Yesterday, Lytro started taking pre-orders for their light field technology camera. (More info about the Lytro technology here) If you reserved a camera, you should be receiving your camera between February-March 2012 for $399 for a 8GB (350 pictures) or $499 for 16GB (750 pictures).
The camera itself is more point-and-shoot styled than the expected DSLR form factor many people believed it would be. The design is also very simplistic, looking more like a small telescope than a camera. There is a small button on the top of the camera which is the shutter button which takes pictures instantaneously. There is also small little dashes by the shutter button which controls the 8x optical zoom by scrubbing your finger down or up the dashes. The back has a fairly small glass touch screen which allows for framing and viewing of pictures. While the touch screen does seem nice, it seems that all of these pictures will be rather square in shape since the screen is a square instead of the usual rectangle found on most cameras. I could say that a lot of features on this camera aren’t found in most other others, like the constant f/8 aperture and the 11 megarays (no megapixels here) sensor. The camera also shoots a different file format, as to be expected, which is called .lfp instead of the .jpg standard.
Since you are dealing with a new file format, you are going to need new software to handle the format. As of right now, Lytro’s software will only work on Mac computers running 10.6 (Lion) and later, though a Windows counterpart is in development. The software allows you to choose your focus point, which is the main feature of using this camera, focusing later, and allows you to export these .lfp files into a normal .jpg standard. However, if you export it as a .jpg, it will be a static image which other people cannot interact with. Lytro stores all of your photos on their server which you can send the link out to other people so they can choose their own focus point. Lytro’s site uses Flash and HTML 5 meaning that it will work on every computer, mobile phone and tablet on the market today.
I am very excited about this product and I will be getting my hands on this camera to test it out ASAP.
Click on the link below to get an example of the type of photos the Lytro camera can take.