Today I had a brush with the future of amateur photography. A future where photos are alive and anyone can tweak it to see it from their point of view, just like how we see things in real life. A future where no picture is out of focus but where people can change what they want to be in focus. A future where every photo can be in 3D and where megapixels don’t matter. And that future is called Lytro. It is the most unconventional camera you will ever see. In fact it looks more like a kaleidoscope than a camera. While conventional cameras record light in just one dimension, Lytro records light exactly like it passes through the lens from every angle in multiple dimensions, Eric Cheng, director of photography at Lytro tried to explain. Lytro stores more information about a photograph than any other camera. So much more information that popular photo-editing software like Photoshop cannot read the extra points of data. Continue reading for my first impressions… Also Read - Square Enix announces new Guardians of the Galaxy at E3 2021: Details here
Lytro is about two things – the camera hardware and the photo-editing software. The odd-shaped camera lens is fixed at f/2 aperture and can do 8X optical zoom. The company doesn’t talk about the number of megapixels (they deem that useless) and the camera shoots in RAW format. It will come in two variants – 8GB and 16GB for $399 and $499, respectively. The interesting part about the camera is the lack of buttons. There is just the single-stage (no auto-focus) shutter button and the edge above the viewfinder display is touch sensitive and used for zooming in and out. The tiny view-finder display is multi-touch and reminds me of the iPod nano. Having said that, my friend Nikhil Pahwa rightly points out that it will be next to impossible to carry this thing in our pocket, owing to its form-factor. Also Read - Top phones under Rs 10,000 in June 2021: Realme C25s, Redmi 9 Prime and more
Clicking pics with the Lytro is super simple as it does not have any concept of focusing on to the subject and there are no settings whatsoever to tweak. There is no noticeable lag between when the shutter is pressed and the image stored to allow another picture to be clicked. The 8GB variant can store up to 350 photos and the 16GB variant up to 750. However, the real magic happens when the pictures are transferred to a Mac and opened with Lytro’s editing software (a Windows version is coming soon). Users can open any pic and select which part of the photo should be in focus. One can even have subjects both in the background as well as the foreground in focus. Heck, one can even convert any photo clicked from the Lytro into 3D. What’s more, photos shared on Facebook or Twitter can be tweaked by anyone by simply clicking on any part of the photo.
Will the Lytro replace DSLRs? Not at all. But what I can predict is lot of cellphone companies would be looking at the Lytro to figure out how this technology can be implemented into smartphone cameras and have a mobile version of the Lytro app on the phone itself to edit pictures on the fly and share them on Facebook. This, my friends, would be the next big thing. And I won’t be surprised if some major smartphone players are already thinking of ways to incorporate it into their superphone of 2012. This changes everything, really!