In our video Lytro Illum review, Andy Westlake takes a look at the Lytro Illum, the Camera that takes pictures you can refocus after shooting.
Lytro Illum review, first impressions
The Lytro Illum is quite unlike anything we’ve seen before. It’s a chunky, futuristic looking device with a large cylindrical lens barrel, and an angled, wedge-shaped body. It doesn’t just look it’s come out of a science fiction movie, either; its central promise to make images that can be re-focused after shooting sounds like an implausible plot device, too.
But with its light field technology and 40-megaray sensor, this is precisely what it does. The image sensor uses a specially-designed array of microlenses to measure the angle of incoming light, as well as its colour and intensity. In concert with the 30-250mm equivalent f/2 lens, this allows it to record images whose focus and depth of field can be manipulated after shooting. Refocusing is available only within a limited range, though, so it’s still necessary to focus the lens before shooting, but Lytro gives some unique tools to assist with this.
Photos can be output as 4MP stills, or viewed interactively on Lytro’s website, but perhaps more interestingly they can be used to produce animations exploring the depth and three-dimensionality of the subject. This is all done by manipulating the camera’s Raw files in the Lytro Desktop software, which is available for both PC and Mac.
At £1300, the Illum isn’t cheap – you can buy a very nice SLR or compact system camera for that kind of money. It’s important to understand that Lytro doesn’t see it as a replacement for your existing camera, either, but a complementary creative tool.
In this Lytro Illum review video, Technical Editor Andy Westlake takes a quick look at how this apparently-magical camera works in practice.