Lytro had showcased to the world it’s revolutionary new Light-FIeld technology which promised to change photography forever. Lytro had even released a model later on, but it didn’t quite pick up steam due to its low-res capture resolution and half-baked hardware and software.
“Light field photography is about capturing the richest information, fundamentally richer than we’ve ever had” said Ng. “This is so we can bring a whole new set of capabilities that were impossible before, because we can turn physics into software.”
The hardware looked like something from an early prototype and while the concept of refocusing photos after clicking them was innovative, the resultant pictures were of a low resolution.
The basic idea was this: A special sensor would capture the direction of light rays in addition to the color and intensity of every light ray hitting it. Then, after absorbing all the information of the given scene, you can change the focus point. It will then use the light-ray data to simulate how it will look from that focus point.
Using this tech, you could even correct blurred photos, which are the bane of every photographer.
Lytro has granted itself a second chance with the new and improved Lytro Illum.
“It’s thinner, lighter, and it has a bigger zoom range and a bigger aperture than you could’ve ever gotten conventionally,” said Ng. “We’re doing in software what physical pieces of glass had historically had to do.” Ng added, “To design something like this with a conventional camera would essentially be impossible.”
The old ‘prototyp-ey’ half-baked design has made way for a much more compact, a much more polished and overall a much more better design.
It has a special 40 Megaray sensor, which can capture information of up to 40 million light rays. It’s predecessor only has a 11 megaray sensor.
While the original Lytro had a fixed lens, this one has added a 8x optical zoom.
Before, when the science of Light-fields was first being explored, it required multiple cameras and a supercomputer to process the data. The Illum only requires the Mobile Snapdragon 801 SoC which powers the flagships of today.
We have come a long way, haven’t we?
The lens is fixed, has a f/2.0 aperture and allows you to get really, really close to your subject (Don’t test out this feature on humans, you may creep them out)
For ease of use, Lytro has thankfully chosen the a 4 inch touchscreen for navigating around.
Plus, you can also view your photos in 3D if you happen to own a device whose screen is 3D capable.
On the software side, Lytro’s OS is a modified form of Android.
However, phones like the HTC One have dual-cameras which help them to do most of the tricks that the Lytro can.
The camera goes on sale in July for $1599 .Those preorder it would get it for $1499.
Lytro’s tech is no doubt revolutionary and could change photography forever. And why stop with changing focus after clicking photos? The Lytro’s groundbreaking technology has potential for much much more.
All Lytro has to do is to sit tight and make this one as good as possible, as we don’t want the Illum to fail just like the very first Lytro did.