you were commenting on software, but since you brought up both companies, just thought I'd add - from the resolution v. pixel count relationship Light is the opposite of Sigma. These are massive, lowish resolution images. :(
 
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Godfrey

Well-known member
Thank you, but I kind of dislike the notion of "having good luck" with a camera when it comes to making photographs I'm satisfied with. Photography is a matter of intent and aesthetics, and how they interact with a particular piece of equipment like a camera or lens—or software for rendering—is not a matter of "luck" so much as it is a matter of the decisions that a particular photographer makes and how well they learn the positives and negatives of the equipment.

I have good luck with a camera if the camera has proven reliable, consistent, and didn't fail out of the box or two days past the warranty expiration ... that's luck with a new, first product from a new, unproven manufacturer with a device that's using new, unproven concepts. Getting good photographs, however, is more a matter of my intent, my skills, my aesthetics, my expectations, and my understanding of the camera and how to get what it does best: that's not really "luck." :)

I also have no interest in what the L16 is relative to its market audience, competition with other cameras, etc etc etc. At least not as my first approach to it ... I'd rather use it and evaluate it, once I've learned it and its software thoroughly, in the context of what I can do with it and what my results look like, and THEN maybe compare using it to using one of my other cameras. The point at which I want to make some solid evaluative statements is difficult to achieve just yet since each firmware release and each release of the (still beta!) software have changed the camera and its capabilities/workflow and use model/usw significantly in my perception.

I started reading Tim Mullholland's article yesterday but then got distracted and busy for the rest of the day ... I'll get back to it and have some comments on that soon. It's an interesting article.

G
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
I've been attending the Cinequest 2018 film festival since Wednesday and still haven't gotten back to reading Tim Mulholland's article, although I did skim a little further into it. I'll get there eventually, I guess.

Meanwhile, I've been taking the bus and walking to those events that are located in downtown San Jose and taking the train for those events located in Redwood City. Walking a lot, carrying a very minimal bag with me that has nothing but my Cinequest passes, wallet, keys, iPad, L16, et al in it. And shooting quite a bit for me ... I've made about 300+ exposures with the L16.

Some comments regards shooting with it:

  • I think it's one of the most invisible cameras I've worked with in street situations these days. Most people seem to perceive it as just a big smart phone, a very few actually notice that it's pointing at them, and then they're curious rather than defensive about it.
  • A couple of the latest L16 firmware features make it much more responsive and quick to work with (like the one that now allows a quick tap of the power button to put it to sleep and wake it back up without having to go through the lengthy boot-up). The new focusing algorithms are hugely improved on speed, shutter responsiveness is worlds better. That said, it's not in the class of something like the Leica M on shot to shot responsiveness (nor do I expect it to be). It's just a little laggier than the iPhone 6 in my perception, but its ergonomics are so much better it's hard to see the difference.
  • Power consumption seems fairly economical in every day use: I didn't charge it up specifically when the film festival began and I've only charged it up once since but that was when it was still showing over 50% power remaining. Two days of being on, making photos, being used to review photos, or in sleep mode, and it still shows more than 70% power remaining. That's not bad for a device running 16 cameras, display, and Android OS with WiFi turned on.
  • Taking photos at all kinds of focal length settings and in all kinds of light, of static and dynamic subjects, I'm pretty amazed at the L16's versatility for such a small device, and I'm occasionally quite amused by its foibles and failures. For instance, a simple static shot of the light rail train moving past at 1/140 sec produced some of the wonderful old "tilted rectilinear distortion" that large focal plane shutters produce on moving rectilinear-sensitive subjects (like racing car wheels at speed), probably to do with read speed from all the cameras or something similar. The L16 shutter lag has its usual downsides when shooting people and expressions, although setting it to 3 frame or 6 frame sequence capture helps on that a little bit (at the expense of a lot of additional data collection). All of these negatives can be turned into positives creatively, or worked around. The ability to lock and hold focus now is very useful when doing street photography!
  • One interesting 'failure' was a long shot at 150mm setting in the dimness of the theater during a Q&A with some high school student short films. The young people were all standing in a row and I turned on the flash. Well, between the long focal length setting, the dimness, the noise, and the flash being on, all of them have a particularly ghoulish appearance as the flash being in the center of the lenses reflected straight back off their retinas giving all of their faces and evil lighted eyes look. It's kind of funny, because the situation was very upbeat and these kids were really very exuberant and happy with all the praise and applause being thrown their way, trying to look thoughtful and respond seriously, but they look like a little row of zombie vampires considering their next attack. :)
  • The photos the L16 makes can be beautifully textured and detailed, but it is quite variable in that regard depending upon the scene, the illumination, the focal length, and how its various software processes integrate all those individual cameras. If you hover around using 28-35mm or 70mm focal lengths most of the time, you get the most pixels and the best shot at premium quality.
  • I haven't seen too much of a problem with chromatic aberration or flare, but it does occur occasionally. Like with any other camera, avoid situations that cause it, turn on CA removal in your image processing, etc. One problem I find with the L16 that seems to be exaggerated compared to other cameras is simply that it's difficult to hold level and square on to a subject to minimize distortion on the viewfinder LCD. I workaround this by shooting a little loose and using the Lightroom 'Lens Correction' and 'Transform' menus to correct things when the scene requires them.

