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Lytro's next-gen $1500 Illum 'light-field' camera bolstered by dedicated Mac software, Aperture...

post #1 of 53
Thread Starter 
Innovative focus-shifting camera maker Lytro, whose products have been featured at Apple's retail stores, will expand its lineup this summer with a new, more full-featured standalone camera dubbed the Illum, aimed at professionals and high-end enthusiasts.




While the original Lytro, which has been carried by Apple in its stores, had a unique square shape, the new Illum is designed more like a traditional camera. Like its predecessor, the Illum is a "light-field" camera that captures information about the angle from which light arrives, allowing the device to allow users to adjust the perspective and focus of a picture after it's been captured.

The new Illum is a more premium camera, selling for $1,599 when it launches this July. Early adopters who preorder now can save $100 and will pay $1,499.




Those prices compare to a much lower $199 price for the first-generation Lytro 8-gigabyte Light-Field Digital Camera. After that device launched for $399 two years ago, the price was subsequently slashed at all sellers, including Apple Stores. A 16-gigabyte model is also available for $249.

Lytro refers to the images its cameras capture as "living pictures," as they are captured in a proprietary format that requires special software to view and edit. Accordingly, the company provides free desktop software for Mac that allows users to view, edit and export Lytro pictures on OS X.




In addition, Lytro has also worked with Apple to allow its dynamic image files to be transferred to Aperture on OS X. Similarly, Lytro's unique files can also be opened in Adobe's Lightroom and Photoshop.

The new Lytro Illum boasts what the company calls a "40-megaray light field sensor," featuring 8-times optical zoom range, a constant f/2.0 aperture and a high-speed shutter capable of freezing motion under a wide variety of conditions. A touchscreen on the back of the camera allows users to adjust focus, tilt, perspective shift and depth of field after an image has been captured, while those same adjustments can be made later via the Mac desktop software.

"With Lytro Illum, creative pioneers -- ranging from artistic amateurs to experienced professionals -- will tap into a new wave of graphical storytelling. Now artist and audience alike can share an equally intimate connection with the imagery, and, in a sense, jointly participate in the magic of its creation," Lytro CEO Jason Rosenthal said. "By combining a novel hardware array with tremendous computational horsepower, this camera opens up unprecedented possibilities to push the boundaries of creativity beyond the limits inherent in digital or film photography."




Technical specs of the Lytro Illum camera are:

  • Custom-designed 40-megaray light field sensor
  • 8x optical zoom lens (30mm-250mm equivalent)
  • Constant f/2.0 aperture across the entire zoom range
  • 1/4000 of a second high-speed shutter
  • Extreme close-focus macro capability
  • Combination of tactile-controls and smartphone-class, articulating touchscreen
  • Dimensions: 86mm x 145mm x 166mm; 940 grams
  • Hot shoe supports all leading flashes
  • Software Platform


And features of the Lytro software platform include:

  • Integrated workflow with leading photo software from Adobe and Apple
  • Interactive depth feedback display
  • Virtual camera controls in post-processing, including aperture focus and perspective adjustments and physically accurate tilt control
  • Instantly displays 3D photos on 3D-capable devices
  • Integrated sharing to leading social networks including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+
  • Library of drag-and-drop cinematic animations, including pan, zoom, focus, and perspective shift
  • Workflow is compatible with existing photo-editing suites like Adobe's Photoshop and Lightroom software and Apple's Aperture software


post #2 of 53

Okay, this is a case in which the design doesn’t lend itself to the device. The tilt of the body forces the screen to be on a hinge for absolutely no reason. Just make the body upright. And the price is inexcusable.

 

Having said that, Lytro is the future.

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
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Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
Reply
post #3 of 53

Can't find any information anywhere on the resolution of a Lytro photo.  Not even on their website.  That raises a red flag.  What in the world is a 'megaray' and more importantly how do you compare that to megabytes for the purpose of estimating picture quality?

post #4 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

Okay, this is a case in which the design doesn’t lend itself to the device. The tilt of the body forces the screen to be on a hinge for absolutely no reason. Just make the body upright. And the price is inexcusable.

 

Having said that, Lytro is the future.

 

A brilliant concept, hopefully equalled in the execution. However, I agree with each of your sentiments. Function should take precedence to form. However, I haven't held a unit and so cannot comment with authority.

