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Lytro's Ren Ng steps down as CEO to 'focus on product vision'

By dpreview staff on Jun 29, 2012 at 21:57 GMT

Lytro's founder Ren Ng has stepped down as CEO to focus on 'product vision, technology, and strategic direction for the company' in his new role as Executive Chairmen. The innovative California-based company was formed by Ng in 2006, and earlier this year released its first product, the Lytro light field camera. In a blog post on the company's website, Ng makes it clear that he will remain on staff as a full-time employee, '100% focussed on Lytro'. In the meantime, an interim CEO - former Executive Chairman Charles Chi - has been appointed ahead of a full-time replacement for Ng. 

Former Lytro CEO Ren Ng (right) speaking to dpreview last year about the Lytro Light Field Camera. You can read the interview here. We reviewed the Lytro camera earlier this year. 
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Comments

Total comments: 75
Oahu Kamaaina
By Oahu Kamaaina (Jul 4, 2012)

Here's an interesting link about the Dycam Model 1 digital camera released in 1990. It had 320x 240 resolution, held 32 pictures, fixed focus lens, and cost $995. [That's 1990 dollars]

http://www.cameracuriosities.com/2012_02_01_archive.html

I'm sure there were lots of comments by film photographers putting down the new technology then, similar to the comments in this blog. The Lytro camera may well fail, it's largely a proof of concept, but I'm surprised that the photographers who don't buy one aren't at least cheering their innovation rather than dissing their attempt to improve the technology.

Comment edited 22 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (Jul 5, 2012)

There is one difference. The Dycam was a camera. Just a camera. The Lytro is something else. Its like the lenticular cameras. Or the panoramic cameras. Or stereo cameras. Its a special thing. And - this special thing needs lots of pixels. Its not interesting really until we have at least one giga pixels.

So - maybe you are right. But - I dont think so.

0 upvotes
Oahu Kamaaina
By Oahu Kamaaina (Jul 7, 2012)

I guess we agree to disagree, Roland. I find mine very interesting.
You're correct, it /is/ a special thing; it's not intended to replace a traditional camera or a movie camera, so I think people who grouse about it seem to miss the point. They're judging a new technology against a relatively mature technology and they're not comparable devices. The Lytro is a one-trick pony but it's a trick that no other consumer camera does.
I've had more "fun" with my Lytro camera than I can recall with my other more expensive cameras. It's certainly not an easy camera to take good images with, but that's part of the challenge and enjoyment.
It seems clear to me (as a user) that many of the comments here are either just snide put downs or factually incorrect, or both, but it is difficult to comment intelligently when one has never actually touched the camera.
Your "more would be better" argument is certainly valid, as it often is.
Thanks for your comment; I think we agree more than we disagree.

Comment edited 52 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (Jul 8, 2012)

I think you've nailed the problem.

"The Lytro is a one-trick pony but it's a trick that no other consumer camera does."

Now, from your comments, it is apparent that you enjoy this one trick. From the lack of positive comments here, and all over the net, it appears that you are part of a very, very small crowd.

1990s digital cameras filled a need that was pretty plain to see, even back then. There were already reporters who came to news events with a van that had a developing system, scanner, and transmitter so that they could get images back to the paper quickly. Those people adopted $40,000 Kodak DCS-100 and 200 units, because they filled a need. Kodak had trouble keeping up with orders.

Heck, Ansel Adams saw something in a lab in 1978 that wasn't even portable, and he said it was the future.

Right now, Lytro appears to have fizzled. Sales are practically non-existent. Look at eBay. I checked yesterday, 10 low-usage Lytros for sale. People get tired of the one trick, quick.

0 upvotes
Oahu Kamaaina
By Oahu Kamaaina (Jul 8, 2012)

Perhaps I should have clarified my comment but I was fighting the text limit. The "one trick" Lytro does is to take a huge amount of data that can be mined to make refocusable images, 3D images, and all-in-focus images after the fact. These have been demonstrated already. I think that's /incredibly/ impressive for a consumer product, apparently you don't. That's o.k.