My workflow so far:
  1. Capture as best I can with focal length, exposure, and focus where I want them.
  2. Start Lumen, transfer images to computer.
  3. Make quick gross corrections where needed with.
  4. Select all and export to DNGs.
  5. Import DNGs into Lightroom and render final.

Once I have the images in LR, if I see an opportunity where making the focus zone shallower or whatever makes sense, I reopen the original .LRI files in Lumen and make adjustments, export those files again to a "b" version DNG, and import those into Lightroom for rendering.

Lumen is the weakest part of the picture taking and processing workflow at present, for me. Not because it doesn't work or is so terrible at what it does, but because what it does is somewhat limited and it is pretty slow in its operations ... particularly exporting. It's just clumsy, which is why I minimize my time using it by using batch exporting, only doing further rendering adjustments when needed, etc. I'm sure it will improve.

Overall, however, using the Light L16 is a pleasure once you get past the initial learning point of how to hold it properly, what the controls do and how they are significant, etc. It's so small and light for its capabilities, I tend to be grabbing for it rather than my other cameras at present: My photography, right now, is a second fiddle to the film festival, or the bicycle ride, or the motorcycle ride. That doesn't mean I don't take it seriously, it just means that I'll trade off some things so that it's not in the way of my enjoying the other things I'm doing.

When I switch modes and put the photography work first ... Well, then it depends on what I'm after as to what equipment I'm going to grab and deal with. The Light L16 presents a different set of capabilities and image rendering compared to my Leicas, or my instant film, or my medium format film, or my pinhole cameras, or ... well, you get the idea I'm sure. :)

With luck, I'll have time to post some photos again by the end of the week. :D

usw,
G
 

ggibson

Well-known member
Interesting to hear your thoughts and experiences. How's the "portrait"/fake bokeh mode working for you?

It's interesting to consider this camera for those "photography is secondary" times. For me that camera is usually my RX100ii or just my smartphone, both of which are smaller and faster to shoot than a L16 (from what I know). The Pixel 2 XL I've had for a few weeks is capable of some quite incredible results. It seems like the Light can provide greater results sometimes, but is it necessary? Where is that line where the L16 is clearly better? Printing above 8x10"? Getting better OOF backgrounds for portraits?
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
Another important day on the road ... I've gone 1400 miles on Sumo today. I asked the one of the men working at the bicycle shop if they would take a picture of me and the bike.


Light L16
ISO 341 @ f/3 @ 1/60 @ 35mm

He did a pretty good job! :)

enjoy
G
 

biglouis

Well-known member
Godfrey, just launched here in the UK.

Thanks for all your insights and samples. It would be great to see a larger size in your Flickr stream to get a sense for the detail capabilities of the camera.

Not sure I am desperate for one but I do love unusual cameras.

LouisB
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
Godfrey, just launched here in the UK.

Thanks for all your insights and samples. It would be great to see a larger size in your Flickr stream to get a sense for the detail capabilities of the camera.

Not sure I am desperate for one but I do love unusual cameras.
Here's a full-size JPEG rendering for your entertainment:
https://farm1.staticflickr.com/795/40276892984_7eb38cdcd3_o.jpg
That's a hard link to the otherwise private access only full rez version.

This rendering is about 38 Mpixel, 4.6 Mbytes on disk; 7186x5390 pixels. Cropped down a bit from the original ... he aimed just a little too high, so I tightened up the framing. You can see the background is slightly softened (easier to see at 1:1 on a full rez image) because I pulled down the aperture from f/15.6 to f/3 and set my glasses as the principal focus point. You can also see that at ISO 300+, there is a touch of coarseness to the image detail. I didn't do any color noise reduction; I did apply a few other adjustments, corrections, and effects so it's not entirely representative of the "straight out of the camera" image.

The more I work with and understand the Light L16, the more I enjoy it. It is a tremendous amount of capability and flexibility in a very small package—an excellent adjunct to my bicycle and motorcycle activities where every ounce and every cubic inch of "things to carry" makes a difference. I have to come up with a compact and secure way of also carrying my little Sirui CF tripod on the bicycle too, then the camera's capabilities will be expanded even more. :)

G
 
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