Lytro CEO confirms exit from consumer photography business, focus on VR
In a recent blog post, Lytro CEO Jason Rosenthal has confirmed that the company is headed out of the consumer imaging business to focus instead on developing a light field virtual reality platform. Rosenthal admits that it was too risky to compete in an established consumer space (that was in decline, no less, thanks to smartphones), and determined the value-add of light field technology to VR would have greater impact. Hence, Lytro has scrapped product development in the consumer camera space.
Says Rosenthal, 'The cold hard fact was that we were competing in an established industry where the product requirements had been firmly cemented in the minds of consumers by much larger more established companies.' He also mentions the rise of smartphones and consumer satisfaction with image quality from them.
And 'while consumer Light Field cameras offered a number of true technological breakthroughs such as interactive 3D pictures, radical lens specs, and the ability to focus a picture after the fact,' the reality was that there was much more investment Lytro would've had to make to its cameras competitive with modern cameras in image quality. Meanwhile, VR companies and Hollywood studios were increasingly asking for light field technology in cinematic and next-gen content. 'We had just raised $50MM in new capital. We didn’t have the resources to both continue building consumer products and invest in VR.'
Accordingly, in November of last year, Lytro announced Immerge, a 360° light field video capture device, just after announcing plans for layoffs as the company shifted direction toward video and VR. The pro-grade Immerge was a confirmation of this change in focus. It's currently only a concept camera (co-designed with Seattle-based design firm Artefact, which also designed the Illum), capable of recording live action VR in what Lytro claims as 'six degrees of freedom' that, if we understand correctly, should allow for multiple perspectives from multiple angles of view, as well as focus and depth-of-field control after-the-fact. This is a clear benefit for VR capture, which aims to capture as much scene content as possible for the viewer to explore in a virtual environment.
The decision to shift the company's focus was not taken lightly. Rosenthal details the anxiety he felt before shifting the company vision, but now says 'My middle of the night panic attacks are gone. I wake with a burning desire to go to work because I am so excited by what we are building and its potential to help shape VR.'
Have a read of Rosenthal's full blog post here. It's quite insightful in laying out some of the considerations Lytro has faced as a company. Some of us here are certainly disappointed that Lytro appears to be completely exiting the consumer camera space, as light field technology had a lot of potential in revolutionizing autofocus, in decoupling depth-of-field and light gathering ability, bringing depth-based image editing to the table, and in radical lens design previously thought impossible, thanks to the ability of light field data to perform certain corrections - even image stabilization and simulating faster apertures - after-the-fact as opposed to optically. And that's just the beginning - every image contained all the information necessary to create 3D images, tilt the image plane, select and customize your depth-of-field (we've extended the DOF for our subject, but kept F1.0 background blur in the example above), or capture multiple perspectives which, when paired with light field displays, could one day make for compelling recreations of scenes. That said, many of these benefits will carry over to Lytro's new direction of focus, and we are very excited to see what Lytro brings to VR and video.
We'll be following closely. And who knows, perhaps some of the R&D that goes into their new products may find their way back into stills-oriented devices in some form or another. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Meyer Optik Görlitz's latest owner is ready to show off its first six lenses, assuming Photokina 2020 doesn't get shuttered before the optics brand has a chance to show off its latest lenses.
Vivo says the new system expands the stabilization angle by 200 percent compared to conventional systems.
At a press conference in Cologne, Germany, Koelnmesse Vice President, Christoph Werner, said ‘At this time, there is no reason to halt a large-scale event like [Photokina 2020],’ according to translated text from DC Watch.
The Fujifilm X-T4 is the company's most video-centric model yet, but omitting a headphone jack on the camera shows that Fujifilm still doesn't understand how video shooters work.
Not much information was given about the app, but what we do know is it will be able to both capture and edit Raw photos, with the ability to sync edits across devices and even to ON1 Photo RAW for macOS and Windows computers.
Nikon's brought the new Z-mount Nikkor 20mm F1.8S, Z 24-200mm F4-6.3 and AF-S 120-300mm F2.8E for F-mount to its booth at the WPPI Expo in Las Vegas. We got an up-close and personal look at them – check them out here.
The lineup includes four tripods, a standalone center column and an optional ball head.
The fact is a spoiler that could ruin the surprise in future movies, but director Rian Johnson is okay with that.
The updated roadmap includes two new prime lenses and is notably absent of the 100mm F2.8 Macro lens compared to Panasonic's previous lens roadmap.
Join fine art photographer Eirik Johnson as he travels the Duwamish River, documenting the sights and scenes of this important waterway with the Fujifilm X-Pro3.
Jeremy, Richard and James of The Grand Tour use a photo expedition in Columbia as a means to poke fun at three different types of photographers you might find out in the wild.
We stopped by the Nikon booth at the 2020 Wedding and Portrait Photography International Expo in Las Vegas to get our first in-person look at the Nikon D6, the company's latest flagship sports DSLR.
DPReview TV used the Fujifilm X-T4 to document some local culture in Alberta, Canada. In this sample gallery you'll get to see cowboys, cowgirls, the novel sport of 'skijoring' and the Calgary Farmer's Market.
Nik Collection version 2.5 brings with it five new color film emulations and support for Serif's Affinity Photo editing program.
Based on the bandage on the drone operator's face, they might want to reconsider going back to a basic drone safety class.
The institution plans to release another 200,000 public domain images later this year.
In addition to improved metadata handling, customizable keyboard shortcuts and more, Affinity Photo can also open and edit Canon CR3 files as of this 1.8 update.
A new budget-priced anamorphic lens from Sirui offers APS-C camera users 1.33x squeeze for 2.4:1 widescreen movies - without the usual expense
We've officially launched our analog forum, a place to discuss film, film cameras and film scanners. Jump on into the discussion!
The Instax Mini 11 is the successor to the Mini 9 and is set to ship in mid-March for an MSRP of $69.96.
Canon's upcoming full-frame mirrorless camera, the R5, is on display at the company's booth at the 2020 Wedding and Portrait Photography International expo in Las Vegas alongside the new RF 100-500mm lens.
The long-rumored and much-anticipated Fujifilm X-T4 has finally landed. While it has much in common with its predecessor, the X-T4 comes with some major changes.
The X-T4 brings image stabilization and a larger battery to the X-T series, but dig a bit deeper and you'll find a host of improvements and tweaks. See what we've discovered in the X-T3's sister model.
The Fujifilm X-T4 makes some big promises, but can it deliver? Chris and Jordan put it to the test and tell us if this is the Fujifilm camera we've all been waiting for.
The sensor inside the new Fujifilm X-T4 is a known quantity – as it's straight from the X-T3 – and that's a good thing, since it's excellent. Check out our pre-production sample gallery to see how the image quality looks on the X-T4.
Fujifilm has announced its latest stills/video hybrid camera, the X-T4. The biggest change is undoubtedly its in-body image stabilization system, but its improved AF system, redesigned shutter and video-related updates are also notable.
Both models feature a wired design for powering them from a wall outlet or other AC power sources.
The project provides an unprecedented look at New York as it existed more than 100 years ago by upscaling, increasing the frame-rate and colorizing century-old video footage.
Mathieu Stern recently discovered a time capsule in his family's home that had a number of 120-year-old glass negatives inside. To bring the images to life, Mathieu developed positive prints from the negatives using the cyanotype process.
The tech could 'significantly' improve compression efficiency and help improve the trust of JPEGs in a world where fake news is an increasing problem.