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The New Lytro Camera with Light Field Sensor

January 11th, 2013

lytro-camera-review.jpgAlmost two years ago, the startup company Lytro announced that it was going to revolutionize the world of digital cameras, and just recently they finally announced their first line of products. The Lytro cameras boast new cutting edge technology that lives up to the hype that the company stirred up, allowing consumers to take and experience pictures in a whole new way. However, this doesn’t change the fact that fewer people are buying point and shoot digital cameras, since many people simply choose to take pictures with their smartphones instead.

The Lytro Camera

The Lytro camera has two versions, and it comes in three colors. One version costs $400 and comes with 8 gigabytes of memory, which is good for 350 pictures. The other, more expensive model costs $500, but can hold 750 pictures with its 16 gigabytes of internal memory. The colors you can choose from are red hot, graphite, and electric blue. These cameras became available to purchase early last year.

What It Does

The reason why Lytro cameras are so innovative is because the pictures they take can be focused and refocused again and again after the picture has been taken. After the picture is taken, you upload it to your computer and using the Lytro software that comes with the camera, you are able to change the focal point of the picture to whatever you want it to be, as many times as you want (you can go here to see it in action). This “shoot now, focus later” way of taking pictures makes it easy for the average person to make pictures that look professional without having to be a professional photographer. Using the software, you are also able to seamlessly make your pictures 3D or 2D.

How It Works

In order to capture pictures, Lytro cameras use a new type of sensor called a light field sensor. Traditional cameras have sensors that only capture a single plane of light, but the Lytro camera captures the entire light field at the moment the picture is taken. This is what makes it possible to go back and change the focal point of any picture. Since the camera does not have to auto focus when taking a picture, it has an instant shutter so you can take a picture instantly. This new technology was developed from over ten years of research done by the CEO of the company, Dr. Ren Ng.


Even though the Lytro camera definitely has some strong selling points, it may be fighting a losing battle. There’s a saying among photographers that goes, “The best camera is the one that’s with you” and since smartphones are something that people always have on them, many simply decide to use them as their daily cameras. The traditional point and shoot cameras are being phased out by smartphones, and with the steep price tag of $400, the Lytro might not be any different.

Instead of competing with smartphones however, this technology could be implemented directly into smartphones. Although smartphone cameras today have powerful 8 megapixel cameras, most of them still suffer from shutter delay because of auto focus, and it is sometimes hard to take a perfect picture. Implementing Lytro camera technology in smartphones would fix the problems that smartphone cameras have, and would make the overall experience for the consumer much better.

Although the technology is still relatively new, technology advances very quickly and it is definitely possible for this new technology to get to the point where it can be used in smartphones. In order for Lytro to thrive, it will have to expand its reach in order to avoid simply being a novelty and this is definitely one of the better ways to do it.

This article was supplied by Daniel Gameros from Constant Content.

One Response to “The New Lytro Camera with Light Field Sensor”

  1. comment number 1 by: Ireland5

    This is awesome. Go to the above link to ’see it in action’. Select a picture with several objects - like 3 people for example. If you click on 1 object, the focus changes to that object. If you click on something else in the photo, the focus changes again. Imagine the possibilities…I do hope it is marketed as a separate camera and as well as integrated into smartphones.

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