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post #5 of 53
Originally Posted by tundraboy View Post
Can't find any information anywhere on the resolution of a Lytro photo.  Not even on their website.  That raises a red flag.  What in the world is a 'megaray' and more importantly how do you compare that to megabytes for the purpose of estimating picture quality?

 

Lytro’s first camera was 1080x1080. I imagine this one is larger.

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
Reply

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
Reply
post #6 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
Having said that, Lytro is the future.

 

The far distant future.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tundraboy View Post
 

Can't find any information anywhere on the resolution of a Lytro photo.  Not even on their website.  That raises a red flag.  What in the world is a 'megaray' and more importantly how do you compare that to megabytes for the purpose of estimating picture quality?

 

The original produced a 480x480 (1080x1080 interpolated) picture and had 11 'megarays'.

post #7 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

Okay, this is a case in which the design doesn’t lend itself to the device. The tilt of the body forces the screen to be on a hinge for absolutely no reason. Just make the body upright. And the price is inexcusable.

 

Having said that, Lytro is the future.

 

I've not held an Illum in my hand, so I'm not sure about this, but I think the screen is not "forced" to be on a hinge, I suspect the hinge simply allows the screen to be tilted at any angle. It was the unfortunate choice of the studio photographer who prepared the advertising images to put the screen at a vertical angle, giving the impression that the hinge is in some way "correcting" for the body being sloped.  I, for one, think the aesthetic is terrific, and I'm sure the screen works fine when flush against the camera body, too.  

 

The only thing I dislike about this is the name of the camera.  Reminds me of "ileum".  Also, "megarays" is an odd description and I'd like a bit more detail about exactly how a "lightfield" is captured.  Shouldn't be a secret--they're covered by patents.  No need to be so reticent.

post #8 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by boriscleto View Post
 

 

The far distant future.

 

 

The original produced a 480x480 (1080x1080 interpolated) picture and had 11 'megarays'.

boriscleto, do you know if these cameras use a Bayer array to produce color?  Or a foveon technology? Or even a 3ccd?  Or something completely different?  And if a Bayer array, then is 480 the number of elements high and wide? I'm not sure how that gets "interpolated" to make a 1080 picture though....

post #9 of 53

Definitely needs a wider angle, at least 24mm, for interior shooting. 30mm is not enough. 

post #10 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

Okay, this is a case in which the design doesn’t lend itself to the device. The tilt of the body forces the screen to be on a hinge for absolutely no reason. Just make the body upright. And the price is inexcusable.

 

Having said that, Lytro is the future.

 

I don't know, but it seems to me pretty silly to criticize a thing's functionality when you've never actually experienced it.

 

Since it has no viewfinder, perhaps it makes very functional sense to have the view screen tilted for more convenient/natural position shooting? I think it's good to have a screen that tilts. You can position the camera anywhere and still compose your shot, right?

 

This design does break with the "traditional" SLR body format. Perhaps it does so with good reason? Maybe try it first before damning it...?

 

As for the price, well, Nikon and Canon dSLR's still sell for that and above, so I don't know if it's "inexcusable". Is the price of a Mac Book Air also inexcusable? iPhone?

 

It is what it is... you don't have to buy one... ;)

post #11 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by TeaEarleGreyHot View Post
 

 

I've not held an Illum in my hand, so I'm not sure about this, but I think the screen is not "forced" to be on a hinge, I suspect the hinge simply allows the screen to be tilted at any angle. It was the unfortunate choice of the studio photographer who prepared the advertising images to put the screen at a vertical angle, giving the impression that the hinge is in some way "correcting" for the body being sloped.  I, for one, think the aesthetic is terrific, and I'm sure the screen works fine when flush against the camera body, too.  

 

The only thing I dislike about this is the name of the camera.  Reminds me of "ileum".  Also, "megarays" is an odd description and I'd like a bit more detail about exactly how a "lightfield" is captured.  Shouldn't be a secret--they're covered by patents.  No need to be so reticent.

The form is following the function. No one holds cameras directly up to eye level unless they have to use a viewfinder. When you have a larger LCD screen that tilts, you hold it below your eyes. It's more comfortable and don't look like my grandfather taking pictures.

post #12 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Okay, this is a case in which the design doesn’t lend itself to the device. The tilt of the body forces the screen to be on a hinge for absolutely no reason. Just make the body upright. And the price is inexcusable.

