Lytro makes life more interesting—again

If you care about the future of photography—how it’s captured, processed, experienced—check out David Pierce’s thoughtful piece on Lytro’s new Illum camera.

What Lytro plans to do is not just change how we take pictures, but to make the very pictures themselves mirror the way we see them in the first place. We interact with the world in three dimensions, touching and moving and constantly changing our perspectives, and light-field photos fit perfectly.

Photographer Kyle Thompson (who at 22 is kind of a badass) notes, “You don’t have to focus exactly on one certain point in the photo, but you also have to remember to try and keep all points of the photo interesting.”

This is the future… [L]ight-field photography — the notion that the future is about turning the complex physical parts of a camera into software and algorithms… — seems almost obvious. Why capture one photo, from one angle, with one perspective, when we could capture everything? When I can explore a photo, zooming and panning and focusing and shifting, why would I ever want to just look at it?

What do you think? Gimmick or game changer?

6 thoughts on “Lytro makes life more interesting—again

  1. “We interact with the world in three dimensions, touching and moving and constantly changing our perspectives, ”
    “Why capture one photo, from one angle, with one perspective, when we could capture everything?”

    The first quote is right on. The second sets too high of an expectation on Light Field cameras. The light field captured is over a very limited range as determined by the lens. Parallax, stereo, etc. will therefor be quite restricted. Even if one moved around a space, taking dozens of photos to later integrate in Photoshop, one still wouldn’t have “everything.”

    But then, photography isn’t about capturing everything. One of the greatest tools a photographer has is the ability to leave parts of a scene outside the frame. 360° panoramas could be said to capture “everything” but this at the same time means fewer artistic options.

    1. Rich, and John,
      I posted this a couple of days back on a previous discussion centered on Lytro …
      “in this Googleized epoch (!) it just has to be allowable to have a new opinion daily – this update: http://www.theverge.com/…/project-ara-our-best-look-yet…
      looks good to my opinion – for two “cameras” in one body ..?”
      In one aspect, the new Lytro does shift capture to being more human-visual-system-like. But, I think that human-experience trumps that – having either a still or in-motion image to look at (and study over again) with our dynamic glimpsing mechanics and memory input – that’s now the premium thing.

  2. I’ve enjoyed your blog for years. But I have trouble with your new mobile format. I am reading on my iphone, and the type sizes are huge. So much scrolling to read a few sentences. Hope you will find time to address this. Keep on writing, your blog is uniquely illuminating.

  3. hi John, Now there’s a video of the camera in actual use: http://youtu.be/E9jM9yUBZew – the fashion work is really impressive – “the shoot would require extra planning to make sure all of those layers are in place” and “it adds another layer to the way I’m able to tell stories” …

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