Lytro Illum Goes on Sale
The Lytro Illum is the first commercial camera incorporating a new technology that allows pictures to be focused after they are taken.
This new technology represents an interesting trend in technological advance. When entirely new technologies first emerge, they tend to replicate the results of older technology. In this case, digital photography was designed to mimic the effect of film photography. Eventually, however, the true potential of the new technology becomes apparent and it can be used in ways not possible with the older technology.
Freed from the need to print pictures, digital cameras can capture information that can be displayed and explored in interesting new ways. The Lytro not only captures an image, it captures data indicating the direction of light and distance of the source. Software can then manipulate this information, allowing the ability to focus on different parts of the picture, or even to change perspective slightly. The resulting digital images become three dimensional worlds to be explored, rather than static two dimensional images.
According to reviews, however, the technology is not quite ready. David Pierce, for example, writing for the Verge, reports that the technology is quirky, often crashes, picture taking is slow, and the software is almost unusable. This is not your next digital camera. It is an expensive ($1,500) toy for early adopters to explore the potential of this new technology. This is to be expected, however, and if history is any guide consumer level products won’t be far behind.
Sources: BBC News