Lytro Light Field Digital Cameras & BONUS

At first I thought this was one of those fingernail painting items from the Fifth Element and was about to buy one but then I realized it was just a camera.

Me too.

I really want Lytro’s next camera.

I still cannot figure out for love nor money what these do, besides take, uh, digital photographs. I looked at the “examples” they posted on their web page and… wait for it… wait for it… it looked exactly like a bunch of really nice photos taken with a digital camera. Wow, I mean… photos taken with digital cameras. How, uh, revolutionary. It’s like we’re living in the 21st century or something… (hmmm, come to think of it…)

So the schtick with these guys is that it’s light-field capture allows for a greater depth of field and variable focus which can be applied post-photo taking. It’s a cool new technology, especially for people who want the camera to pretty much do all the work.

I’ll have to take your word for that. And I think I may have even read that on their website, but (not trying to be dense, here) wasn’t exactly sure how that worked based on the examples they provided. Apparently the concept of adjusting the focus on an image after you’ve taken it is just too “Jetson’s-like” for me to grasp. :-/

If you ever just want to play with them, I know our local Target has some samples set up- it made more sense to me at least when I actually was able to touch it.

this is a revolutionary light vector capturing technology, but it seems that many mfg are coming out with simulated lightfield camera, from the ridiculous multiple snapshot and assembling scheme from samsung, to the automatic parallax/distance calculation of HTC or the manual one from nexus.

There must be better applications from the vector light capture technology that can’t be simulated by these phone cameras.

Take a look at this image:

Now, when you are looking at the image, use your mouse to click on the building in the rear.

This camera allows you to take the picture without worrying about what is in focus, because you choose after the fact where you want focus to be. From one image, you either have a clear flower in the foreground, or a clear building in the background. That is pretty cool.

The Lytro is built on a revolutionary idea, but not very useful for the majority of people. If you don’t want to worry if something in focus, just use a camera where almost everything is in focus, in other words…any common point-and-shoot or phone camera.

The Lytro is for you if: You frequently want most of the image to not be in focus except for one plane, and you want to pick the focus point later.

If you set aside the one parlor trick of picking focus point later, the Lytro seriously underperforms other common cameras. As other cameras start to replicate or even closely approximate that feature (and someone else has already pointed out this is happening), the appeal of this camera will diminish more and more.

It is a one-trick gadget for people with an early-adopter budget, so if that’s who you are then go for it. At least it’s better at this price than at the original $400 or whatever.

In a sense, it’s like when cars starting coming out with automatic transmissions. It’s a gamechanger and a technological marvel. We wonder how we were able to exist before it. But the true enthusiasts still stand by their manual transmission.

The Lytro is a true point-and-shoot. You don’t have to worry about focus. Ever. (since you can tweak it after you take the picture)

Also, try clicking and dragging for a 3D effect. That’s my favorite part.
Oh and this one:

When the Lytro camera came out I was pretty excited. It seemed like an amazing little camera that would do amazing things. This is the camera that promises “Shoot now, focus later”. They don’t mention that it is completely useless in low light. Take all the focus later photos you want in low light because they are all going to look like shit. This camera is basically worthless anywhere but outside in the sunshine shooting flowers and still images. The images with normal indoor lighting look grainy and washed out in yellow. To call this camera a ripoff is an understatement. It might be the most overpriced and over hyped camera in the history of photography. It is a novelty at best. That is if you can get a photo to come out that doesn’t look like it came from 1964 while you were drunk with a dirty lens. The Lytro is a toy, at worst it is a paperweight because the realty of this thing is once you see what it doesn’t do you probably won’t ever use it again. I will probably try it again for some outdoor shots of still life but I will bring a backup for when this thing fails. This camera looks cool. It’s a little rectangular colorful piece of technology.

I got multiple comments on how cool it looks. The viewfinder is extremely deceptive. It is too small to really see what your photos are going to look like. As I was shooting (food, I was shooting a 6 course dinner as a test) it was hard to really look at the photos. What I saw on the screen though was nothing like what came out of the camera. I found this incredibly odd because when I was shooting I was impressed. It was only in the processing phase were I saw how horrible they actually came out. Nothing is remotely in focus, the colors are completely yellow from the overhead lighting. Touching on processing of the photos it is a long process. The uploads take a considerable amount of time. I can only imagine how long it would take if you had to upload 100 photos. I did about 30 or so and you might as well block out a couple hours for the uploading process.

In my semi-expert opinion. The Lytro is a cool looking piece of junk that needs way too many improvements to even consider buying. If you use it as your only photo source you’re not going to be happy. It is not a replacement for a real honest to goodness camera. They just released the new version and I wouldn’t touch that one either. I don’t think this style of photo or type of technology is ready for the market. The idea behind the Lytro is awesome but the real life execution of this cool little metal and glass box is unusable. I luckily bought this on the daily deals site Woot, and got it at an extremely good price. I think it was less than $150.00. However $150 for something that sucks this bad could have went to other things. I have complete buyers remorse over this thing and was highly disappointed. Don’t make the same mistake I did. This is a stay away from at all costs, no matter how deep the discount. This is a worthless camera.

Do the pictures actually come out that much better than a normal digital camera?

The most legendary rip off was the Fotron. Sold door to door, it used (soon to be discontinued) 828 film packed in special cartridges you could only get from Fotron. Look it up and see the beast.

Dont’ think so, in order to capture so many vectors for each location where the light lands on the sensor, the final resolution is much lower than a regular P&S camera. Thus they made it to look like a toy, otherwise alot more people would have been disappointed.

What they should have done is license this technology to one of the real camera makers, who could have found a way to incorporate it into a camera that would not have been as limited. Instead, the company had to learn how to do everything from scratch, and can’t incorporate much of the know hows that the serious mfgs could do.

I’m just gonna leave this here:

My first impression was that these in no way look like a camera. At all.

In situations where cameras are not allowed but you really want to take photos, this may come in handy. I’ll leave you to decide what those situations are.