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Lytro announces Light Field Camera

By dpreview staff on Oct 19, 2011 at 18:54 GMT

Plenoptic camera maker Lytro has unveiled its first product - the Lytro Light Field Camera. Available in early 2012, the camera will come in 8Gb and 16Gb versions, costing $399 and $499, and capable of storing 350 and 750 images respectively in their internal memory. The cameras feature a 35-280mm equivalent, constant F2 lens with what the company is calling an 11 megaray sensor, that captures photos that can be refocused after shooting. Company Founder and CEO Ren Ng showed us the camera and talked us through the shooting experience.

Click here for our Lytro Light Field Camera overview with Ren Ng

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Press Release:

Lytro, Inc. Unveils the World's First Consumer Light Field Camera

Groundbreaking new camera instantly captures interactive, living pictures to share with friends and family online

Mountain View, CA – October 19, 2011 - Today, Lytro, Inc. (www.lytro.com) unveiled the first Lytro consumer light field camera, introducing a new way to take and experience pictures. Unlike conventional cameras, the Lytro light field camera captures all the rays of light in a scene, providing new capabilities never before possible, such as the ability to focus a picture after it's taken. The pocket-sized camera, which offers a powerful 8x optical zoom and f/2 lens in an iconic design, creates interactive "living pictures" that can be endlessly refocused. The camera is available in two models and three colors, starting at $399.

The Lytro is the only consumer camera that lets people instantly capture a scene just as they see it by recording a fundamentally richer set of data than ever before. Lytro cameras feature a light field sensor that collects the color, intensity, and the direction of every light ray flowing into the camera, capturing a scene in four dimensions. To process this additional information, Lytro cameras contain a light field engine that allows camera owners to refocus pictures directly on the camera. When the Lytro's living pictures are shared online, the light field engine travels with each picture so anyone can interact with them on nearly any device, including web browsers, mobile phones, and tablets — without having to download special software.

The Lytro's sleek design was created with simplicity in mind. With no unnecessary modes or dials, the camera features just two buttons — power and shutter — and has an intuitive glass touchscreen that lets pictures be viewed and refocused directly on the camera. While the Lytro camera houses complex technology, it is fundamentally easy to use, opening new creative opportunities for anyone interested in sharing their favorite memories with friends and family.

The Lytro camera's features include:

  • Form follows function: The Lytro's unique compact design is driven by its 8x optical zoom lens, which features a constant f/2 aperture. The Lytro's anodized aluminum body is lightweight yet sturdy. At less than eight ounces, the Lytro puts remarkable power in a pocket-sized camera.
  • Proprietary light field science: The Lytro is the only camera that captures life in living pictures. Its innovative light field sensor captures 11 million light rays of data (or 11 megarays), including the direction of each ray, something conventional cameras don't do. The light field engine then processes the data into a picture that is displayed in HD quality.
  • Unparalleled speed: The Lytro's speed ensures that people never miss a moment. It turns on instantly and has an instant shutter. With no need to auto-focus, the Lytro has no shutter delays.
  • Low-light sensitivity: By using all of the available light in a scene, the Lytro performs well in low-light environments without the use of a flash.
  • Significant storage: The Lytro is available in both 8GB and 16GB models, storing 350 and 750 pictures respectively. In addition, our first camera owners will enjoy free storage for the light field pictures they've uploaded to Lytro.com.
  • Seeing in 3D: Coming soon! Captured as a full light field, all pictures taken with the Lytro are inherently 3D. Special light field algorithms, available in 2012, will be applied to the light field pictures to enable viewing on any 3D display and to enable viewers to shift the perspective of the scene.

The Lytro light field camera is accompanied by Lytro's desktop application, a free software download that easily imports pictures from camera to computer. Currently available for Mac OS X, the desktop application lets people view, interact with, organize and share their light field pictures. Lytro pictures can then be uploaded to Lytro.com to be shared via Facebook, Twitter, blogs, or as links in email messages. Once shared, Lytro's living pictures allow viewers to live the moment with the photographer and explore a scene like never before. Viewers can continually interact with Lytro pictures – focusing them over and over – expanding the creative possibilities of each and every shot.

Concepts related to the light field and computational photography have been researched in academic circles for more than a century. Light field science was the subject of Lytro CEO and Founder Dr. Ren Ng's Ph.D. dissertation in computer science at Stanford, which was awarded the internationally-recognized ACM Dissertation Award in 2007 as well as Stanford University's Arthur Samuel Award for Best Ph.D. Dissertation. Dr. Ng's research focused on miniaturizing light field technology into the body of a single camera to make it practical for everyday use.

The digital still camera market is large and growing with $38.3 billion in worldwide revenue in 2010 and expectations to increase to $43.5 billion worldwide by 2015.* Visual storytelling is universal, with 60 billion photos shared on Facebook in 2010, projected to reach 100 billion photos by this summer.

"Light field photography was once only possible with 100 cameras tethered to a supercomputer in a lab," said Ng. "Today it's accessible to everyone in a camera that's small and powerful, but incredibly easy to use. Our goal is to forever change the way people take and experience pictures, and today marks our first major step."

Pricing & Availability

The Lytro camera is available in two models: 8GB ($399, 350 pictures, in Electric Blue or Graphite) and 16GB ($499, 750 pictures, in Red Hot). It is now available to order at Lytro.com and will ship in early 2012. The Lytro desktop application will be available initially for the Mac operating system; a Windows version will be available in 2012.

