Here are the first L16 sample images from that crazy 16 lens camera

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Why it matters to you

If you were intriqued by the announcement of the Light L16, you’re going to want to check out the first official images from the camera.

The unusual 16-lens Light L16 camera has been a long time coming, with the computational photography device announced nearly two years ago. Now, the camera is finally shipping out to fulfill the first pre-orders — and Light is sharing the first full-resolution L16 sample images.

The Light L16 is a 52-plus megapixel camera that’s only about the size of a smartphone. Bragging of DSLR-like capabilities in a smaller package, the Light L165 uses 16 lenses, sensors, and some software to put it all together. The unusual design, based on computational photography, had the startup making several big claims, including a DSLR-like quality extending to the soft background that’s impossible on smaller sensors, as well as ten times more light sensitivity for low-light shots.

While every camera company is going to share the best sample images taken by pros, the first shots from the $1,700 camera offers a glimpse at how those claims on paper look in pixels. The three images, which include a portrait, a landscape at the Grand Canyon, and another landscape of a shipwreck, are available to download in full resolution for your pixel-peeping pleasure (the sample above has been downsized).

The images, which measure between 8,000 and 10,000 pixels wide, don’t include metadata details on how the shot was taken. Interestingly enough, none of the three samples showcase the camera’s low-light capability. The portrait showcases the camera’s depth of field capabilities, with both the background and the subject’s hand in front rendered to a soft blur. Both landscapes appear to showcase the camera’s dynamic range, with details left intact in both the darkest and lightest areas of the image.

Along with showcasing the hardware’s capability, the samples are also designed to showcase the company’s Lumen software, which is required to put all the images from those separate lenses together. The camera uses at least ten different camera modules at once, depending on how much of the 28-to-150mm zoom is used.

Those images, each slightly offset because of its position on the front of the camera, permit the software to create a depth map, allowing the system to artificially generate a shallow depth of field, not terribly unlike the iPhone 7 Plus’ dual-lens camera, only to a much larger degree. Using the desktop software, users can choose just how soft to make the background.

The L16’s 16 cameras are capable of shooting at a minimum of 52 megapixels, while the highest resolution shot from the samples hits 81 megapixels.

The Light L16 began shipping last month to pre-order customers. The company hasn’t yet started taking new orders for the camera.