Light's phone prototype has 9 cameras, for when dual cameras aren't enough

Light is reportedly releasing its first smartphone this year.

Gordon Gottsegen CNET contributor
Gordon Gottsegen is a tech writer who has experience working at publications like Wired. He loves testing out new gadgets and complaining about them. He is the ghost of all failed Kickstarters.
Gordon Gottsegen

That's nine whole lenses on the back of the device alone.

Light/The Washington Post

So, you just got your Galaxy S9 Plus with dual rear cameras. Or maybe you went all out and got the Huawei P20 Pro with three cameras. Well, you're about to get a case of phone-camera-envy anyway.

Camera manufacturer Light is reportedly working on a prototype phone with nine rear cameras, according to The Washington Post. Light will reportedly release a version of the multilens phone later this year.

Why so many cameras? For those who don't know, Light is the company behind the 16-lens Light L16 camera. Although 16 lenses may seem excessive, the camera is able to capture multiple pictures simultaneously at different depths and focal lengths. The camera then uses algorithms to combine them into one high-resolution image. The L16 camera also has other features, such as portrait mode effects and 5x optical zoom.

Light's nine-camera phone may take advantage of this tech and put it on a smartphone. The report says the prototype is able to capture 64-megapixel pics with low-light capabilities and special depth effects.

As flagship phones like the Galaxy S10 and 2019 iPhone are rumored to adopt three rear cameras, who's to say that four (or nine) camera setups aren't on the way?

Just don't expect multicamera phones to be cheap. The Light L16 costs $1,950 for 16 cameras and no smartphone capabilities. Light's 9-camera phone prototype may also have a hefty price tag when it releases.

Light didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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