Entering the Light Field Era

I believe in trying new things.

This is the very first picture I took with my brand-new, arrived-today Lytro camera—in a fluorescent-lit kitchen on a rainy late afternoon.

The technology is still in its infancy, but I can already see the enormous potential it represents. This first consumer product is just the very tip of a potentially huge wedge that could forever change how photographs are made. It may be as significant an innovation as the Brownie camera or the CCD.

It’s definitely early days yet, however. The image resolution is really weak. There’s no on-camera flash, and very little by way of settings to play with. (It does have a nicely implemented 8x optical zoom.) And the “living pictures” player is Flash-based (yuck).

The unit feels nicely solid, and is in fact unexpectedly heavy for its size. It’s clearly made of quality materials. Upgrades to the software and firmware for this first product are already promised to be in the works (including an “everything in focus” output). I am very curious to see how this technology develops, and will enjoy experimenting to learn how a different tool creates a different kind of image. Hey, I was an early adopter of digital, too.

If you’re interested in seeing how I’m getting along with this new gizmo, you can check out my Lytro living pictures photostream. It’s also possible to export JPEGs (albeit at the sucky resolution) so one could fool around with stuff after the fact. I imagine I’ll be doing a little bit of that, just because I can.

I also wouldn’t mind if Lytro would refrain from branding the heck out of everything (you MUST host your images with them, for now), but I understand that they are counting on posts just like mine to spread the word of their cool new thing.

A Year Ago: Winter Bridge

Key Bridge from Georgetown, Washington, DCHoly God, it’s another brown picture…
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