Lytro ILLUM Light Field Camera Brief Review


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  • 40 megaray light field sensor
  • 8x optical zoom
  • Constant f2.0 aperture
  • Maximum shutter speed 1/4000s
  • 1:3 macro capabilities
  • 4” articulating touchscreen
  • Hot shoe slot (compatible with most leading brands)
  • Included software with focus and perspective adjustment capabilities (workflow compatible with Photoshop, Lightroom and Aperture)
  • 3D capability
  • Lithium-ion battery
  • Weighs 940 grams
  • Release Date: 2014-08-20
  • Final Grade: 90 4.5 Star Rating: Recommended

Lytro ILLUM Light Feild Camera
The company that introduced the light field camera now has a version for enthusiasts and pros.
By Hillary Grigonis, Last updated on: 6/5/2014

Light field photography means that image can be changed much more than the traditional JPEG or even RAW after the shutter is pressed. Focus, depth of field, tilt, perspective--all these elements can now be changed within post processing. Lytro created quite a stir when they released the original Lytro camera, but it suffered from a few flaws that limited the users to mostly casual shooters.

The Lytro ILLUM looks to change that with features directed more towards the enthusiast or even the professional shooter. Gone is that weird, rectangular body--it's been replaced with a bit more traditional shape, along with a huge 4" touchscreen as well as physical controls. There's a hot shoe slot for adding a flash. Oh yeah, and a constant 2.0 aperture combined with a maximum shutter speed of 1/4000. Macro is excellent as well, with 1:3 capability.

But of course, the coolest feature of any Lytro happens after the shot is taken, when you realize you can do things with these images that you can't from the traditional camera. Unlike a regular digital camera, a light feild camera captures the direction, intensity and color of every light ray--creating a 3D image that allows you to change the focus from one element to another. Tilt and perspective are also adjustable to some degree as well. The camera ships with the software, and once you're finished with the light field editing, you can still import the image into editors like Photoshop and Lightroom. For an example of the edits you can make with a light feild image, head over to the sample album by Lytro.

The Lytro ILLUM is no doubt very exciting for the world of photography. But it's difficult to pinpoint a rating for a camera that really can't be compared to anything else. The first model was a bit gimmicky, but the latest one seems have more actually photographic capabilities outside the neat editing options. Is a "40 megaray light field" sensor a good sensor? With the vastly different specs, it's hard to compare the Lytro ILLUM to anything but the original. Regardless, it still looks to be a pretty neat shooter and we'd love to take one for a test drive.


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