For a demonstration of living pictures, visit the Lytro Picture Gallery: www.lytro.com/living-pictures.

* ―Digital Still Cameras: Devices, Features, Lenses, Sensors, and Semiconductors,‖ In-Stat (2011)

Additional images

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Comments

Total comments: 271
123
tunny01
By tunny01 (Jan 29, 2012)

The TECHNOLOGY is interesting, and may show lots of promise. But mostly, I suspect, for specialist industrial, scientific applications where depth information is more important than resolution.

But as a point and shoot camera, I share the scepticism. Will the people who it might have most use for (those whose photos are often out of focus) really spend a lot of time post=processing? Will enthusiasts be happy with the low resolution for the post-focussing ability? What about the hosting on the Lytro server aspect?

It's been said in response to criticisms of the resolution "just wait! this is just the beginning!" - but that's forgetting some fundamental laws of physics, mainly down to diffraction and the wavelengths of light. It's not possible to scale the technology up without making the sensor far, far larger - which is hardly practical for a point and shoot camera.

The technology will have uses in specialist fields, but "a new revolution in photography" - no.

1 upvote
geargrabber5
By geargrabber5 (Jan 9, 2012)

This tech would be amazing for security cameras. Ever tried to focus an IP camera 100 feet up on the side of a building? While hanging over the side of the lift. Hold a laptop with poor wifi signal in one hand and trying to make almost imperceivable changes to the cameras lens with the other hand. It's not easy.

I would buy one of these in a heartbeat if you could set the focus (or set everything in focus) and save the picture as a jpeg. And at least have that jpeg be at 1024x768 resolution. Having exposure control for low light situations would be a big plus also.

0 upvotes
joepe
By joepe (Jan 8, 2012)

..Way too expensive for ONLY the amusing 4D experience part. Marketed as a P.S. camera where consumers won't easy nothing over $100 it won't ever get to fund the innovative technology in a gently profitable margin.

Not enough to attract professionals into a new experience. While a simplified camera it doesn't promise not even a hundred of the fun that can be found in others zoom cameras with shooting settings, filters and others gadgets for about or inclusive half that price.

4D imagery will become a revolutionary way to interact with pictures, yet it will shake the principle of still photography as the final result it is not a still final render of an image.

All said, I suggest to (1) drop the price to around $200. (2) Lets the professionals photographer to experiment and create applications. (3) Gather the results and modify the entire photography industry with a better final product, which can be better address into the market diversity.

1 upvote
joepe
By joepe (Jan 8, 2012)

Seriously with that price tag the risk of falling in a slow tech dev that won't gain market in the next 25 years are greater than, lowering the price and quickly entering the mark to avoid been forgotten by a new superior tech forthcoming withing the next 10 years.

1 upvote
joepe
By joepe (Jan 9, 2012)

From a professional photographer stand point, this 'camera' have no focal depth control and no other exposure controls. The f2 8X zoom lens reveal nothing out the ordinary in relation with the capabilities of the new 'light field sensor'. And its resolution won't reach the needs for commercial quality prints.

For the amateur photographer with just the intention of snapping -worry free focus- pictures for the amusement of their family and their social network the $400 is kind of snub pricey gadget, not to affordable to consider.

And for the enthusiasts photographer is too much to investment to consider for experimentation.Without a DSLR body is just fancy sensor in very common lens. Or another point-and-shoot camera with a very awkward marketing strategy.

1 upvote
joepe
By joepe (Jan 9, 2012)

Looking at these pictures samples http://www.lytro.com/living-pictures/283 and try to get the house in the far back within focus, not possible. IT is all about the new "sensor". In real optics does it need a real good professional lens or a real point and shoot camera to get everything sharply focused :)

1 upvote
somename
By somename (Dec 4, 2011)

Do you want to compare it to apple? FINE!
Apple blatantly copied and stole from everyone in the field, simplified the UI, removed key features, then bombarded the world with advertising.

"If you don't have an iPhone, you are a loser!"

This may be an "old technology" just like CMOS was, like SSD Drives were, like everything is... seriously...

You want to say that the Pixel Density is too low for a small sensor and they need 48MP's per cm^2 to be competitive? (However will DSLR's with 3MP's per cm^2 compete!)

You want to say that most people RARELY print photos larger than 2MP and that "internet quality" is less than 0.5MP?

Do you want to say that most p&s cameras have been taking horrible photos and running crud loads of post processing to make up for it?

You want to say there is no target market?
Who would EVER want to swing their arms all day and talk to their gaming console? idk, but it sells!

YOU do not KNOW what to use it for, but that does not make it bad.

0 upvotes
somename
By somename (Dec 4, 2011)

Though, in a way, it is pretty barren.
From a point and shoot standard, most people don't do anything besides "point and shoot," and sometimes they take videos. (I mean, people are comparing cellphone camera's to DSLRs! Even point and shoots! (and they're doing it based on megapixels of all things -__-)

*Do note, when I say most people... I mean MOST PEOPLE. Unless you're seriously uneducated, you'll realize that MOST PEOPLE are uneducated ;p They don't read manuals and they complain about things not having pretty graphics.

Now OBVIOUSLY, the Well Educated Photographers here are NOT "Most People" but YOU are the MINORITY. And of that minority, half of you are liars.

Sheesh, it's disgusting what I read in these comments around this site... it's enough to make me say that nearly all of you are egocentric and almost none of you have any imagination... conformists.

And you ask why they won't give precise specs... because very few of you have the imagination to see beyond the numbers.