I checked the web for Lytro sales figures and can find nothing so if you have some information why Lytro has "fizzled", please share it.

As I said earlier, part of the appeal of the camera to me is that it's not particularly easy to take good refocusable images. so I'm not surprised 10 are on eBay. [There are also 331 hits for the Leica R4 on eBay, if that's your criterion.]

Lytro may well fail; startups usually do. But as I said earlier, "I'm surprised that the photographers who don't buy one aren't at least cheering their innovation rather than dissing their attempt to improve the technology."

Comment edited 44 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (Jul 11, 2012)

That is not "clarifying". You're either being deliberately deceptive or innocently incorrect. I'll assume the second for the time being.

The Lytro takes a rather small amount of data, less than a typical P&S. It destroys over half of the 11mp that it actually gathers. (without moving to a hexagonal array sensor, a square grid sampling of a circular light field loses 30%, and their lack of proper AA corrupts at least an additional 25%. I've analyzed some Lytro files).

Sales figures can be estimated by the number of people you can locate using the product. You simply use the ratio of observed users to sold product for products you can get sales figures for.

Best estimate, they've sold under 1000 units.

0 upvotes
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (Jul 11, 2012)

"But as I said earlier, "I'm surprised that the photographers who don't buy one aren't at least cheering their innovation rather than dissing their attempt to improve the technology.""

Why are you surprised about that? How can there be "cheering for their innovation" when there is no "innovation" to begin with? You summed it up yourself. After debunking the part about "a huge amount of data" and the part about "3D images" (because it doesn't have the stereobase to solve the occlusion problem) and the part about "all-in-focus images" (It does, after all, have a focus system), you're right back to your original statement, it's a "one trick pony". The one trick is "to make refocusable images", and the paucity of those in the wild shows that there is little demand for that one trick.

0 upvotes
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (Jul 11, 2012)

"There are also 331 hits for the Leica R4 on eBay, if that's your criterion."

No, it's not. There are 10 Lytro cameras for sale, and my criterion is that this is high, for a camera that has so few units produced, over such a short time.

Of those "331 hits for the Leica R4" in your attempt at diversion, about 40 are for cameras, and some of those are collectables, like the gold-plated versions. Most of the hits are for brochures. 40 cameras isn't many hits for 1.6 million units produced over a 7 year period. Especially when the camera has been out of production for a quarter of a century and the only way to get one is on the used market (eBay, KEH, camera shows, etc).

0 upvotes
Oahu Kamaaina
By Oahu Kamaaina (Jul 14, 2012)

Wow, I rarely am called deceptive.

I just looked at the Lytro files in my Lytro library. Each file image data consists of two files, one is consistently 16.1 MB and the other varies in size, but the total varies from 17.3 MB to 17.9 MB for each image. That's not a "rather small amount of data." From these one can extract several different JPGs and a depth map for showing them on the Lytro website, or all-in-focus and 3D images. If you print one JPG you're not throwing away data, you're only using part of what can be extracted.

Lytro has demonstrated 3D images (if you care to search the web) and others have demonstrated all-in-focus images (if you care to search).

Thank you for revealing that your "fizzled" remark is based on your own guess of Lytro production figures.

I joined this discussion thinking I could learn and share information with other Lytro owners or interested people, but I was wrong. Much of what I've read is factually incorrect or just yelling to be heard.

0 upvotes
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (Jul 17, 2012)

17 megs is a small amount of data. Most P&S with raw capability produce more.

And again, the Lytro 3D demonstrations are highly contrived, as you'd see, if you cared to search. Single lens 3D techniques do not solve the occlusion problem, as you'd also see, if you cared to search.

No one has demonstrated "all in focus images", and yes, I've searched more than you have, or ever will, because facts would spoil your enjoyment of your cult.

"I joined this discussion thinking I could learn and share information with other Lytro owners"

Now, you know that's not true. All your posts have been defensive, and, as I correctly assessed, deceptive.

