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

Posted:
in General Discussion edited April 2014
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
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 53
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member

    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.

  • Reply 2 of 53
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,613member

    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?

  • Reply 3 of 53
    iqatedoiqatedo Posts: 1,595member
    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.

  • Reply 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.


     

    The tilted screen is nice if you have the camera on a tripod or table that is lower than eye level. This way, you can look down and see the image without having to kneel down to be level with the camera.  The hinge allows you to rotate it flat if you are holding the camera directly in front of your face, but holding it that way is not necessary when using a screen instead of a viewfinder.

  • Reply 5 of 53
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    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.

  • Reply 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'.

  • Reply 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.

  • Reply 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....

  • Reply 9 of 53

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

  • Reply 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... ;)

  • Reply 11 of 53
    wigbywigby Posts: 688member
    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.

  • Reply 12 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.

    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.
  • Reply 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.
  • Reply 14 of 53
    onhkaonhka Posts: 1,025member

    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/

  • Reply 15 of 53
    chabigchabig Posts: 624member
    Quote:



    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

     

    ...And the price is inexcusable...


    Translation: I want one!

  • Reply 16 of 53
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,452member

    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).

  • Reply 17 of 53
    onhkaonhka Posts: 1,025member
    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.

  • Reply 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)

  • Reply 19 of 53
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,452member
    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. 

  • Reply 20 of 53
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,507member
    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.
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