Having said that, Lytro is the future.

Actually I think the tilt screen is great for tripod users.

Think of ot this way. On traditional cameras on the tripods, the user has to bend down to use the viewfinder or LCD to frame and focus the shot.

With this camera on a tripod, the user can frame the shot while standing fully upright bc of the tilted LCD. Since focus is achieved in post production on the computer, the user doesn't have to bend over for that task either.

So this design saves a lot of bending over, possibly saving people current or future back pain.

Those are my first thoughts of this design.
post #13 of 53
At $1700, it had better be awesome because it's priced outside of "impulse buy" range for most people. I like the tech, but I still think its gimmicky. However, I think it would be a spectacular fit for iPhones, since the light field data requires a screen and processor to come alive.

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post #14 of 53

If the product meets the initial interest, I won't hesitate to get one. Love the weight. At over 2 lbs, it is just a few ounces less than my favourite workhorse in my film days), i.e., my Canon F1.

 

Specs:

https://support.lytro.com/hc/en-us/articles/201825730-What-are-the-specs-on-the-Lytro-ILLUM-camera-

 

Wiredhttps://support.lytro.com/hc/en-us/articles/201825730-What-are-the-specs-on-the-Lytro-ILLUM-camera-

 

Digital Photography Review: http://www.dpreview.com/news/2014/04/22/lytro-announces-illum-light-field-camera?ref=title_0

 

Digital Trendshttp://www.digitaltrends.com/photography/lytro-refocuses-revolutionizing-photography-new-illum/


Edited by Onhka - 4/22/14 at 10:24am
post #15 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

...And the price is inexcusable...

Translation: I want one!

post #16 of 53

This is very much a niche product. With a fixed f/2 aperture, most photos are going to have significant swaths that are out of focus when the main subject is in focus. To see everything in focus requires interaction and can't be accomplished all at once in a single snapshot. Judging from characteristics of the original model, at 40 megarays the new model will have an effective resolution under 1 megapixel (or under 2 megapixels interpolated).

post #17 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Onhka View Post
 

If the product meets the initial interest, I won't hesitate to get one. Love the weight. At over 2 lbs, it is just a few ounces less than my favourite workhorse in my film days), i.e., my Canon F1.

 

Specs:

https://support.lytro.com/hc/en-us/articles/201825730-What-are-the-specs-on-the-Lytro-ILLUM-camera-

 

Wiredhttps://support.lytro.com/hc/en-us/articles/201825730-What-are-the-specs-on-the-Lytro-ILLUM-camera-

 

Digital Photography Review: http://www.dpreview.com/news/2014/04/22/lytro-announces-illum-light-field-camera?ref=title_0

 

Digital Trendshttp://www.digitaltrends.com/photography/lytro-refocuses-revolutionizing-photography-new-illum/

 

Now I know I want one!

 

P.S. Before anyone criticizes any further, I would do more due diligence; or at least wait before putting one's foot in their mouth.


Edited by Onhka - 4/22/14 at 11:05am
post #18 of 53

I agree.The screen tilted back at an angle allows you to hold the camera level and still see the screen when it is below eye level. (Such as shooting from the waist)

post #19 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Onhka View Post
 

Now I know I want one!

Thanks, the video demonstrates how the effective f-stop can be varied after the fact to increase the depth of field. The photos are still relatively limited in resolution (~half that of the iPad mini retina display before interpolation) and not great for subjects at a distance. 

post #20 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Okay, this is a case in which the design doesn’t lend itself to the device. The tilt of the body forces the screen to be on a hinge for absolutely no reason. Just make the body upright. And the price is inexcusable.

Having said that, Lytro is the future.

I hope not.
post #21 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by tundraboy View Post

Can't find any information anywhere on the resolution of a Lytro photo.  Not even on their website.  That raises a red flag.  What in the world is a 'megaray' and more importantly how do you compare that to megabytes for the purpose of estimating picture quality?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Lytro’s first camera was 1080x1080. I imagine this one is larger.

Quote:
Originally Posted by boriscleto View Post

The far distant future.