0 upvotes
wilsonlaidlaw
By wilsonlaidlaw (Jul 3, 2012)

The whole thing sounds a bit like the Minox digital spy camera, which being a Minox enthusiast I bought. They are both silly toys and totally useless for taking photographs. 128 x 128 display - give me a break. Another few million dollars and a couple of years development and then introduce it to the market would have been more sensible. I am afraid they may have blown it by releasing prematurely.

Wilson

0 upvotes
Pentax_Prime
By Pentax_Prime (Jul 3, 2012)

Anyone notice that this is the only site that 'updates' you on 'Lytro'? (A company that has never actually released a product - nor made any sort of actual business sense.) Is this company Amazon owned or what?

0 upvotes
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (Jul 8, 2012)

Actually, Lytros aren't available on Amazon, they only do direct sales. But they most definitely have been released. A local photographer has one and loaned it to me for a couple of days. I was not impressed. They've been around long enough for a few owners to get tired of them: there are currently 10 of them on eBay.

http://www.ebay.com/sch/?_nkw=lytro

I will grant you the "nor made any sort of actual business sense" part. I've been saying that about Ng for years.

0 upvotes
Oahu Kamaaina
By Oahu Kamaaina (Jul 8, 2012)

Re "(A company that has never actually released a product - nor made any sort of actual business sense.)"

This is factually incorrect. They are a $50 Million company that makes and sells consumer light-field cameras to a long waiting list.

Dr Ng built this company in six years out of his award winning Stanford Dissertation and has several technical experts in the field on his advisory board. If you're going to disparage someone's technical ability or business acumen, perhaps there are better choices than Dr. Ng.

0 upvotes
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (Jul 11, 2012)

You can't locate production figures, but you know the size of their waiting list?

"Dr Ng built this company in six years out of his award winning Stanford Dissertation"

An award winning dissertation is not a required ingredient for a successful company. I know someone who won an award for their dissertation in linguistics. It was about the variations in the articulation of consonants, based on analysis of modern speech recordings and early gramaphone recordings. (I helped with the math. I'm cited in more than one dissertation).

0 upvotes
Oahu Kamaaina
By Oahu Kamaaina (Jul 14, 2012)

And I've published a dissertation.
It would have been interesting to have a civil discussion and occasional disagreement with you, but clearly that's impossible.
I'm done here.

0 upvotes
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (Jul 17, 2012)

Oh, if only it were so.

0 upvotes
camera pics
By camera pics (Jul 2, 2012)

this already work on mobile phones and tablets.
I have seen it.
A guy from linx imagin showed it in WMC.

Look amazing
Good luck to them and please start selling your app

1 upvote
BitFarmer
By BitFarmer (Jul 2, 2012)

I think lytros cams wont shell well the way the work now, just like a "toy camera". I guess it would be a lot more applealing to photographers this other way:

1) Make a lytro cam that fits on your DSLR flash shoe, so when you shoot the main camera, the lytro one also captures one.

2) Make lytro software a photoshop plugin so you can selectively defocus your main image (from DSLR) using the lytro deep info, or refocus your image by using a different USM radius on each pixel according to the lytro's data, or fill you defocused background filling it with some of the lytro info.

I think that refocusing the lytro target -hey, nice wording- as a "powerful DSLR helper" for focusing or defocusing your conventional image would make a lot more sense to some photographers like me... and if you detach it from your DSLR you get a standard lytro cam to "play with".

If lytro's guys read this, something I would bet on, take this into consideration, may be it is a good idea after all!

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
nicolaiecostel
By nicolaiecostel (Jul 2, 2012)

As a trained engineer and a photography enthusiast, I was puzzled at first, when the camera was announced, I couldn't figure out the principles. I thought it was a joke, a scam to get inverstors money involved and to get noticed. Like tweety bird saying "I thought I saw a Pussy Cat". When the camera was launched and I saw a mini review on Digitalrev, and sample images on the internet, I was like "I did! I did saw a pussy-cat!"

0 upvotes
love_them_all
By love_them_all (Jul 1, 2012)

The VC was just too optimistic and got hyped by the product concept. Although the product works, so to speak, the market does not response well. So the easy way out is to sell it to some giant tech co like Apple or Samsung. Let them find a way to put the Lytro into the next phone or tablet.