0 upvotes
RoyGBiv
By RoyGBiv (Nov 14, 2011)

Is my understanding correct? I am under the impression that this camera's subject isolating abilities has almost *nothing* to do with it's aperture/focal-length/sensor size ratios, since it is *computing* the blur and in-focus characteristics from its angle-of-light calculations. It's abilities to render OOF & in focus characteristics are therefore (almost) solely defined by the diameter of the two furthest datapoints that contain image information on a single subject. That would therefore make the key factor the diffracting capability of the microlenses vs. the distance to the sensor.

I believe, actually, its abilities to render OOF areas are going to surprise folks who think its sensor is too small to do much subject isolation. But I also think it's limited in how much blurring it can generate. You won't be recreating ginormous bokeh balls with this thing.

0 upvotes
MP Burke
By MP Burke (Oct 31, 2011)

Initial interest may wane somewhat, once still photographers see the resolution it is capable of.
The lens specification quoted, constant F2 zoom in a small body, is a good clue to what's inside- i.e. a small sensor. HD resolution most likely refers to 720 by 1080 pixels- it could be, at most 1080 by 1920 pixels.
To do what they are describing at the resolutions (i.e 12MP+) most people are using for stills, will require a lot of memory and processing power and would probably cost several thousand dollars.

0 upvotes
oysso
By oysso (Nov 6, 2011)

I look at this first camera as an experiment for how the marked react to it and see what the new technology can do.

It might have some applications where it is impossible to autofocus.

0 upvotes
PaulSnowcat
By PaulSnowcat (Oct 31, 2011)

Well, another toy for want-to-be-cool-looking boys and girls. HD resolution? umph...

0 upvotes
omul
By omul (Oct 29, 2011)

I think this is the beginning of a revolution in photography. As soon as the technology will cover the existing gap between the field photography and the present plane (2D) one we will all replenish our gears. And it seems that the needed array of lenses will shrink, making photography a less expensive profession or hobby.

1 upvote
gberger
By gberger (Oct 28, 2011)

Put me down as skeptical. First of all they are throwing around a lot of fancy-sounding jargon without answering specific questions such as what is the actual resolution, what is the shutter speed, etc.
Secondly, as at least one other comment pointed out, they say the lens is an 8x optical zoom with constant f2 aperture. Come on people, is anyone paying attention to this claim? They've suddenly created a compact F2 zoom with that kind of range in a 400.00 camera? I find this hard to believe and i think anyone who thinks about if for 10 seconds will agree.
My feeling is that they have something innovative in one respect but they are throwing up a lot of smoke and mirrors to hide the shortcomings and are hoping people will swallow it.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
GBo
By GBo (Oct 28, 2011)

It's a small sensor after all, such as CCTV ones, and manual zooms can both be cheap and with large aperture :
http://www.cctv-4sale.com/products.cfm/LENSES/Varifocal-Lenses/Manual-Varifocal-Lenses/
And remember that the Lytro don't even need focus ring or iris.
rgds,
GBo

1 upvote
ezradja
By ezradja (Oct 24, 2011)

so the output is HD quality? hmm, 1280 x 720 res?

0 upvotes
delnerdo
By delnerdo (Oct 24, 2011)

Yesterday the iPod quietly celebrated its tenth birthday.
This quote is from macrumors.com and I include it here to reflect on initial acceptance of new technologies:

<quote>
Initial reaction to the iPod wasn't entirely favorable. Slashdot's famous reaction was "No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame." MacRumors was also around at the time as well, and much of the reader reaction wasalso negative. One commenter wrote:

All that hype for an MP3 player? Break-thru digital device? The Reality Distiortion Field™ is starting to warp Steve's mind if he thinks for one second that this thing is gonna take off.

Of course, ten years later, the iPod has sold over 304 million units.
</quote>

Will your words sound similar in a decade?

1 upvote
nekrosoft13
By nekrosoft13 (Nov 15, 2011)

Only reason that ipod catched on is that for some reason apple logo on small electronic devices has the same effect like flies to "BEEP". Ipod and Iphones are not really better, and people are slowly starting to realize that with phones as android is already taking a much larger chunk of market share then ios.

1 upvote
Michael Jardine
By Michael Jardine (Jan 5, 2012)

At Apple, it's always been about the 'user experience.' The iPod did so well because of its simple and aesthetic design. It made people happy to be using it. Same with most of their other products.

0 upvotes
janneman02
By janneman02 (Mar 13, 2012)

I for one do not like their desgns.... it shouts "look at my looks coz'nothing else is good about me"...

0 upvotes
GKC
By GKC (Oct 24, 2011)

Awesome idea as far ast the technology goes... The design seems a little bit ridiculous though. Why not make it functional like a P&S. The blocky featureless design is a real goof.. Anyone other than hipsters trying to be "different" are going to find it unweildy and cumbersome. I'm a bit confused about saving and editing the images as well.. I need to upload my images to their server and use their online editor? Can I save .jpgs onto my computer? Does using this technology mean that my images are not my own and are subject to copyright from lytro?

0 upvotes
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (Oct 26, 2011)

You can use their software on your Mac (they'll have a PC version next year) to make JPEGs out of the Lytro images (which sort of defeats the purpose of their "live" images that people can "interact with") or to interact (refocus) them.

The only time you have to use their server is when you want to put them somewhere that your friends can see and interact with. And then, yes, according to the draconian terms on their site, they do appear to own them.

