Lytro Illum: A New Kind Of Camera
April 23, 2014

Lytro Illum: A New Kind Of Camera

Photography is a hobby of mine. I consider myself a semi-amateur photographer as I’ve taken college classes in both film and digital, I’ve sold a few pieces and I’ve had several published here on redOrbit. I’m rarely without a camera in my hand, to be honest. Ninety percent of my family photos do not include me, because I’m the one taking them.

Cameras, on the other hand, are a bit more like an obsession. I collect them. I have a wide range of cameras from a Polaroid Land Camera 95, to my grandmother’s Kodak Hawkeye Box camera, to a Kodak Super 8mm movie camera… an Argus C3 Rangefinder to the first digital Canon Rebel. I have everything from point-and-shoot digital to weird film cameras to a Sony Mavica. I look for cameras at garage sales, I drool over camera sales websites, and I’ve even tracked down places where I can rent cameras and lenses to try out before buying them. You might say I have a camera problem. Maybe.

I have even infected my daughter with the bug. She has taken two photo classes in high school, and starts her first college class next semester. She owns digital cameras, but if you give her a preference, she will take her Lomography Diana F film camera any day. The Diana F is a reproduction of the 1960s camera that Andy Warhol used for some of his iconic work.

So, when I ran across the new Lytro Illum today, I was intrigued.

What’s so different?

Unlike other digital cameras, Lytro cameras use what they call  “Light Field Photography — a transformative new category that empowers artistic creation and expression beyond what is possible in the 2D world of digital and film.” This new technology allows the camera to capture a full light picture – basically 3D. These pictures can be refocused and tilted, and the perspective and depth of field can be shifted. Now get this.. all of this can be done AFTER you take the picture. That’s the really new part.

“With LYTRO ILLUM, creative pioneers — ranging from artistic amateurs to experienced professionals — will tap into a new wave of graphical storytelling. Now artist and audience alike can share an equally intimate connection with the imagery, and, in a sense, jointly participate in the magic of its creation,” said Lytro CEO Jason Rosenthal. “By combining a novel hardware array with tremendous computational horsepower, this camera opens up unprecedented possibilities to push the boundaries of creativity beyond the limits inherent in digital or film photography.”

The Lytro Illum will have a 40-megaray capability, which is equivalent to a 4-6 megapixel DSLR 2D image. For the price of $1,599 USD, that seems a little underwhelming at first glance. We are talking a brand new technology, though. I won’t have an official opinion until I get my hands on one and get to play. Hopefully, that won’t be long, I asked them today if I could. *fingers crossed*

The folks at Lytro are sweetening the deal for pre-orders. If you pre-order before the release in July, you can submit a photo series to their contest. Winners will earn a spot in the Ultimate Lytro Photo Experience — a once-in-a-lifetime trip to shoot alongside a prominent photographer on an all-expense paid photo shoot. The Lytro team and this pro photographer partner will be on hand to provide high-caliber, hands-on training and practice for getting the most out of LYTRO ILLUM.

Can you see me drooling over here? A new camera technology, and a professional to teach me how to use it on a ROAD TRIP. They are a little short on details, the website doesn’t tell you where the trip will be, or who the professional photographer will be. It still sounds like a lot of fun.

There are still a few other missing details to be filled in as well, such as what the ISO range of the camera will be, but I’m anxious to give this baby a try.

Go take a moment to play with their gallery, and I’m sure you will be too.

Image Credit: Lytro, Inc.

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