Lytro Field Test

I’ve been playing around with the new Lytro camera for the past 24 hours or so. The images below represent what I’m calling my initial Lytro Field Test. The image on the left is a Lytro exported JPG straight out of the camera. The image on the right is my processed version of the JPG using Adobe Lightroom.

One of the things that you can do with a Lytro lightfield camera is adjust the focal point after you’ve taken a shot. The most dramatic examples have things in the foreground and background. You can play around with the photo at the top of this blog post to see what I mean. Click anywhere on the image to set a focal point. Double click anywhere on the image to zoom.

Lytro images are shot in a proprietary RAW format and the software that ships with the camera doesn’t have any basic editing functionality. You can export the images as JPGs though, and then manipulate those JPGs in whatever editing software you’d like to use, like I did in the examples below.

I know what you’re going to ask next. How many megapixels does the camera have? There’s no way of knowing. The camera measures instead in megarays.

From a quality standpoint, these are not images that you are likely going to want to print or blow up. The quality seemed about on par with a camera phone for basic photography purposes. I can usually give most camera phone shots an artistic edge with processing and I sort of did that with the Lytro images below. All of the shots are taken in the square format. The square format is my favorite crop. 🙂

I still need to play around with the camera some more. I have some ideas for it with street photography but the camera does seem to have several limitations. The biggest is that you have to keep the camera very still when shooting. Too much motion will create a blurry photo that you can’t really use. I tried shooting some street stuff in low light last night and wasn’t happy with the results at all — maybe I still need more practice though. I’ve only just started using the camera, so I suspect I have a lot to learn.

The camera comes in three colors, graphite, blue and red. It also comes with software that you can use to import and manage your photo library — the library format feels alot like iPhoto. From here you can export photos out of the library as JPGs, but for now you have to export them one at a time. The library also allows you to share your photos to the Lytro website. From there you can share them in other places, like I did on Facebook here. You can also get embed code for your blog (which is how I blogged the image at the top).

The blue and graphite cameras have an 8GB chip in them (about 350 photos). The red camera has a 16GB chip (about 750 photos). The cameras are $399 and $499 and you can order them here.

I like the overall design of the camera. It feels very Apple like — the colors are aesthetically pleasing, it has easy to use touch screen technology, and the buttons are on a grip that make the camera easy to hold. The Lytro has an internal battery that charges with an electric ac adapter or through a standard USB cable.

You can read more about the camera at the Verge here. Robert Scoble has the best write up I’ve seen so far today here — he’s been shooting it for a year. By the way, Robert Scoble is our special guest on Photo Talk Plus tonight at 8PM PST and I’m sure we’ll get more into the camera on the show then. Lytro’s own blog post on their camera here. Alot more examples of their focus technology from mugurm here.

Lytro Field Test, Plate 1

Lytro Field Test, Plate 4

Lytro Field Test, Plate 2

Lytro Field Test Plate 3

Lytro Field Test, Plate 6

Lytro Field Test, Plate 7

Lytro Field Test, Plate 5