I bet Ng was not too happy about having to sell the company but instead got ousted as the CEO. The replacement probably share more or less the same view as the VC.

1 upvote
mike051051
By mike051051 (Jul 1, 2012)

I suppose I'm just too jaded after being in digital cameras for 17 years, but I see this as a 21st century version of snake oil. Camera takes a bunch of pictures, not very well but quickly; online software to display the "focus planes" looks a lot like Helicon Focus in a different wrapper; CEO and Executive Chairman swap places, possibly to see if Chi can do a better job raising working capital than Ng did; etc., etc., etc.
I'm just sayin'

2 upvotes
Krilnon
By Krilnon (Jul 1, 2012)

It technically only takes one picture… the result is just interpreted differently. Here's a partially-contrived view of what the sensor captures: http://www.flickr.com/photos/corbyz/7005487993/sizes/k/in/photostream/

0 upvotes
chadley_chad
By chadley_chad (Jun 30, 2012)

There were rumours Steve Jobs was keen to get involved. I think this brand needs someone like Apple to make it succeed. Anyone else will just f**k it up (IMO) - only Apple have the vision and capability to take this thing and create the defining camera ... as they did with the iPod, iMac, iPad etc. As much as you might hate Apple, you have to admit, they know how to make a product! Lets hope soon they turn their hand to the camera market (and what better start than Lytro!)

NB if the Lytro was half the price I'd buy one despite the limitations ... you know us camera buffs, we'll try most new photographic technologies just for the hell of it!

1 upvote
forpetessake
By forpetessake (Jun 30, 2012)

Even with the help of Apple hype machine this stupid thing would never fly.

2 upvotes
DWare
By DWare (Jul 1, 2012)

If Jobs was alive, you may be right. However, with Steve unfortunate departure, Apple is on borrowed time. I'm guessing 10yrs tops. If Apple bought Lytro today, it would continue to flounder.

0 upvotes
chadley_chad
By chadley_chad (Jul 1, 2012)

Forpetessake

It needs development yes, but To call this 'stupid' clearly shows your total lack of understanding as far as the product, the technology and potential applications. I'm quite sure we'll be seeing a lot more of this over the next few years ... The ability to change focus points is surely a nirvana for most photographers (although I understand part of the fun of photography is capturing the right shot!).

As for Jobs; he was a bit of a bully .... and surely much of Appes success also comes down to people like Ives. He was a good figurehead but Apple creates as a team! I'd also like to add, jobs was instrumental in alienating a lot of early adopters (like myself) as he turned the business into a money focused one before development and true innovation (Apple these days is to retail centric!). I'm sure without jobs Apple will do well .... Maybe even better ... It was the products that made Apple, not jobs, and others are I'm sure just as visionary!

2 upvotes
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (Jul 2, 2012)

I wouldn't characterize the technology as "stupid", but that might be an appropriate, if rude, word for the current attempts to market it.

It delivers the ability to refocus at a terrible penalty in resolution and low light ability. It's a product without a clear purpose. Once you "explore focus" in a couple of images, you're done.

1 upvote
DWare
By DWare (Jul 5, 2012)

Interesting perspective C_C. My limited view is from the close death of Apple before Jobs was brought back and from his vision of bringing in non-tech, artist, which was heavily fought by the Board, to redefine the Mac image. What he did was brilliant. Without him, I sense a returning decline ... but I don't have your inside knowledge.

In any regards, I believe the technology and potential of Lytro is enormous. I don't know if the originating company will survive but I'm sure this technology will develop.

0 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (Jul 5, 2012)

@DWare - enormous? Hmmmmmm ... there is something appealing with the idea behind the technology. A camera that dont need to be correctly focussed. It is very common for most of us to miss the focus slightly. Its on the nose when it should be at the right eye. Just fix it! But - as the demo shows - this does not really work. The change of focus is quite crude. You can choose if the person or the car in the background is in focus. Oops ... that can I do easily at the time when I take the image - no probs.

