Lytro light-field camera reviewed

At The Verge, David Piece reviews Lytro, the camera that allows photos to be refocused after taking a shot. Explained in-depth at The Economist by Glenn Fleishman, it gathers data for all focal lengths with each snapshot. But as Pierce learned, there are compromises in store.


  1. I’m waiting for the camera that captures all possible timelines for whatever you photograph – like, you take a picture of Big Ben and it has a Soviet flag flying from it or something.

  2. You got yerself a nice little short story there. Or an alibi. Oooh… or the maddening jealousy of seeing one’s wife in such a photo happy with the family she’d have had with a hated nemesis. Or the stalky obsession after seeing the one who got away, had she instead returned the feelings… 

  3. “If you’d rather use your images some other way, you can export a JPG with the focus you choose; the resulting JPG’s resolution is 1080 x 1080”

    So we have a camera that takes pictures that can’t be printed and look decent as a 4×6…

    Kind of reminds me of smartphones, good at a lot of things, just not always being a phone.

  4. I’ll never understand these reviews.  He gives it an 8 for design and a 6 for controls, when he excoriates them in the review.  Unconfortable to hold, hard to steady, takes too long to zoom, accidental zooming, hard to find controls.

    What does it take to get an “average” 5 ?!?!

  5. Good detailed hands-on review on DPR about this puppy:

    The limitations on displaying the photos are a bummer, they need to get that API out there and perhaps some more development options and you have yourself a neat novelty camera. Resolution is not great for printing but uh, how can you print all those layers anyways? Could have fun applications on exhibit kiosks, museum displays, etc.

  6. So, an array of pinhole cameras, each with a bunch of pixels.  Sixteen megapixels of data to get a 90kp image.  Much more impressive than bracketing a series of 175 images, all at different exposure times, focus, etc.   But then again, I might be jaded, because I’ve worked in the field of photography for a few decades…

    I’ve read the paper when it was initially announced.   It’s a little less than the sum of its parts. 

    “It gathers data for all focal lengths with each snapshot” is kind of meaningless.  I really don’t know, but I suspect David Pierce is more familiar with computers than with  optics and how cameras have worked for more than a century.

    That, and:
    1) the link to the economist points to a boingboing article;
    2) I’ve never come across an ‘in-depth’ article on anything in The Economist. I used to read it regularly, then I gave up. It was like eating unsalted, oil-free, flavourless potato chips.

  7. Yes, never mind that it is fundamentally different from any other camera you have ever seen, please spend several minutes telling the world about how they didn’t shape it the way you would have liked and that the screen is too small.

    And if you want a model for a “real” camera, Google “Nikon F”.


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