0 upvotes
Guy Swarbrick
By Guy Swarbrick (Oct 27, 2011)

> The design seems a little bit ridiculous though. Why not make it functional like a P&S. The blocky featureless design is a real goof.. Anyone other than hipsters trying to be "different" are going to find it unweildy and cumbersome.

Looks like that's who they're going for...

>You can use their software on your Mac (they'll have a PC version next year)

0 upvotes
D B Morris
By D B Morris (Nov 17, 2011)

"The blocky featureless design" is presumably the consequence of the design following function, i.e. it has to be that way to fit it in.

0 upvotes
Greg Scott
By Greg Scott (Oct 24, 2011)

This thing is a novelty, a toy. That doesn't mean that you can't make art with it. Look at all the folks doing creative things with toy cameras. But the resolution is poor, and the interaction with the multi-focus images I saw on their website was uninteresting. What good is it to grab all focus in a stack, but have resolution so poor that by using a gamera with more resolution you could get more detail in a single shot than in the whole multi-focus stack in this camera? None, in my opinion.

0 upvotes
simply sner
By simply sner (Oct 23, 2011)

so the camera doesn't have the specifications you want? so what? don't buy it.

did you look into the PhD thesis on the company's website? - Ren Ng's work is beautiful.
the camera is not ready for the market? well it is still the most innovative prototype that came out since the first digital camera. back then you stored images on a floppy disc... what are you guys complaining about?

5 upvotes
Biowizard
By Biowizard (Oct 24, 2011)

But some of Ng's claims don't stack up. How, for example, does he propose to generate 3D from a single viewpoint? However good his PhD "dissertation" (his word), he can't change this particular law of physics or biological design!

Brian

1 upvote
GBo
By GBo (Oct 24, 2011)

It's within the law of physics. Please see Fig.4 of this paper from Stanford :
http://graphics.stanford.edu/papers/lfcamera/lfcamera-150dpi.pdf
=> you’ll have as many viewpoints as there are pixels under a microlens. If you take the center pixel from each microlens (see the ones marked with a red spot in the following image), you can build an image showing the full field from a given viewpoint, and in focus like in a pinhole camera. If you take another pixel coordinate (let’s say the ones marked in blue), you’ll have another viewpoint:
http://gbotet.perso.sfr.fr/Ng/pixels.jpg

Hard to believe ! So I tried with a homemade matlab and a sample of a raw plenoptic image... and it worked. Here are all the viewpoints that I could build from a single Light Field shot :
http://gbotet.perso.sfr.fr/Ng/imagettes.gif
The viewpoints are not very far away from each other, they are in the limits of the physical aperture. 3D effect will be rather limited, unless the subject is very close from the lens.

3 upvotes
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (Oct 26, 2011)

Brian, it is within the laws of physics. As GBo (cool bit of Matlab there) pointed out, the stereobase is way too small to get any useful amount of parallax. Based on a calculated lens size of 26mm, and a 4:1 decimateion, you get 17mm, about 1/4 the 62mm typical human interocular distance.

The decades-old rule for that sort of work is 30:1 sterobase to subject distance, so, you'd only get realistic looking stereo of objects about 50cm (18 inches) away.

But all is not lost. Any system that can derive planes of focus (focus stacking, confocal microscopy, etc) can skew the layers of the stack to get a wider stereobase. The problem with that sort of work is that it gives an "extruded" look. The foreground objects look like "lumps" growing out of the background, not separate objects. It's fine, if you have a single subject isolated from the background (I use it in macro) but not much use for the "social media" crowd Lytro is chasing.

3 upvotes
Biowizard
By Biowizard (Oct 28, 2011)

OK, so we're talking about generating image data effectively from both edges of the lens, in order to get the 3D vew. I accept that would work, but as Joseph says, only for relatively close-up objects, because of the fairly small size of the lens.

Laws of Physics NOT broken after all! :-)

Brian

0 upvotes
Marino Pascal
By Marino Pascal (Oct 22, 2011)

This camers is doomed for two reasons.
1) Proprietary image format. I think they want you to post images only on THEIR website and from there "share" on other sites. Like when you post on Youtube and then embed the Youtube video on other sites.
2)One inch LCD screen/control panel. Cute? yes. Functional? Not so much.

3 upvotes
dbacellar
By dbacellar (Oct 25, 2011)

I understand this camera as a proof of concept. Maybe the idea is sell it like a curiosity, a funny gadget, to get more financing (and money from the sales) to create something bigger and better (or to complete development of an ongoing project).

0 upvotes
MdC64
By MdC64 (Oct 22, 2011)

I'm going to keep an open mind. The concept is plausible: Focusing happens in the lens of a conventional camera, which produces a 2D image on the sensor. If we capture the direction of each light ray entering the lens, we can do the focusing later with software calculations.The proof will be in the results.

Let's not penalize Dr. Ng for making the product and marketing super simple. The Kodak Brownie was super simple and brought film photography to the masses. Dr. Ng decided to sell lots of cameras at an accessible price point in order to become mainstream quickly. A "pro" model will probably come later.

Instead of attacking the choice to simplify the product for the masses, think about the possibilities in post-processing! Now you can focus after the shot too. This could increase artistic control.

2 upvotes
CriticalI
By CriticalI (Oct 23, 2011)

For a product to succeed first it has to solve a real problem or provide real benefits. Since when was focusing a real problem? Most phonecams have plenty of DOF and still offer 5-8MP of resolution and cost nothing.