But ... if you could develop the technology to do just what I said - doing fine adjustments of shallow DOF focus - with high resolution images. Then I am all for it.

Is that likely to happen? Hmmm ... dont know ... I guess not in the near future. And ... when it happens, then we will probably want to use the multi gigapixel sensor of to something else. Because Lytro is still a HUGE waste of resources.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (Jun 30, 2012)

They are not doing well - and I am not surprised. It is by far too early to make such a product. When small sensors hit 200 MP, we can start talking. And when they hit 1 GP it get really interesting.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
anon1
By anon1 (Jul 9, 2012)

Just because a CEO steps aside, does not mean a company isn't doing well. They have been very transparant as to what's going on. The company is in fact, growing, and the daily business of running it was not where Ren felt his energy was best spent. He is simply refocusing (pun intended) on the product, tech + design. They have some of the best investors in the business and you should probably start looking at this as the first generation Lytro with more to come. The first iPod doesn't look so hot if you look back at it now.

0 upvotes
tinternaut
By tinternaut (Jun 30, 2012)

This is perfectly normal for a tech company. Geek starts up tech company, investors invest in tech company and investors oust geek for someone with an MBA. Nothing to see here.

0 upvotes
forpetessake
By forpetessake (Jun 30, 2012)

It doesn't work that way. Geeks with pitching skills find investors with no clue. The latter seek the opinions of the "experts" with experience. As it often happens the "experts" miss something important or investors neglect their advice and take too large a risk. Somebody with bad judgement but a lot of power can override any technical decisions. The result is a company with no chances to succeed. It's rare for investors to remove the founder, they either set the CEO from the beginning, or let the founder run the company. I don't think the Ng failed the company, it's the product idea that failed the company. What happened now means that the company is probably has less than a year to live, after which investors will sell the assets and take the losses.

1 upvote
solarsky
By solarsky (Jun 30, 2012)

Sigma should buy out Lytro and team them up with Foveon for the development of Sigma's sensor- & camera technology. Perhaps they'll both get their respective breakthroughs that way... defenitely up for a few milestones though ;-)

1 upvote
fergz
By fergz (Jun 30, 2012)

Yes! The Lytroveon sensor! Capable of capturing 75 giga light-rays (600 x 400 px jpgs, but very sharp with everything in focus), initially released in a body that looks like a weird bedside lamp (with a sigma mount) and costing $75,000. Later repackaged as a $7.50 attachment for a wristwatch.

6 upvotes
forpetessake
By forpetessake (Jun 30, 2012)

That's right, Sigma has a good track record of burrying non-viable ideas.

2 upvotes
solarsky
By solarsky (Jul 1, 2012)

@fergz&@rofpetessake: Yeah... ya sheissters... ;-)

1 upvote
semorg
By semorg (Jun 30, 2012)

This should not be surprising. The investors probably have forced him out as the company is not doing well.

1 upvote
anon1
By anon1 (Jul 9, 2012)

Where do you get your info? The company is rapidly expanding, and I know this first hand. Ren was not "forced out", he stepped aside as the day to day of running a business was getting to be more than what he wanted. You can read that anywhere. His interest is in the product + technology -- which is how he developed Lytro to begin with.

0 upvotes
jsandjs
By jsandjs (Jun 30, 2012)

Lytro is looking for a CEO and, that's all.

1 upvote
Michael Ma
By Michael Ma (Jun 30, 2012)

I think the technology is still in it's infancy. Too gimmicky, not for serious or even semi-serious photography. However, I think it is the start to something that may grow into something great as technology and innovation improves.

0 upvotes
forpetessake
By forpetessake (Jun 30, 2012)

Despite the belief that Lytro sensor captures everything in focus, it captures practically nothing in focus. Anybody who used manual focusing knows that to achieve critical focus one has to be precise within millimeters from the target, or microns from the sensor. With crude system of microlenses it would be impossible to have anything useful in focus only a handful of focal planes. What saves the camera is that its resolution is so low that the lack of focus isn't noticed. That means that even if the camera used gigapixel sensor, it would still had to keep resolution low and instead increase the number of focal planes or face the lack of focus practically everywhere. This idea cannot become practical no matter what.

