The new LYTRO camera may well change the way we take photos forever. First let me say that I’m a big DSLR geek, my camera bag is full of Nikons, lens, compact cameras and even the funky retro Fuji X100. I love all types of camera gear and gadgets, but the prospect of LYTRO has me more excited than the day my Nikon D3 arrived in the post.
The LYTRO isn’t just a new camera, it’s a completely different way of capturing images. The project started at Stanford University has been 15 years in development and produced a camera so revolutionary, it even had the late Steve Jobs admiring the LYTRO. Apparently Jobs phone the LYTRO team to ask if Apple and LYTRO could work together (new iphone camera – maybe?).
So what’s all the fuss about? Well, and here comes the science bit… Unlike a conventional camera that captures a single plane of light, the Lytro camera captures the entire light field, which is all the light traveling in every direction in every point in space. Giving the ability to capture living pictures with the press of a single button. By instantly capturing complete light field data, the Lytro gives you capabilities you’ve never had in a regular camera.
Since you’ll capture the color, intensity, and direction of all the light, you can experience the first major light field capability – focusing after the fact. Focus and re-focus, anywhere in the picture. You can refocus your pictures at anytime, even after you’ve snapped them.
If you own a compact camera then you’ll know about shutter lag, it’s that horrible pause between pressing the button and the camera taking the picture. If you own a DSLR camera then the shutter lag is vastly reduced, but the weight of the equipment is the price you pay for those extra one hundredths of a second.
What’s great about the LYTRO is it has no auto-focus motor, which means no shutter lag. Allowing you to capture the moment you meant to capture. The Lytro Light Field Camera boasts an 8X optical zoom lens with a constant f/2 aperture, capturing maximum light across the entire zoom range.
If you’re into cameras then you’ll be amazing by the constant f/2 aperture – A DSLR zoom lens with that capability would cost you £1000s, the constant f/2 also means the camera doesn’t need a flash! No more horrible shadows and startled expressions! Plus you can use the camera in situations when flash would be prohibited – musuems, concerts, sporting events.
I’d be the first to admit that the LYTRO looks shit! but this camera isn’t about looks, it’s about the pictures. We won’t know if the camera lives up to the hype until it’s released, which is penciled in for early 2012. Like most things these days, the camera will only ship to the U.S. on release – Hopefully us Europeans will be next to get our hands on this exciting new camera.