The Lytro Light Field Camera throws out everything you know about traditional camera design. The oddly-shaped camera is the first to use Light Field Technology, which measures not only the intensity and color but also the direction of light, letting you refocus pictures after the fact. The current camera may not replace anyone's DSLR or even point-and-shoot, but the possibilities it promises are tremendous.
Dec 27, 2012
Toshiba's module, on the other hand, is cube-shaped, uses an array of over 500,000 microlenses in front of a 5 x 7mm sensor, and measures about one centimeter on each side, meaning it should fit into a smartphone — albeit not a particularly thin one. Toshiba's software will combine the images captured by each microlens to give focusing control after the fact, or to create one image where every object is in focus.Read Article >
Though the technology is undeniably cool, we weren't hugely impressed with Lytro's image quality or level of depth of field control in our review. Perhaps having similar functionality in a phone would make the trade-offs easier to swallow, however. Toshiba is reportedly seeking tablet and smartphone manufacturers that could integrate the camera module into their devices, and expects it to be commercialized by the end of fiscal 2013.
Nov 15, 2012
One thing we loved about Lytro from the beginning is that the camera should get better over time — the company has always claimed it's collecting more data than it's using, and over the last six months has been rolling out software updates that add more features to your camera, and even to your existing images. The company announced two new features today, as it gears up for the holiday season: perspective shift and filters.Read Article >
When we saw perspective shift for the first time (a feature we had a hunch was coming to Lytro's cameras), it almost felt impossible. Instead of shifting focus from one spot to another, you can actually move the image around a bit. (Try dragging around this image for an idea of how it works). Not only does the image move, but it's as if you're looking at the same scene from a slightly different angle — reflections on glass change, you see new angles and distances that give the photo a remarkably immersive and three-dimensional feel. There's only so much movement — imagine leaning your head slightly right or left, rather than moving to a completely new spot — but the effect is still pretty remarkable.
Oct 9, 2012
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.Read Article >
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.
Sep 25, 2012
Lytro, the Mountain View-based company that produces the eponymous light field camera, has signed distribution agreements with a number retailers, both in the US and internationally. From October 9th, US customers will be able to purchase the device online from Amazon, Target, and Best Buy, supplementing Lytro's existing online store — it will also be available in Target's CityTarget brick-and-mortar stores in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Westwood, Seattle, and Chicago from November.Read Article >
International availability is more complicated. The company notes that the camera will be available online through Canada's Future Shop on October 9th and in-store in Australia from October 10th, while retail partners in Hong Kong and Singapore will receive the device "starting mid-October." It is not yet clear whether the company has any plans to expand shipping options from its website, which currently only accepts orders from the US.
Jul 24, 2012
Lytro's light field camera is certainly one of the more creative photograph tools we've seen in recent years, but so far Mac users have been the only ones able to process its unique photos. That all changes today — Lytro just released desktop software for Windows so Microsoft users can now download and process images from the camera. Due to Lytro's proprietary file format which lets users shift focus after the image has been taken, standard photo-processing software is useless — having a Windows app opens up a whole new market of potential buyers.Read Article >
Make sure you check the minimum specs before rushing out and buying a Lytro, though — users are required to be running Windows 7 (64-bit edition), have at least a Core 2 Duo processor and 2GB of RAM, and have DirectX 10 installed. If you meet those requirements, feel free to get a taste of the Lytro's take on the future of photography. As an extra bonus, the company is offering free shipping this week for those jumping on board.
Jun 30, 2012Read Article >
Ren Ng, creator and CEO of light field camera maker Lytro, has announced that he will be stepping down and taking on a new role as the company's Executive Chairman. Detailed in a blog post on the company's website, Ng says he will shift his focus from day-to-day operations to a more product development and strategy-centric position. While the company has not named a permanent replacement, the company's current Executive Chairman Charles Chi will be taking the helm as interim CEO. While no further explanation was provided for the reorganization, Ng says that the shift will allow him to focus on areas where he is "most passionate."
Jun 13, 2012Read Article >
We recently covered Twitter's roll out of what it calls "expanded tweets," and now you can add Lytro's interactive images to the list of supported embedded content. This means that images taken with the light field camera can have their focal point, or depth of field, adjusted right from your Twitter stream rather than following a link out to Lytro's photo sharing site. Be patient, though, because this feature "begins rolling out today," so it might take a bit of time for it to take effect for everyone.