And why on earth do people want to fiddle with the shot using proprietary software on a website after the event? On my phone I can snap a shot, add a filter effect and upload it to facebook in 2 minutes. Thats where the snapper market is right now and this offers nothing that will change it.

The technology may well have applications in other fields, but the sacrifice of resolution, compactness, convenience and basic connectivity makes it more or less useless. However novel, who wants a 1mp camera with an expensive F2 lens that wont even fit in a pocket?

0 upvotes
NigelMoore
By NigelMoore (Oct 23, 2011)

You've never had a camera/lens misfocus? Or missed the focus yourself? Or had a really narrow DOF, and then wished that you'd changed the point of focus? Good for you!

3 upvotes
Mikhail A
By Mikhail A (Oct 23, 2011)

Exactly. Camera often focuses on striped clothes of fence instead of the face.

1 upvote
dbacellar
By dbacellar (Oct 25, 2011)

NigelMoore: yes... worse: just yesterday I was forced to tell to my mother that her second hand cell phone camera (Motorola A1200) has a 'macro/landscape' lever and ALL the twenty something pictures she had taken at a party last sunday were lost for being misfocused.

CriticalI: maybe they want to keep their software secret someway. Maybe it demands too much processing power, by now. This policy will change, probably. Personally, I would wait for the version 2.0 before buying it.

0 upvotes
Scott Lanyard
By Scott Lanyard (Oct 22, 2011)

Stated in the original article: "Its innovative light field sensor captures 11 million light rays of data (or 11 megarays), including the direction of each ray,...."

excuse me, but...WTH does that mean? I'd like to hear what a physicist would say about that above statement...LOL. It's like Lytro would like us to believe that you actually can say something about sensor size (or quality) when posting the light rays it can capture. IMHO thats stupid marketing bull**** and they think they can take us for fools here ;-)

0 upvotes
clickshots
By clickshots (Oct 24, 2011)

I don't think they're trying to tell you anything about the sensor with that statement. They're basically just telling you that they used 11 million microlenses.

1 upvote
CriticalI
By CriticalI (Oct 22, 2011)

This camera is a joke, right? Go on. You are kidding me... What? You mean this is actually for SALE? This is for people that cant focus, or cant make up their mind WHERE to focus?

You mean, you leave that up to the person LOOKING at the picture. OK so now the photographer can be dumb as a skunk but now the VIEWER has to focus. But you can't focus on the whole pic at the same TIME because that spoils the fun?

Oh come ON why is anyone taking this sersiously?

1 upvote
Mikhail A
By Mikhail A (Oct 23, 2011)

And you *always* focus properly? Ah, I get it. You shoot with compact at f/16 so everything always in focus. Stop trolling really.

3 upvotes
ijustloveshooting
By ijustloveshooting (Oct 25, 2011)

i'm %100 with you on this, what a joke...i dont know and never want to know some dumb cant focus....

0 upvotes
Biowizard
By Biowizard (Oct 21, 2011)

Thought (sceptic's hat on!) ... why are there no dpReview preview pics yet?

The Lytro website demos are all FLASH apps, which frankly could have been (and IMHO probably were) created from a dozen or so conventional photos ...

Brian

0 upvotes
Le Kilt
By Le Kilt (Oct 22, 2011)

It doesn't produce jpgs, just a sort of flash 're-focusable' image.
By my reckoning, a jpg capture will be 540x540 pixels. They haven't shown anything more, and are asking people to buy it without specifying...
A great gizmo for putting fun re-focusable snaps on Facebook. For great photos, no.

0 upvotes
Biowizard
By Biowizard (Oct 22, 2011)

Yeah, I got that bit from the articles - but I would be far more impressed if dpR posted their own independent examples - even just a series of still JPGs rendered at different "focusing points" from a single shot. I simply don't trust the FLASH animations on the Lytro website: anyone could produce those with a conventional camera by simply taking a dozen or so shots while moving the focus ring, and then combining them into a FLASH app.

And as fo Lytro's claims about forthcoming 3D transformations - excuse me, but this is PROVABLY bull*** - 3D perception requires at least two images to be taken from DIFFERENT viewpoints: you cannot construct 3D from a single viewpoint, no matter how many images you take or compute.

This is utter codswallop!!

Brian

0 upvotes
NigelMoore
By NigelMoore (Oct 23, 2011)

Some of the photos in the Lytro gallery are just too mundane to have been faked. And there's a lot of them. TBH, if I were going to go to the trouble of faking, I'd make sure that the composition was worth the effort.

Unless there's some sort of reverse psychology thing going on.

0 upvotes
Joe Ogiba
By Joe Ogiba (Oct 21, 2011)

"This 16Gb model is capable storing 375 images in its internal memory. "
http://www.dpreview.com/products/lytro/compacts/lytro_lfc16gb

That should say 750 images for the 16GB model.

"Two versions will be available - an 8Gb model that comes in gray ('Graphite') or blue ('Electric Blue') or a more expensive 'Red-Hot' 16Gb version ($499). The smaller versions will be able to record around 350 images, with the larger version finding space for nearer 750."
http://www.dpreview.com/articles/7237351494/lytro-light-field-camera-first-look-with-ren-ng

0 upvotes
lucigrapher
By lucigrapher (Oct 21, 2011)

From

The Cult of Lomography by Kevin Mason

at

http://garage-studios.co.uk/the-cult-of-lomography-kevin-mason

"This _Don't_Think_ manifesto is pure bull****, designed to tap in to your growing fear as a human of a loss of identity, of a homogenisation of life, but by adhering to it, you are collaborating, joining the mass of visual noise but contributing nothing. It’s a stroke of marketing genius, selling essentially JOKE CAMERAS, in as many different forms as the ad team can come up with."

