Remember Lytro? They’re the company that promised to give us a camera that takes refocus-able pictures for an affordable price. Of course, “affordable” is relative and the original press release wasn’t giving up the goods. Well, today emails went out to those who signed up for Lytro’s mailing list allowing priority for pre-orders. The camera’s range from $399 to $499 depending on the storage you want. The 8GB($399) models come in graphite or electric blue and stores 350 photos. The 16GB($499) camera, which more than doubles the photos to 750, comes in red hot. What’s the resolution of these bad boys? 11 Megarays. Yeah, I have no idea how that compares, either. For some other notable details of the camera some thoughts about the design and function, hit the jump.

photo credit: Eric Chang
photo credit: Eric Chang


Well, it’s a pretty rectangular prism made out of aluminum. 4.41″ long and 1.61″ to a side. Camera lens at one end and LCD at the other end. Looks like a cool security camera. I think that’s a good thing.

What a Lytro camera would look like in your hands if you hands looked like this.
What a Lytro camera would look like in your hands if you hands looked like this.


Until someone gets their hands on one (Q1 2012) we won’t know for sure, but this looks to be about as simple to use as it gets. There is a control for zoom—8x optical, in fact—and a shutter control. No auto focus and no flash. Apparently, the camera handles almost all lighting conditions with flying colors.

The fancy insides of the Lytro Light Field Camera.
The fancy insides of the Lytro Light Field Camera.


Well, we don’t know exactly what to expect except that, initially, the camera will only play well with Macs. Yup, 90% of Solidsmack’s audience just quit reading. Well, the rest of you should let them know that a Windows app is on the way. What the software does, though, is still fairly unknown. I imagine that it will allow you to produce regular still images from your Lytro images. There is also a way to embed a Lytro image on a website, Facebook for example, so that your viewers and play the focus game. Cool stuff.

Thoughts and conclusion

This may be the most groundbreaking piece of tech to hit photography since digital cameras, maybe even bigger. It may just be a novelty. The key will come down to a few questions:

  • How will the Lytro photos be able to be utilized outside of a desktop app?
  • What is the comparative resolution of a Lytro image?
  • How well does the camera handle low light? No, really? Be honest.

I referred to the camera as surprisingly affordable. Admittedly, without seeing the results, it’s hard to make the call. But the camera competes with high end point-and-shoots. If the tech is as amazing as claimed, this is affordable. If it’s just a gimmick, it is a pricey one. I look forward to the first reviews and I really look forward to getting my hands on one. In the mean time, if you want more details, check out the source link.

Want to get your hands on one ASAP but didn’t get on the list? Lytro is still happy to take your money.

UPDATE: looks like Engadget got hands-on.

Source: Lytro
Image Credit: Lytro