Photo Essay

Meet the Illum, Lytro's futuristic new light-field camera

Lytro's first camera came out more than two years ago, a kaleidoscope of a device that was a lot of fun to shoot with but not particularly impressive. It let you focus and refocus a shot after you took it, a remarkable party trick that's since been copied and re-branded by every smartphone manufacturer on the planet. But for all the cool things it could do — and it learned to do more over time,...


Lytro changed photography. Now can it get anyone to care?

“Okay, can I take it out of the box now?”

Lytro product director Colvin Pitts wants to show me the camera he’s been working on since 2007. He cautions that it’s just an early model, then gently lifts the stark, black device out of an unmarked box. It looks like a cross between a DSLR and a futuristic weapon. It’s big, with a wide round lens and a large grip, but it weighs less than 2 pounds and is perfectly comfortable in my hands. Its back face is slanted, like someone chopped off part of a larger camera to form this one. Its big, 4-inch touchscreen is glowing. I hold the camera up, point it at the black Sharpie on the table in front of me, and press the shutter. Nothing happens. I press it again. Still nothing.

“Now this is the part where I go back to that caveat at the beginning,” Pitts says. “My camera has frozen in the box.” It’s stuck on the menu screen and won’t budge. The camera, which Todd Roesler, senior director of hardware engineering, quickly swaps for a...

Cameras are just the beginning for Lytro

Gmail now lets you attach photos straight from Google+

It's a little bit easier for Google+ users to start sending their photos through Gmail on the web today. Google has just added a new photo attachment button that allows anyone who stores their photos on Google+, either through direct uploads or automatic backups, to see...

Amazon's updated Cloud Drive Photos app makes it easier to browse your pictures

Amazon is finally giving its Cloud Drive Photos app on iOS the overhaul it so desperately needs. Before today, the app automatically uploaded photos and videos from your camera roll and put them in one massive folder. There was no efficient way to navigate through them; everything was ordered chronologically, but photos weren't split up in any helpful way. Finding the shot you were looking for required scrolling through a massive list. (You're able to create custom albums within Cloud Drive,...

NYC restaurant inspectors would wear cameras under new bill

New York City restaurant inspectors could be wearing a camera later this year when they walk in to grade a restaurant. Legislation introduced to city council yesterday and backed by over 20 sponsors would establish a pilot program to get...

Nikon tries again with Android cameras

Nikon is giving Android point-and-shoots another try. Today it's unveiling the Coolpix S810c, a small camera with Wi-Fi connectivity that runs Android 4.2.2. It's the successor to the S800c — Nikon's first Android camera — and Nikon has made a...

Photo Essay

Help the Smithsonian choose the best mobile photos of the year

Like all good things, beauty is fleeting and often elusive. Being able to capture and preserve it, to bottle up those little moments of aesthetic bliss and share them with the world, has been photography's great gift to the world. Celebrating the art and labor that goes into taking stunning photos, the Smithsonian Magazine has published the shortlist of 60 finalists for its 11th Annual Photo Contest. Broken down into six categories with 10...

ArchitecturePhoto Essay

Drinking coffee inside a two-story camera

Forget Starbucks. A South Korean couple has built a cafe that looks like a classic Rolleiflex twin-lens camera, and they would love to hear your story as you sip down a cup of coffee.

Park Sung-hwan dreamed of becoming a military pilot ever since he was a boy in elementary school. When he informed his family of this ambition, they told him that serving in the armed forces wasn't worth pursuing. Park persevered, joining the army in 2000 and...

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