1 upvote
Le Kilt
By Le Kilt (Oct 21, 2011)

540x540 pixels, am I right?
A nice little gadget for $400 or $500!

1 upvote
KHemmelman
By KHemmelman (Oct 21, 2011)

This camera kind of sounds interesting as something to play with, but looking at their examples, it appears to have a lot of CA and image softness, so I don't know for sure what I personally might use it for.

I went to their website and can't find what the image resolution is of the photos. Does anyone know what the heck size the images are that come out of this thing? (How can they not post the image size in their specs? What's the big secret?)

It appears you "must" use their software to process the image and get something usable like a JPG, but the software is only currently for the MAC so for a Windows user like me this thing isn't even an option right now.

1 upvote
Biowizard
By Biowizard (Oct 21, 2011)

My first post on dpReview, and OMG but - surely I can't be the only person here to smell a Very Large RAT? Although I am aware of the concept of Plenoptics, this little camera - or rather, Ng's claims about it, simply don't stack up.

Apart from the apparent optical miracle of an f2.0, 8-times optical zoom (wouldn't we all *kill* for one of those for our regular cameras?), there are some serious imponderables here.

For example, "3D" - changing "Viewpoint" post-capture ... er, 'scuse me, but HOW? How could you magically see round something that was in the way at the time you took a picture with a single lens? After all, even the human eye cannot see 3D unless you used BOTH of them at once!

Curious how ALL the WikiPedia pages about Plenoptics seem to have been updated within the past 2 days ... something just ain't quite right about this. And it's not even April 1st!

Brian

Comment edited 34 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (Oct 21, 2011)

The Wikipedia is normally heavily sabotaged by special interests. You should see what the Sony fanboys did to the "translucent" page, and several other pages that so much as mention the word.

Aside from that, on a small sensor (this camera has the sensor of a low end P&S) at low resolutions (720p, or even lower) f2.0 zooms are quite easy. There's lots of them in the video industry. Along with crazy primes, like 25mm f0.95...

0 upvotes
Le Kilt
By Le Kilt (Oct 22, 2011)

I'm repeating myself, but I think the surprise will be the 540x540 pixel resolution.
Of course, they could also be cheating, and just be doing some fast focus bracketing, not so sure...

0 upvotes
brn68
By brn68 (Oct 21, 2011)

if you're interested in the Lytro, you probably want to see this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Th5zlUe6gOE

0 upvotes
pin008
By pin008 (Oct 21, 2011)

11 mega sensor, LOL. Ng wanna keep the exact output resolutions as a secret forever.

1 upvote
Le Kilt
By Le Kilt (Oct 22, 2011)

I reckon on 540x540 pixels !
Seriously.

0 upvotes
Romaine
By Romaine (Oct 21, 2011)

Many people mentioned the shortcomings of this first gen camera, but I think it's perfect for one application - LOMOGRAPHY. Lomo doesn't need very high resolution, but spontaneousness is much desired. I use HOLGA, and exposure and focus have always been a problem. I guess this camera will match the "Don't think - Just shoot" mentality of lomography very well.

1 upvote
The Customer
By The Customer (Oct 21, 2011)

I wonder if it, or a descendant of it, will soon kill the market for Holgas and Dianas. Come to think of it, I wonder if this will eventually wipe out the resale value of even the priciest pro bodies and lenses...

0 upvotes
jtoddv
By jtoddv (Oct 21, 2011)

I think this is really cool. What I really want though is to be able to calculate distance an image. I would love a camera that I can walk around with and mesh together or even video an area to create a 3D rendering from. This seems to be on the same path with the 3D aspects coming in 2012.

As an example, I was outside manually topo-mapping my yard this past summer trying to render the terrain for a massive landscaping overhaul. While out there I thought wouldn't it be great if the camera could measure distances at the same time capturing the image. The distance data could then be fed into a 3D modeling program to render a shot. Mesh multiple images together and I have a full 3D rendering of my entire yard. My landscape design would have been much quicker from the modeling aspect.

1 upvote
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (Oct 21, 2011)

Your needs would be better served with a stereo camera, like a Fuji W3. The 3D capabilities of the lightfield camera are limited to shallow "extrusions" and the resolution is too low for any sort of rangefinder use.

1 upvote
lxstorm
By lxstorm (Oct 20, 2011)

Very impressed by sample images awesome colors & decent subjects. Looks to me like a superb promotion hopefully the images have not been taken by Hassy since they are looking very hassy-like.

Wonder if taking 3 images from a tripod by an conventional camera focused at front subject middle and infinite and then combined them into one so by clicking different area of a combined image it will show the right focused one would look any different.

.

1 upvote
CarlosNunezUSA
By CarlosNunezUSA (Oct 20, 2011)

I wonder if they can be used in macro photography.

This idea could be something, there will be always people complaining, but that is something bound to happen with any new technology, then suddenly every other manufacturer is trying to copy them.

1 upvote
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (Oct 21, 2011)

It's not really applicable to macro. The DOF is still limited, by physics, to that of the decimated lens, in this case, about f45 equivalent.

I don't think we're going to be seeing other manufacturers copying this.

1 upvote
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Oct 20, 2011)

Does anyone know if there are threads for a front filter? I can't tell from the jpg of the sectioned camera body.