The original produced a 480x480 (1080x1080 interpolated) picture and had 11 'megarays'.

480x480 is correct for the first models. This one is about twice that, about 950x950.

It's still pretty low. Their spec is that it will be good "up to 8x10", which isn't saying much. The first ones broke down just above 4x4.
post #22 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Onhka View Post

If the product meets the initial interest, I won't hesitate to get one. Love the weight. At over 2 lbs, it is just a few ounces less than my favourite workhorse in my film days), i.e., my Canon F1.

Specs:
https://support.lytro.com/hc/en-us/articles/201825730-What-are-the-specs-on-the-Lytro-ILLUM-camera-

Wiredhttps://support.lytro.com/hc/en-us/articles/201825730-What-are-the-specs-on-the-Lytro-ILLUM-camera-

Digital Photography Review: http://www.dpreview.com/news/2014/04/22/lytro-announces-illum-light-field-camera?ref=title_0

Digital Trendshttp://www.digitaltrends.com/photography/lytro-refocuses-revolutionizing-photography-new-illum/

This is terrible though. It's got a horribly low resolution. It's nice to be able to change focus, but when the Rez is so low to begin with, it hardly matters.
post #23 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Onhka View Post

Now I know I want one!

P.S. Before anyone criticizes any further, I would do more due diligence; or at least wait before putting one's foot in their mouth.

All I need to know is the resolution, and we know that. It's fine for low quality pics, but not for much else.
post #24 of 53

So far I see the following criticisms of this camera:

 

Price

Megapixels

Form over function

 

Strangely this resembles the criticisms that some people have for Macs and iPhones.  So why not offer the same defenses for Lytro?

post #25 of 53

Computational photography is definitely the future. Lytro's concept is but one part of it. Cameras will continue to gain options which will allow photographers to reframe, refocus, zoom and relight images in amazing new ways.

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post #26 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cpsro View Post
 

This is very much a niche product. With a fixed f/2 aperture, most photos are going to have significant swaths that are out of focus when the main subject is in focus. To see everything in focus requires interaction and can't be accomplished all at once in a single snapshot. Judging from characteristics of the original model, at 40 megarays the new model will have an effective resolution under 1 megapixel (or under 2 megapixels interpolated).

anyone know what is the physical size of the sensor?

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post #27 of 53
Originally Posted by melgross View Post
I hope not.

 

Why not? “Focus after the fact” is a great innovation. I don’t mean lytro the company, I mean lytro’s technology.

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
Reply

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
Reply
post #28 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cpsro View Post
 

With a fixed f/2 aperture, most photos are going to have significant swaths that are out of focus when the main subject is in focus. 

I think that is the whole point of how they do selective focus.  I'm going to assume that "40 mega-array" means there is an array of 40 (1 MP) sensors stacked over the top of each other. Each capturing at slight offset focal lengths.  You can have a depth of field based on a single focal length with a shallow depth of field, or combine some/all of the other 39 focal length captures to give yourself  a large effective depth of field.

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post #29 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post


All I need to know is the resolution, and we know that. It's fine for low quality pics, but not for much else.

 

This is true. That's why I personally think adding something akin to LIDAR to the traditional digital camera sensors will be more useful for future cameras. If one is able to acquire a depth map of the scene being photographed, refocusing would theoretically be much more accurate and allow many more options (especially in terms of being able to relight a scene), but we would also be talking about a bundle of data which would kill the cameras of today.

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post #30 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

All I need to know is the resolution, and we know that. It's fine for low quality pics, but not for much else.

 

The more I read, the less I worry about resolution.

 

Quote:  From TechCrunch

Why capture one [perfect] photo, from one angle, with one perspective, when we could capture everything? When I can explore a photo, zooming and panning and focusing and shifting, why would I ever want to just look at it?

 

Lytro’s first camera was a toy, but it made us think differently about what a photograph might someday be. Now it’s making those ideas truly achievable with the Illum, a professional-grade tool. If it works, if Lytro can convince just a few people that this is the future, I can’t even imagine what might come next.

 

And as I stated earlier, i.e., "If the product meets the initial interest, I won't hesitate to get one."

post #31 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by TeaEarleGreyHot View Post


The only thing I dislike about this is the name of the camera.  Reminds me of "ileum".  

