Lytro are a pretty secretive company doing some pretty secretive things, and that’s because they seem to have created a camera that can do the impossible. Lytro claims their cameras ‘shoot first, and focus later’ – That’s right! this defies all traditional methodology of taking a photograph and the industry is buzzing because the California based company has just broken their silence and unveiled the first pictures of the new camera.
At first glance it looks like a projector lens and I’m sure there are some pretty good reasons why they’ve broken the traditional camera style mould and gone in this direction. It certainly is a head turner and will be a great conversation starter at parties.
|Color||Red Hot||Graphite||Electric Blue|
|Storage||750 Pictures||350 Pictures||350 Pictures|
|Model||16GB Light Field Camera||8GB Light Field Camera||8GB Light Field Camera|
|Storage Type||Internal flash drive.|
|Technology||Lytro Light Field Sensor and Lytro Light Field Engine 1.0.|
|Lens||8x optical zoom; Constant f/2 lens.|
|Controls||Power button: Shutter button; Zoom slider; Touchscreen.|
|Display||1.46 in | 33 mm back-lit LCD display with glass touchscreen.|
|Exposure||Tap on touchscreen to set exposure.|
|Battery||Long-life Li-Ion internal battery.|
|File Output||Light field picture file (.lfp).|
|Light Field Resolution||11 Megarays: the number of light rays captured by the light field sensor.|
|Software||Includes a free desktop application for importing, processing and interacting with living pictures from the camera. It is built for Mac OS and requires Mac OS X 10.6 or higher. A Windows application is in development.|
|Picture Output||Produces HD-quality interactive, living pictures.|
|Picture Viewing||View and interact with living pictures on the Lytro camera as well as any internet-connected computer, smartphone or tablet supported.|
|Light Field Engine||Version 1.0. This is the software that processes light fields to produce interactive pictures. Keep watching this space!|
|Shell||Ultra-light anodized aluminum structural skin.|
|Grip||TPSiV-Injection Silicon Rubber.|
|Weight||7.55 oz | 214 g|
|Dimensions||1.61 in x 1.61 in x 4.41 in | 41 mm x 41 mm x 112 mm|
|Included||Lytro Light Field Camera; Lens cap; Cleaner Cloth; Wrist Strap; 3.28 ft | 1 m Micro-USB cable for data transfer and charging.|
|Optional Accessories||Fast charger; Replacement lens cap. (Separate purchase required)|
Pre-orders go live at Lytro’s website today, and will ship in early 2012.
HOW IT WORKS AND PHOTOHUB’S TAKE ON ITS APPLICCATION
The Lytro certainly challenges the senses of a photographer like myself. I’ve had to read the features over and over to convince myself this is all real and I’m not stuck in a sci-fi dream going on in the mind of Spielberg. Firstly, looking at the specs there are some things missing, and some new things I’ve never seen in specifications on a camera. The lens focal range is missing, despite claiming it has an 8x optical zoom lens. The f/2 aperture is welcomed but without knowing what the ISO range is, it’s hard to tell if this camera can be used ‘well’ in low light, something manufacturers have been competing on vigorously in recent years. I can only assume the battery is built-in and non-replaceable, meaning its use may be limited to memory and its built-in battery life. At least it’s li-ion so can be recharged at any time.
EDIT: The lens appears to be a 7-56mm f/2, that would be equivalent to a 35-280 lens on a 35mm/full frame/FX SLR. The main lens’s depth of field, and I think as a result the smallest DoF the system can image, is equal to shooting at an aperture of f/10 on 35mm over the noted focal lengths. The sensor appears to be about 6mm tall resulting in a crop factor of about 5x.
There seems to be no control over the shutter speed and aperture like we’re accustomed to on traditional cameras, so it looks like an iPhone-style implementation where the user touches the screen where they’d like to lock the exposure. This may be good to get the exposure looking how you like it, but it doesn’t allow creative control over depth of field and/or shutter speed to capture moving subjects, or slowing down the shutter for long exposures. Looking at Lytro’s sample pictures on their picture gallery this camera seems to be more so aimed at landscape/snapshot style photographers, and not necessarily action photographers.
Considering their new picture capturing technology, a new file type named ‘lfp’ stores the picture, so it will be interesting to see how that file type gets along with current softwares like iPhoto, Facebook, Aperture and Photoshop to name a few. Lytro are saying that the package ‘includes a free desktop application for importing, processing and interacting with living pictures from the camera. It is built for Mac OS and requires Mac OS X 10.6 or higher. A Windows application is in development.’ In terms of resolution, it’s still a secret as to what the resolution will be, with Lytro stating ‘HD-quality interactive, living pictures’
The use of word ‘living’ seems to resonate in the technology of being able to interact with the picture after it has been taken, allowing photographers to see more than they’ve ever seen before. There’s more to come, once I finish digesting this information…..