3 upvotes
NarrBL
By NarrBL (Jun 30, 2012)

You clearly haven't yet grasped how the Lyttro camera works.

Here's a good paper on it - with a lot of addressing of your microns, and with nicely visible examples.

http://graphics.stanford.edu/papers/lfcamera/lfcamera-150dpi.pdf

1 upvote
forpetessake
By forpetessake (Jun 30, 2012)

Nope, everything is correct, and that article only confirms it. People expect around 5 micron circle of confusion in their APS-C cameras for what is in focus, and with that nothing ever can be made in focus by litra camera. Low resolution toy is what they got and that's what it will always be.

2 upvotes
VadymA
By VadymA (Jun 30, 2012)

I learned who Steve Jobs was years after I knew what a great product Mac was. This guy is like the opposite, there are more knews about him than about his product. It's a bit irritating...

0 upvotes
neroangelo
By neroangelo (Jul 1, 2012)

Seriously? How old are you? The geeks who used Apple II's knew who he was. He was in a few magazines with Steve Wozniak in the early '80's and on...I don't like Apple or Jobs work ethics but he certainly knew how to promote the company,the product and himself!

0 upvotes
Nate21
By Nate21 (Jun 30, 2012)

Item would work well with better marketing the lytro concept should work well for security systems and ac drones. Only time will tell.

2 upvotes
Nishi Drew
By Nishi Drew (Jun 30, 2012)

Though, users of security systems and drones rarely have to worry about shallow DOF. Wide angle lenses with small sensors don't need much focusing, especially from distance

1 upvote
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (Jun 30, 2012)

Why should it work well in those applications?

1 upvote
forpetessake
By forpetessake (Jun 30, 2012)

Yes, they should release half-litra for $200 and quarter-litra $100 for all those security blurry cams. Oh, wait, it looks like the existing low res cams have almost infinite DOF and cost less than quarter-litra. Tough!

1 upvote
sesopenko
By sesopenko (Jun 30, 2012)

Great product, botched marketing campaign. The whole "we have to catch the social media bandwagon" attitude they had was very misinformed and you could tell from the adoption rate. I think shareholders were expecting something like this being announced.

1 upvote
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (Jul 2, 2012)

Aside from social media, what is the market for this thing? What real-world problem is it actually going to solve?

1 upvote
AlanG
By AlanG (Jul 2, 2012)

I agree with you completely plus many people will simply find their cell phone camera makes better images and is much more convenient.

I think the technology does have promise for some kinds of much more sophisticated cameras in the future but what those cameras will be and how useful is anyone's guess at this time.

0 upvotes
D©P Images
By D©P Images (Jun 30, 2012)

Wonderful concept. The negative comments surprise me. Sound almost word for word what they were saying about film versus digital not so long ago. Give the guy a chance!

6 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (Jun 30, 2012)

Yes, wonderful concept. Some years premature though. A Lytro camera needs approx. 100 times more detectors than a normal camera. Where shall they get that sensor? And the day such sensors exists? Maybe someone else has a better idea how to use them. I would say Lytro has a really difficult task.

1 upvote
John Koch
By John Koch (Jun 30, 2012)

Ng is a brilliant guy who will go far, despite the fact that plenoptic cameras may not fly. Some have observed that this is no time to launch a single function tool at all. Cameras are at risk in general. Even smart phone companies like Nokia can't make money. This may be the moment to scotch all traditional product concepts. Ng might be precisely the sort of person with sufficient brilliance to do precisely that. If not, he might write great sci fi screenplays. Jules Verne, move aside.

0 upvotes
LFLee
By LFLee (Jun 30, 2012)

This technology will eventually integrate into future camera phones. If they license it to cell phone company instead of creating a whole camera they will survive. I can also see this technology be useful if it somehow manage to transfer the tech with existing small video cam, like the gopro.