Also anyone have any idea how easy it is to open up and replace the battery--and for that matter the solid state memory--after all rechargeable batteries really don't last for more than a couple of years of frequent use even under the best circumstances? (Expensive specialized chargers for camcorder batteries, dslr batteries and power tool batteries would be best conditions.) Unlikely but I guess this Lytro camera battery might last a few years if Lytro used something similar to that lithium polymer battery tech that Apple uses in iPhones and other portables.

0 upvotes
pastie
By pastie (Oct 20, 2011)

My god you people are negative!

Someone invents an entirely new type of photography and all you do is whinge about it having a small sensor and costing a lot.

Of course its a bit basic its the first one of its kind. I say good luck to them, and thanks for trying to break the mould. The wrights plane was a bit basic too compared to a 747.

Ten years ago your digital cameras ancestor was probably as expensive with a similar quality to this and film users were mocking them as you mock this now, now look whats happened. Im surprised half of you even use this site and aren't still using film if your that resistant to advances in technology.

Give this thing 5 years and a big investor/manufacturer and you'll be throwing your old fashioned single focus digital slr in the skip.

They just need to invent some sort of paper like viewer, imagine interactive focus prints, galleries and posters, what fun!

People can now interact with your picture instead of just looking at it.

7 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Oct 20, 2011)

It's not an invention; it's an inexpensive version of ideas and tech that been being worked on for at least 30 years and some of the basic photography ideas involved go back more than 100 years.

Cheap small computers made it possible.

10 years ago, when I bought my first digicam, a Canon G2, there was no such thing as a $400 digicam. And that Canon still out shoots many digicams today, unlikely to be the case with this Lytro in 10 years. What I think you mean are those first two commercial digicams from Sony and yes Apple, both like 20-25 years ago.

Paperlike view screens already exist, even in colour.

0 upvotes
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (Oct 21, 2011)

Ten years ago, I got my first pair of Nikon D100. They were a match, quality-wise, to most of what I did with color print film, and the increased ease-of-use made them a quick replacement for film.

"Give this thing 5 years and a big investor/manufacturer and you'll be throwing your old fashioned single focus digital slr in the skip."

Well, sure. Once you get past the little details of the low resolution (1mp for the production camera, 0.06mp for the original prototype) and the limited DOF adjustment range (about 2 stops for the production camera, and only 4 stops for the original prototype, compared to 7-8 stops for a DSLR).

3 upvotes
The Customer
By The Customer (Oct 21, 2011)

But I don't want people interacting with my photos, save for the basic interaction that comes with viewing them. That being said, I would love to have one of these for snapshooting...

1 upvote
adamharper
By adamharper (Oct 20, 2011)

Interesting that there are so many critical comments on this - poor image quality, lack of control, gimmicky, blah blah blah....this is a fundamental change in digital photography, and impressive technology that is still in its infancy. Funny how so many people seem to forget how rapidly new technologies advance once they are unleashed. I have no doubt that in a few years (3? 5?) many (if not most) dslrs will utilise this technology. Problems like dof, image quality, light sensitivity and shutter control are all just technical problems that will be overcome, because the consumer will demand it.

6 upvotes
AlanG
By AlanG (Oct 21, 2011)

I agree that this is a fundamental change and is truly significant. But is that important to the intended market for this very simple device? I look forward to when the technology and cameras get much more developed.

0 upvotes
costinul_ala
By costinul_ala (Oct 21, 2011)

it is a great concept working. it is the product itself that is not convincing. 400$ for a 1MP camera with no flash ... are there any samples from third parties to check before ordering one ? a flash will guarantee more usable pics than a "focus-after" feature

0 upvotes
Brian Lund
By Brian Lund (Oct 20, 2011)

NOT impressed with the image quality as seen on their homepage...!

0 upvotes
The_Fat_Zebra
By The_Fat_Zebra (Oct 20, 2011)

All hype, nothing more.

0 upvotes
RHWeiner
By RHWeiner (Oct 20, 2011)

Hmmm, interesting 'Toy' but worth the money?

Yes, you can refocus but with an aperture of f2 very shallow DOF so it's either 'This' or 'That' is in focus...not both together. And what they called focused to me look a bit too soft...but that's probably the lens quality.

Probably won't buy it but I won't say to others not too either. After all R&D for next version needs money to go ahead. :)

0 upvotes
fenomeno
By fenomeno (Oct 20, 2011)

According to their website and Lytro blog responses, the software will allow all in focus or select focus points.

1 upvote
physguy88
By physguy88 (Oct 20, 2011)

There might distinctive applications in security. Imagine taking bright pictures of a room where you can get clear pictures of every face.

Might also be interesting for microscopy - you might be able to achieve greater Z depth.

Consumer- I don't know. A _lot_ of very strong competition out there. I think they are clearly trying to set themselves apart with iconic design. That's smart but not sure if it's enough.

0 upvotes
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (Oct 21, 2011)

Imagine a resolution so low that you can't see any detail on a face.

It's of no interest for microscopy, because it doesn't operate outside physical laws. z-depth is limited by the product of magnification and resolution. The only way to increase it is the way microscopists already do, by taking multiple images at different focal planes, and stacking for increased z-depth.

0 upvotes
RoelHendrickx
By RoelHendrickx (Oct 20, 2011)

The way it is marketed is a bit geeky and gadgety, but the concept is genuinely interesting.
A bit like Lomography, but then in the next century.

0 upvotes
THSolutions
By THSolutions (Oct 20, 2011)

Let me start by saying Congrats to the folks over at Lytro INC. You guys have done an awesome job.

