Back in 2011 Lytro caught the photography world by surprise by introducing a camera unlike any other, a rectangular monocular with the capability of instantly refocusing focal points of photographs at the tap of a screen. The original Lytro was an “ahhh” and “oooh” eliciting interactive technological feat of light field photography, but its real world application limited by a small display, modest image quality, and to a lesser extent, its unusual shape categorizing it as a curiosity.
Lytro is back with a second generation model addressing many of the issues and features photography enthusiasts asked for, in a form factor that may seem more recognizably comfortable and welcome to those accustomed to DSLR photography, and equipped with just about everything the initial model was missing.
The Lytro Illum is an upgrade across the board compared to the first model’s fixed lens design, with an 8x zoom equivalent of a 30-250 mm lens at f/2.0 aperture across its whole range, a roomier 800×400 pixel resolution 4” touchscreen display, and a new image sensor capable of absorbing 40 million light rays to generate multi-dimensional “living pictures” with a sense of depth and simulated motion beyond traditional tilt shift photographs.
The most noticeable departure in Lytro’s update is the Illum’s streamlined DSLR-like form factor, a design which may convince the curious and previously hesitant to give the new second generation camera a try, alongside the addition of photographer’s staples of program, ISO priority, shutter priority, full manual shooting modes, and Photoshop/Lightroom/Aperture support to round out an evolutionary progression for light field photography into the mainstream.
The Lytro Illum will be available in July for $1,599, with a special offer pre-order $100 discount which throws in complimentary personalized engraving and special camera strap.