Lytro : Snapshot Of The Future

9/12/2012 6:46:37 PM

A photographic revolution just arrived – and it’s all wrapped in a shiny aluminum oblong. Engage the shutter on the world’s first consumer ‘Light Field Camera’ and you don’t capture just one shot – instead an 11 ‘megaray’ sensor scoops up every possible bit of data through the 8x zoom, f/2 lens. Cunning processing allows you to focus on any part of your photo after taking the shot, and (in theory) generate 3D images without needing a second lens. Despite all that, it’ll small enough to slot into your hand as you peer through it – and into the future.

Description: Description: Screen - Creatively speaking

Screen – Creatively speaking

Shoots to thrill?

Using the Lytro is as simple as it innards are complex. A one-handed zoom and lightning-fast shutter reduce shooting to bare essentials, though the tiny touchscreen is rather squinty. On-screen gestures let you navigate, favorite and delete shots in seconds, and refocus them on the fly. But bold new tech doesn’t come cheap – it takes a lot to capture all that light field info, and outputted JPEGs end up a measly 1.2MP in size. Then there’s the lack of a flash or video, which feels more stream era than space age. Still, the real magic happens when you upload your Pics to your Mac (PC software is imminent). Here, images can be refocused with more finesse, or uploaded to Lytro’s website to be shared as interactive ‘living pictures’, so everyone can play with your multi-focus images. 3D capture and even video might be on the way. In short, it’s impressive stuff – but most camphones capture more useful photos.

Stuff says 3/5

More a toy than a real tool – but the photo revolution starts here.


The silky touch-sensitive zoom slider is great; not to the small, pixelly LCD. It washes out in sunlight, smears in the dark, and ironically it’s almost impossible to tell what’s sharp.

Creatively speaking

Swipe up to enter Creative Mode. This unlocks the full 8x zoom and lets you shoot Ultra close ups, right up to the lens. Use with care telephoto Pics reduce the multi-focus effect.

Computer says snap

Smart shots

The Lytro’s smarts are all about computational photography, which uses cutting-edge algorithms to banish out-of-focus snaps, improve exposure, correct distortion or even create 3D movies from the smallest lenses. Cool.

Light fantastic

Inside the Lytro, an array of microlenses siits between the standard lens and the sensor. The lenses project thousands of tiny images on to the CCD, allowing the camera to capture a 4D ‘light field’ of every ray of light.

Near and far

All that light field data allows the Lytro to work out how a pic would look at any focal setting – from macro to infinity. Loading an image on to the screen takes a few seconds, but refocusing is almost instantaneous.

Description: Description: Smart shots - Light fantastic

Smart shots – Light fantastic

Description: Description: Near and far

Near and far

Tech specs

Description: Description: Lytro


Price: US $400 (8GB)

Lens: 43 – 340mm equivalent, F/2

Sensor: 11 Megaray Light Field

Output resolution: 1.2MP

Screen: 1.52in touchscreen

Storage: 8GB (16GB available)

Connectivity: Micro USB

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