Hands on with the Lytro Light Field Camera
Last week, I got to play with a Lytro Light Field Camera at a hosted photo walk with Lytro’s director of photography Eric Cheng. Above is one of the photos I took during the event, you can click around and refocus the photo (the entire point of the camera). The first iteration is a purely consumer point-and-shoot model, with more applications in the works.
The current model has two physical buttons (power, shoot) and a capacitive slider for an 8x optical zoom. The touchscreen allows you to fine tune the focal range and scroll through past photos and delete photos. The buttons and contact points are on the black rubberized portion, and the metal barrel portion is almost entirely the glass elements. Overall, I would say that the camera feels solid but is lighter than it looks.
I feel like there’s lots of potential for this sort of technology especially if/when/as they roll out versions with more control (ISO, Shutter Speed, etc…) and software (toss out DOF all together and have everything in focus, but the speed of f2). It took some practice before getting accustomed to taking photos with the refocus interactivity in mind, but I think there’s a lot of potential here. No auto-focus lag and a wide open aperture (constant f2) make for a nice consumer device. Files are download and the camera is charged via micro usb, the battery and memory are not user serviceable, we were told that the battery is good for about 700(?) shots per charge.
The science behind this concept can be seen in the Founder and CEO, Ren Ng’s, Stanford Dissertation [PDF].