I think this item to have all kinds of applications. It's no point in rating it from a professional equipment Point of View. It's not.

It is however a cool gadget.

No Flash, so the night life "out with the ladies" might be out the question. it's not ergonomic so it will be dropped often, (nothing a rubber case won't fix).

If you have to wait to upload it to focus it, looking at the rear LCD after the shot will be useless. Just take the pic, and keep it moving. That being said, i think they will do well with the online photo world. (these people don't need nor want prints). they just want to show off their "good times" but then, that's why they have camera phones.

0 upvotes
allywishs
By allywishs (Oct 20, 2011)

It's pretty cool, "Bladerunner" without the resolution. Your cellphone probably does as well or better. And your phone is always with you. And you have to have a Mac. And pay $4oo clams. And wait for 3D software. This will take off. When as one of the comments said, every one has the tech. For cheap.

Comment edited 46 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
CentipedeCarpet
By CentipedeCarpet (Oct 20, 2011)

Um, can you say strap that bad boy onto a helmet, under a gun barrel, or other places like that? Who cares where you focused when you can adjust that stuff later. It may not be the end all be all of cameras, but you could do some fun stuf with it.

Heck, if you could rig it to snap off pics wirelessly I declare it to be the best option ever to fulfill my dream of pig's eye view photography (snout cam, as I like to call it).

0 upvotes
k4
By k4 (Oct 20, 2011)

the possibilities of this could be awesome, will definitely keep my eye on this product

1 upvote
andrea_g
By andrea_g (Oct 20, 2011)

The display is too little, even considering that you don't need it to check focus. They could use a wider one eg 16/9 that rotate and slip inside along the long side.

0 upvotes
farrukh
By farrukh (Oct 20, 2011)

That we can't run the software on our own computers or share the photos the way we want - to me, this is a deal breaker. Great technology otherwise.

1 upvote
GeoTogger
By GeoTogger (Oct 20, 2011)

can anyone see any details about controlling iso and shutter speed?! F/2 lens is all well and good, but if iso is crap there is no advantage over just having a good cam with capable high iso then setting it at infinity with small aperture and adding blur in pp to your hearts desire...

-there are NO pictures in low light on the website. NONE.

obv no flash too!

the main application i can think for this technology is for truly candid people photos, action shots especially at tele, and if iso is good then nighttime photography.

otherwise i'm all for the idea, and appalled by the lack of imagination of commenters on this site, and their inability to ask the pertinent questions.

2 upvotes
THSolutions
By THSolutions (Oct 20, 2011)

There is one, "A drink before takeoff?" It's a nice shot, but the low light situation has produced some noise in the sample. So low light will present a problem for this yet still, amazing little gadget.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
GEORGE KARRAS
By GEORGE KARRAS (Oct 20, 2011)

I see the conept as a digital telescope/microscope and the new name can be LytroScope. (In greek language lytra is money for hostages, and hostage for the camera is the scene, money for the scene)

1 upvote
HBoss26
By HBoss26 (Oct 20, 2011)

It seems that the device has no ergonomic grip. IMHO its hard to maintain sharp picture with one hand using 3 fingers.

Comment edited 37 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Suntan
By Suntan (Oct 20, 2011)

Agreed. Putting aside the relevance of the imaging technology (which I am somewhat curious to see in real world use by real customers) the industrial design is poor. One more device that is designed based purely on form with very little value placed on function.

If the industrial design is any indication, the product is not intended to be taken seriously for the purpose of taking quality photographs, but as a conversation piece at the next little league game.

-Suntan

0 upvotes
AlanG
By AlanG (Oct 21, 2011)

Yes I find the technology interesting... potentially much more useful in "serious" cameras in the future than on a consumer camera like this today.

But I do find the design awful for a camera. In trying to make something that looks totally different from all other cameras they have ignored years of improvements in ergonomics of cameras.

I think this model will fail miserably as a consumer camera due to lack of video, and the fact that many other cameras and cell phones can shoot sharp higher res photos pretty easily and have larger screens for framing and reviewing. But the underlying technology, when it's eventually incorporated into a really high res system that can shift the plane of focus and do other tricks, will be really wonderful.

0 upvotes
epo001
By epo001 (Oct 20, 2011)

I note they Lytro still won't say what the image size is nor give any details of how to extract a specific image (as opposed to showing the whole 'living image'). I'd imagine the sample images on their website are what you get (256x256 perhaps?).

Promising idea but definitely wait for consumer reviews. I'll wait for version 2.0 or 3.0

1 upvote
snackwells
By snackwells (Oct 20, 2011)

They hint it will be "HD", which one can infer that it should be at least 720-1080 pix in height, final size.

0 upvotes
ZAnton
By ZAnton (Oct 20, 2011)

On the sample pictures it doesn't "focuses" on the background. Only on the foreground.

0 upvotes
jsandjs
By jsandjs (Oct 20, 2011)

It doesn't have 'all' the information. In at least one of the samples, it doesn't have the 'very' foreground.
The information the new gear can collect is still subjected to the optics it uses, including the 'array'.

0 upvotes
aleckurgan
By aleckurgan (Oct 20, 2011)

Totally like the idea and the look of the product. But what about the file size? Only 750 images in 16Gb memory means one image is around 23Mb? What happens if one wants to record a video with this techno and at this resolution? I guess new compression algorithms are be required.

0 upvotes
DioCanon
By DioCanon (Oct 20, 2011)

who cares about videos?

5 upvotes
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