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Lytro adds manual controls as its camera hits stores worldwide

Lytro adds manual controls as its camera hits stores worldwide

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The futuristic light-field Lytro camera is finally hitting store shelves today, and to mark the occasion the camera's getting a big update as well. So the company's added the ability to control shutter speed and ISO into the equation, plus the ability to lock exposure and toggle a Neutral Density filter. When we spoke with Eric Cheng, Lytro's director of photography, he told us the biggest request he's gotten from users is for more control so more experienced shooters can get the exact shot they want — these updates don't create a totally manual experience, but they're a step in the right direction.

Lytro's always been reluctant to give users too much control — the more settings you change, the harder it can be to achieve the wild focus-shifting effect in your photos — but along with Creative Mode, the new settings should let photographers do a lot more. Shutter speed can go as high as 1/250th of a second or as low as 8 seconds, so while you won't get great action shots you should be able to do more in low light or with long exposures. ISO can go from 80 to 3200, though shots we took didn't look great at the highest settings.

As with most of its updates, the new Lytro controls will also be available to people who already bought the camera — the software-based upgrade path is one of the camera's best features. Also in stores today are a new teal-colored "Seaglass" model, plus a "Moxie Pink" version that is... pink. There are also a few new accessories, like a $59.95 canvas cover and a $29.95 canvas sleeve for protecting the Lytro. The company's pushing hard to get some mainstream adoption, even though the market for a wacky $399 camera still seems pretty limited.