Feb 29, 2012Read Article >
There are a few easy ways to make a digital camera better: make the sensor bigger, improve the quality of the lens, speed up the processor. But those are incremental improvements on a basic technology that hasnât changed much in a long time. Lytro scrapped all that and built the self-titled Lytro camera, a digital camera that neither looks nor operates like any camera youâve ever seen: it measures megarays instead of megapixels, captures light fields instead of light, and lets you focus your pictures after youâve taken them. The company promises more impressive, more malleable, and more useful pictures than youâve ever gotten from a camera before. Weâve been following the Lytro since its inception, and thereâs absolutely no doubt that the camera represents a huge technological achievement, but will you be ditching your DSLR for a Lytro, or even your point-and-shoot? Read the full review to find out.
Feb 9, 2012
The Lytro Light Field Camera has made its way through the FCC testing process, and during its disassembly revealed a surprise along the way — the camera has a Marvell Avastar 88 W8787 SoC capable of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity inside. We'd not heard anything about wireless options from Lytro before now, but the chip's inclusion opens up a number of possibilities, including wireless transfer of photos or remote control of the camera from your smartphone or PC. It's possible that Lytro only plans to enable Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, but we can't tell since they're both on the same SoC — a common way to deploy wireless on mobile devices. However, its inclusion at least gives Lytro the option of using the networking in future.Read Article >
Besides the wireless radios, the FCC's teardown process gives us a chance to see that 11-megaray sensor close-up, which takes up around a quarter of the camera's tiny profile, along with the fairly chunky 2100mAh battery and a Zoran processor.
Jan 24, 2012
There's a lot of buzz today about how Lytro's shoot-first, focus-afterwards camera technology could appear in a new Apple iPhone, and while there hasn't been any confirmation of that idea, a new nonfiction book, Inside Apple, revealed that Steve Jobs did indeed meet with Lytro CEO Ren Ng and discuss how the two companies could work together in the future. Here's the relevant excerpt:Read Article >
The company's CEO, Ren Ng, a brilliant computer scientist with a PhD from Stanford, immediately called Jobs, who picked up the phone and quickly said, 'if you’re free this afternoon maybe we would could get together.' Ng, who is 32, hurried to Palo Alto, showed Jobs a demo of Lytro's technology, discussed cameras and product design with him, and, at Jobs's request, agreed to send him an email outlining three things he'd like Lytro to do with Apple.Right now, Lytro's first camera features an "11-megaray" sensor and microlens array inside a small flashlight-like case (see the microlens on video right here), but those components would need to be shrunk quite a bit further to appear in a standard Apple device. Lytro has publicly discussed future possibilities, though: director of photography Eric Cheng told us there was nothing stopping Lytro from building a video camera, and executive chairman Charles Chi actually spoke to the cellphone camera sensor market specifically in an interview with PCWorld.
Jan 12, 2012Read Article >
Alright, the Lytro light field camera technology is pretty impressive and emergent all by itself (it will be shipping in about a month), but I can't help wondering what's next: what about video? Eric Cheng, the Director of Photography at Lytro, was surprisingly forthcoming. Without promising any products in the pipeline, he described the exact technical requirements, and the exact technical feasibility. What's really interesting, and was helpful in me actually understanding how Lytro works, is that it's like a 3D rendering engine in reverse. Instead of tracking a point of light from an object to a virtual camera, Lytro takes the information it has from its sensor on a multitude of light rays and extrapolates the scene from that. Outside of video, and the existing focus-shifting technology (which we demonstrated on our very first On The Verge), the applications for Lytro's technology are pretty much limitless, and I'm excited to see where it goes next.
Oct 19, 2011
What if you had a camera whose images could be re-focused minutes, days or years after the shot, or viewed in 3D? That's what a company called Lytro promises you'll get in these tiny little boxes for just $399. This is a Lytro light field camera, and its anodized aluminum and silicone skin hides an engineering feat -- a proprietary sensor that the firm claims can capture 11 million rays of light instantly. That's paired to an 8x zoom lens with an f/2 aperture and eleven elements, plus a glass touchscreen around back, which allows you to touch any portion of the image to refocus on that part of the scene.Read Article >