Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Light Co. Updates on the Progress

Light Co. says it's on track to start volume production of its multi-aperture cameras in early Q2 2017. The company also posts a new Vimeo video explaining in simple words its multi-aperture ideas:

15 comments:

  1. The problem I see here is that you have a positioning here as a replacement for a DSLR through the portability of this smaller device. And yet, I fail to see how this will do against the DSLR in challenging light conditions... The true measure of DSLR replacement is one where the camera is able to perform as well or outperform the traditional DSLR in every lighting and scene condition... While this is an interesting approach, I fail to see this as anything more than an academic exercise. This will probably go the way of Lytro...

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  2. You can be as grumpy as you want about it, and whether it will resonate with the users is to be seen, but the concept is great, and I'd love to try it. Even if it is not as good as a DSLR, the best camera is the one you have with you. Plus, a good DSLR with a bad user is usually even worse than a smartphone camera. I'd love to see this give Canon, Nikon and Sony a bit of a challenge. :)

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    1. I am curious about what is great about this concept? It is interesting and somewhat innovative for sure. But what is compelling? You say it is its compact size? Well, I already have a pretty great point and shoot in my pocket all the time, give or take ergonomic issues with iPhone buttons. And, I am certain the Light camera cannot replace my Nikon P900. So this Light camera will be compellingly superior against which products exactly, especially given the exceptionally high price point? I like to see innovative concepts succeed, but to displace the incumbent technology, the advantages have to be compelling. I am sorry to say, I agree that the most likely outcome will be similar to that of Lytro. Exciting to a few, but not exciting enough to most.

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    2. The reality is that most people don't need a DSLR, probably neither do you, unless you are a professional photographer shooting for high-quality magazines or large advertising panels. Despite the fact that I love the quality and use it when quality really matters, I hardly use my DSLR because I hardly have it on me: it is just too large, too heavy and I always need to carry the lenses around, which are again bulky, heavy, get damaged and are hellishly expensive. And if you use a zoom lens, it also takes too many stops away. And my smartphone camera is garbage, despite the huge price of phone. So the question is: how good is this Light? If it is 'close enough', my DSLR would probably never leave the drawer again, but the Light would be in my bag or jacket most of the time.
      Related to cost: sensors are getting cheaper, unlike large high-end lenses, and it would be pretty easy to make this device an order of magnitude cheaper than a DSLR with all its lenses. The only question is how good it is, imo.
      Related to distribution channels.. Perhaps a big player would acquire this company and find a space for it in its product line?

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    3. If a big player bought it they would make sure it never saw the Light of day. Lots of money selling those lenses.

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    4. DSLR is a large profit margin product, and product lifetime is longer. Nikon, Canon, and Sony definitely keep this category. In other words, there is a room for newcomer to edge into this sinecure with a multi-array camera which has potential to beat classical DSLR.

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    5. You only have to look at the sample pictures available at their website: e. g.
      https://light.co/content/4-gallery/1-gallery-images/19-chess-min.jpg
      Far, far away from "DSLR quality" (noise, Bokeh, FPN,...)!! Let's add another "far"...

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  3. These guys are forgetting the still image (only) ship has sailed long ago. You've got to have video and still to provide the equivalent value proposition. Video, with this camera, would be an algorithm nightmare, trying to de-ghost for movement and time parallax estimation. Selective zoom, big deal. Every response here is correct, not enough value to displace 50 year old evolved technology and user paradigms, much less considering investment in systems by users. And then there's the sales channels conundrum. What DSLR channel in their right mind would give up the 200% margins of after-market purchase DSLR lenses and accessories? The best they can hope for is online sales directly from Light. I love it when newbies try and reinvent into the camera market without knowing a thing about it. It's laughable but sad also.

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    1. True, but I would like to have that marketing talent in my company...

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    2. Marketing is getting a product that consumers need to market. Getting hyper about an invented problem that your particular technology is supposed to solve while ignoring market and technical realities is just hype. We have seen so many examples of this recently that it seems pointless to even call specific names.

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    3. Hmm, it looks like the term marketing is used a bit different in English and in German... (or maybe it is also only my personal understanding...). I think "promotion talent" is the better English term for what I meant. (BTW: I should also change from "we are bad a marketing" to "we are bad at promotion" in my comment further down.)

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  4. Well said, Eric! That is exactly my sentiment. Also, I see a lot of their employees have left the company in the last year and from what I hear from some sources not all is well inside the company. All I can say is "Good luck, replacing the DSLR! Maybe when hell freezes over!"

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  5. I think their biggest problem, which has already killed a bunch of entrenched market segments, is that they are offering a second camera. The first camera is already present in the phone, paid for (in terms of money and the logistics of carrying it) and perfectly capable for practically all casual shooting. To convince consumers to carry a second camera has proven impossible for DSC makers, and even DSLR guys are feeling the pain. Aside from the gee-whiz novelty factor (which will appeal to some still seeking to impress) this thing feels dead on arrival. Their claims about putting this thing into a phone sound plain ludicrous to anyone who has opened a few modern phones. Put it where?

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  6. Tentner,

    There's no marketing talent at work here. What Light has are newbee engineers developing technology for the sake of developing it and not knowing entrenched market dynamics, producing technology that the market doesn't need or is not a fit. Sorry, after 35 years in this industry, I do not see any marketing talent at work or on display. So much great imaging technology that did not reach mass market due to not understanding the complete market dynamics. This is a Harvard B-school case study of a marketing failure. I wouldn't want these guys as my marketing interns.

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    1. Maybe we understand "marketing" differently: The have managed to get a lot of media attention and I like the video (not the technical claims they make in there). (BTW: I think the name is bad as it should be a "google nightmare". But in fact they must do perfect SEO - they are even before the Wikipedia entry about light...)

      What you point out, I would call "product management" or "business development" mistakes.

      OTOH, we are really bad at marketing, so my benchmark level is maybe simply too low...

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