Lytro IllumIn my constant quest for the latest and greatest technology to document my adventures in many different lights, I came across this camera.  They call it a light field camera.  I noticed it a year or so ago at a local store.  The technology seemed a bit premature at the time.  I noted it and decided to wait for the technology to develop.  Once it matured a year or so later, it caught my interest again.  I am two months into experimenting with this new release, one of the first.

The thing that sold me is that when capturing the picture, focus is not a concern.  You focus the image in post production.  This is miraculous new technology!  And I thought it would be perfect for me.  With four dogs and beautiful scenery in the background, it is often hard to get the shot I want before it disappears a split second latter.  I hoped that I would just aim and zoom, and worry about focus another time.  It didn’t quite work out as I hoped.

This technology requires a still subject.  Any moving objects (or dogs) appear blurry, and there is no way to compensate for motion blurriness with this camera.  Only depth of field focus issues.  This is a major problem for me with four dogs all going in separate directions at once!  But, I still find this camera extremely cool, and I just need to set up the shots and hope the dogs remain still.  No action shots.

Click on different parts of these pictures and see it in action!

When a picture is successfully captured with this camera, the results can be stellar!  Not only can I refocus my shots after the fact, so can you!  There are viewers available for all browsers, and WordPress too.  Above and below are some pictures I took.  Play around with it, click the click at different points.  You can change the focus yourself, and watch how the elements of the picture move around themselves in a hologram fashion.

This technology makes the photographer rethink how they take pictures.  Often one wants a clean shot with a single subject as the primary target.  With this camera, you want things in the foreground, you want multiple things in the background at different distances.  The fun of this camera is in moving around the 3D space and watching as different things come in and out of focus.  This camera is totally proprietary.  The lens is not interchangeable, but it is very high quality, and has good zoom.  It’s macro abilities are amazing, allowing foreground objects to almost touch the lens. One of the reasons I decided to buy this camera is because I was considering purchasing a high-end macro lens for my Nikon.  The macro capabilities of this camera and lens are so amazing that I decided to buy this camera.  That way I could explore this new technology, and still get my amazing macro lens.

While I am still experimenting with this camera, I feel I have gotten some excellent results.  Right now, I feel the software has some rough edges to it. It is time-consuming to get through post production.  The  software requires some serious horsepower.  It dogs down my dual Quad Core MacPro with 32GB of memory!  The camera also occasionally crashes, requiring the battery to be removed and reinserted to reboot.  I am confident as Lytro developed their technology further, these issues will all be worked out.

This is great stuff and I can’t wait to see how it developes.  I am happy to be pioneering this technology as it evolves.

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  1. It sure is! We can’t wait for Lytro to develop the technology further. They have video capabilities in the works, so we would be able to use some of the refocussing effects in our youtube videos. That will be fun!