Lytro has been on the cutting edge of photography with its technology that records an entire light-field… meaning you can refocus a photo with a touch and even shift its perspective. But that technology hits new heights with Lytro’s next camera, the Illum.
1. It’s Got A Camera Body
First of all, the box that was the original Lytro has been replaced with a body that looks more like a pro camera. It communicates just how much Lytro means business with this camera. There’s a touchscreen, a shutter button, and even a lens that professional photographers will recognize as something they’d want to use.
2. You Finally Get Removable Media
One of the original complaints about the first Lytro was the lack of removable media; you had to connect the camera to a computer to get your photos. The Illum, however, stores your shots on SD memory cards.
3. Connectivity Comes Standard
Instead of WiFi and GPS being expensive add-ons, here they come standard. It’s true that cameras are moving increasingly towards this, but it’s nice to see the Illum bucking the trend and making them standard issue.
4. It’s Got Substantially More Processing Power
The original Lytro had a fairly conventional and basic chip when it debuted a few years ago, essentially just enough to process the images. The Illum goes upscale with a Qualcomm Snapdragon, the same chipset used in the Samsung Galaxy S5, as a matter of fact. So this isn’t going to lack for the ability to process your photos.
5. The Screen Brings A Substantial Upgrade
If you’ve used the Lytro, you know that the screen is more a matter of convenience than anything else. It tells you that you’ve gotten the shot and you can kind of poke at it to shift the focus, but really it’s mostly there out of necessity. The Illum’s touchscreen is big, bright, and includes a live preview mode that outlines major elements of your shot.
6. The Lens Is Much Better
Interchangeable lenses are still a bit off for Lytro, but the lens the Illum comes with, an 30mm-250mm equivalent with 8x optical zoom, is still pretty nice. Granted, it’s not the focus of the technology, but it’s still useful.
7. It Interacts With Apps And Online Systems
Of course, there’s no point in taking these photos if people can’t see them, so Lytro is upgrading its apps and Internet display systems, letting you mess with the focus and the perspective. If you haven’t tried out the Lytro app for iOS, give it a shot; it’s just fun to mess around with other’s photos.
8. It Means Light-Field Photography Is Officially Serious
Until now, the Lytro has been a fun little toy that you use every few months, or at a big event, and then put back with your other photography gear. This puts the Lytro in the big leagues and proclaims it’s worth your neck real estate. We’ll be curious to see if photographers agree. Either way, the Illum will be out later this year for $1600… but you can save a spot and $100 by preordering it with a $250 deposit.
Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.