Shift it over to "Illium," the Roman name, maybe the Hittite and Homeric name, for Troy.

But I tend to agree, how are we supposed to pronounce "Illum"?
post #32 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 
Originally Posted by melgross View Post
I hope not.

 

Why not? “Focus after the fact” is a great innovation. I don’t mean lytro the company, I mean lytro’s technology.

I think many people might be curious. However, I think most people who take photography seriously will already know what depth of field and focus they want when they compose the shot; and have the right gear and techique to achieve it.  I think this product may be more for the people who take a "spray and pray" approach to photography or for people who have lots of disposable incoming and just want to play. 

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post #33 of 53
I'm not sure how many times this needs to be put into writing but it is a "light-field" camera which effectively is brand new technology relative to CCD sensing with a Bayer filter. To answer your question more directly it has a 4MP, peak, 2D output capability
Quote:
Originally Posted by TeaEarleGreyHot View Post

boriscleto, do you know if these cameras use a Bayer array to produce color?  Or a foveon technology? Or even a 3ccd?  Or something completely different?
You really can't be that dense can you?
Quote:
 And if a Bayer array, then is 480 the number of elements high and wide? I'm not sure how that gets "interpolated" to make a 1080 picture though....
There is plenty of information on Lytro's web site. I'd leave the address but it is pretty obvious you need to learn to do a little leg work yourself.
post #34 of 53
Originally Posted by snova View Post
I think this product may be more for the people who take a spray and pray approach to photography

 

Exactly. That’s why it’s going to be big in the consumer market. That’s why autofocus was big. This is just the successor thereto.

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
Reply

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
Reply
post #35 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 
Originally Posted by snova View Post
I think this product may be more for the people who take a spray and pray approach to photography

 

Exactly. That’s why it’s going to be big in the consumer market. That’s why autofocus was big. This is just the successor thereto.

no doubt, lack of viewfinder (optical or electronic), certainly places it firmly into the consumer space.   

Someone mentioned that its fixed f2 lens makes the depth of field too shallow.  Actually, I would bet they have the opposite problem in this product.  It does not have enough isolation, likely due to a small physical sensor size. 

"Building for the future?! They should be running around reacting to the present!" -John Moltz
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post #36 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flaneur View Post


Shift it over to "Illium," the Roman name, maybe the Hittite and Homeric name, for Troy.

But I tend to agree, how are we supposed to pronounce "Illum"?

 

Watch the first video.

post #37 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by snova View Post

anyone know what is the physical size of the sensor?

Really can people not read in this forum? 😠 It says 40 megaray in the article and if you don't like that you can read the specs on Lytro web site.
post #38 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by snova View Post

anyone know what is the physical size of the sensor?

Really can people not read in this forum? 😠 It says 40 megaray in the article and if you don't like that you can read the specs on Lytro web site.

I agree, can people not read "physical size"?  people in glass houses should not throw stones.   Take a chill pill please and when you are done, feel free to come back with a useful response. 

 

  It has 40 1 MP sensors, I get it.   How large are they physically, in area dimensions.

 

and I went to the Lytro web site and could not find anything which states PHYSICAL SIZE of each sensor .  

"Building for the future?! They should be running around reacting to the present!" -John Moltz
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post #39 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by snova View Post
 

no doubt, lack of viewfinder (optical or electronic), certainly places it firmly into the consumer space.   

Someone mentioned that its fixed f2 lens makes the depth of field too shallow.  Actually, I would bet they have the opposite problem in this product.  It does not have enough isolation, likely due to a small physical sensor size. 

 

Suggest you watch this, rather than what someone else said.

 

In fact, I would suggest that this is one of the most informative, hands-on review to date.


Edited by Onhka - 4/22/14 at 12:54pm
post #40 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

All I need to know is the resolution, and we know that. It's fine for low quality pics, but not for much else.

4 MP no matter you you compose the picture isn't really that bad. Beyond that the ability to reset focus and depth of field can be a wonderful thing in a fast paced setting or an environment with a lot of noise. I've had more than a few pictures ruined because the autofocus system decided to lock to a twig at the time I pushed the release. Or whatever it does that I didn't want it to do, the fact is there are many times when you want to recompose after the fact because you had little time to get it right at picture taking time.
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