If you haven't heard of light-field photography yet, you certainly will now. The Android-powered Lytro Illum is the new camera from Lytro, a company that specializes in image-capture hardware with a very unique ability. These photos can be refocused at any time, even after they are taken. A few years ago, we tried Lytro's pocketable point-and-shoot, but that version is leagues behind the Illum. Lytro is no longer for hobbyists — this new camera could be what elevates light-field photography to a full-fledged professional medium.
Many companies have tried to copy the Lytro effect. Nokia's Refocus App and Google's Camera App are just two of many examples. Apple also may have something in the works. So Lytro is introducing a highly advanced device with tech that apps simply cannot beat.
The magic is in the massive sensor, a 1-inch "40 megaray" four times larger than the sensor in the point-and-shoot Lytro model. If megaray seems like a made-up word, that's because it is. The Lytro technology captures the entire light field instead of a flat 2D image, which translates into a different type of digital imaging number that the company calls "megaray," instead of megapixel.
With any Lytro camera, photographers need only consider the composition, the subject, and the lighting. Focus is a complete afterthought. Illum's 4-inch touchscreen offers full-range focus controls right in the device. The camera also includes desktop software that allows users to change the zoom, depth of field, and perspective after the image has been captured. There's even a feature to make dynamic 3D animations!
If this is a camera that screams "shut up and take my money" to you, it can be yours for a mere $1,600 when the Illum ships in July. A preorder will save you $100.
Interested? Here are the technical details:
- 8x optical zoom, 30-250mm
- f/2.0 aperture
- 4-inch 800x480p adjustable touchscreen
- 1/4000 shutter speed