0 upvotes
camera pics
By camera pics (Jul 2, 2012)

The tech for refocusing on phones already is out there. I saw it in 2012 in barcelona on a Samsung tablet. the guy was from a company called linx imaging. I cant wait to have their camera on my iPad.

0 upvotes
Jogger
By Jogger (Jun 30, 2012)

If they went with a conventional design rather than a stupid gimmick, it would have been more user friendly and people wouldnt be freaked out about it.

4 upvotes
NarrBL
By NarrBL (Jun 30, 2012)

Amazing how the new frightens. But the ideas about this kind of camera are documented back to 1908. It's just taken this long for a technical approach to become possible.

http://graphics.stanford.edu/papers/lfcamera/lfcamera-150dpi.pdf

1 upvote
tonywong
By tonywong (Jun 29, 2012)

I think Lytro was just too ambitious...trying to make and sell a camera in this day and age is akin to committing suicide slowly.

Making the product is one thing, but getting it made, marketing, warehousing and distributing it are another world entirely.

Also duking it out with Nikon, Canon, Sony and every other vendor for shelf space across every market is really tough.

They should have licensed their technology because I think it is just a one-trick pony. Does not a camera (and company) make.

1 upvote
BJN
By BJN (Jun 29, 2012)

I wish Ng and Lytro well. Real innovation is rare enough. I suspect the profitable uses for light field photography won't be in the consumer market - at least not at this stage of development. There have got to be some potentially profitable uses for the tech in other markets.

4 upvotes
intensity studios
By intensity studios (Jun 29, 2012)

Dude what is the point of these cameras?

If you are willing to spend $400 on a camera, you value your photography. If you value your photography, you make sure to get the shot in focus BEFORE you shoot it.

Why would I buy this weird looking thing?

3 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Jun 30, 2012)

So you're saying that every shot you'd want focused at-on a certain plane of focus is shot exactly the way you want? You're just the most amazing technical photographer then.

(NB: IRONY)

2 upvotes
intensity studios
By intensity studios (Jul 2, 2012)

yes, I pay attention to what I am doing. So 99% of my shots are in focus.

0 upvotes
lemming2008
By lemming2008 (Jul 11, 2012)

If you interpret plenoptics just as a way to post-fix focus, I feel you're missing the point. You can do things no other camera could in one exposure, like have multiple focal planes (or a focal plane not perpendicular to the lens). Many unique creative options to play with, once the tools catch up.

0 upvotes
HBowman
By HBowman (Jun 29, 2012)

Lol I almost forgot about this techno. Are they alive yet ?? :D

3 upvotes
forpetessake
By forpetessake (Jun 29, 2012)

Looks like investors are getting nervous. I think their fears are justified, the ROI with this company might end up be negative. On the other hand they deserve what they got, who in his sober mind would invest in a $400 toy camera idea with no perspectives of making it significantly cheaper or better?

5 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Jun 30, 2012)

It could be made better.

How much did a cheap digital camera cost in the year 2000 again?

1 upvote
J Birn
By J Birn (Jun 29, 2012)

The ideas behind the product (computational photography in general and light field capture in particular) are more interesting than the first product itself. Even if they never make a competitive product, at least they are building a collection of patents that could pay-off as other companies eventually adopt parts of what they first brought to market. I can't wait for the day when depth is captured along with every image, so foreground and background can be adjusted separately in Lightroom, for example.

10 upvotes
Doug Frost
By Doug Frost (Jun 29, 2012)

Maybe now he'll invent a camera that's more than just a $400 toy.

4 upvotes
Tom Arto
By Tom Arto (Jun 29, 2012)

My sentiments too, Doug and I can't see this gimmick being any more successful than Clive Sinclair's C5!

3 upvotes
zigi_S
By zigi_S (Jul 1, 2012)

When you do something even close to what he did, I'm sure your opinion will be considered as something more than just a troll diarhea. Till then, please clean that up..

1 upvote
tkbslc
By tkbslc (Jun 29, 2012)

It's hard to run a business and still have energy left for creativity and engineering, so I don't blame him.

6 upvotes
Total comments: 75