Most of the people opining about the Lytro have never seen one, never held one, never used one – but these days, I guess authority doesn’t count for much in a culture where everyone’s entitled to their opinion even if it’s not based on a single fact, completely wrong and slung with bad intent.
Now that I have that off my chest let me continue by saying I do have a Lyrtro. I’ve used one on multiple occasions and now I actually own one. I have owned one for several days now. So what you read from me is based on my own experience. You may disagree – that’s cool – but if you DO disagree, ask yourself what the basis of the disagreement is. If you haven’t ever seen, touched or used the camera you might want to ease up until you do. That said, here are 10 things that people don’t know or have wrong about the Lytro FIeld Camera.
1. They expect a launch product from a startup to be the be-all, end-all under $500 camera the world has been waiting for on day one. Silly – that’s just silly. The company is just getting started. This first camera is a mere proof of concept. It’s a way of demonstrating the technology and teaching people to think differently about photography.
2. Those who say the camera will fail because the launch product isn’t perfect have no idea what they are talking about. Lytro is very, very well funded. They are in it for the long haul. Their business is probably safer than many of the big name companies you can mention.
3. The Lytro is not intended to take the photographer out of photography. It’s in fact just the other way around. To use a Lytro properly, you must learn to see and think differently. It requires skill to use properly and those who think the “focus in post” trick is all this camera is about are sorely lacking information.
4. The Lytro is eventually going to have more features. The company will slowly unlock and rev features that make the camera more and more useful. They rightly focused on one thing to get the ball rolling. Once people get used to the idea of light field photography, they will be ready to take next steps and I’ve seen with my own eyes evidence that Lytro is ready to offer those steps. They won’t happen overnight – but they will happen.
5. Some say the Lytro photos can’t be shared – WRONG. Here are all the ways you can currently share a Lytro photo (that I know of.) You can print it on any printer (makes a good 5×5 print) you can save it as a JPG and share that like any JPG. You can send it to WordPress or Facebook via a plugin or upload to Lytro.com (free). Using Facebook, WordPress and Lytro.com you retain all the post-capture functions.
6. Some think that $500 for a first generation camera with this radical technology is too much. If they only knew that less than two years ago it would have cost tens of thousands of dollars to do the same thing, they might have a different opinion.
7. People who think in terms of shutter speed, low-light capability, depth-of-field, i.e., all the normal “camera” stuff are missing the point about the Lytro. It’s about the immersive experience. It’s not like any other camera so all the usual camera measuring sticks are pretty much meaningless.
8. The Lytro’s importance to us as photographers is more closely related to the impact it will have on photography’s future than it is its immediate ability to make cool photos.
9. Some people don’t like the shape of the camera. I have been saying for the last 15 years that there’s no reason for a digital camera to look like a traditional film camera. Marketing departments have demanded that because they knew digital would achieve quicker uptake if the cameras resembled film cameras. We’re past that. The digital v. film war is over. Digital won. There’s no need to make cameras that look like film cameras of old.
10. The complaints that have been voiced about the camera to be too small to be rugged are misplaced. We did a test (not on purpose) where dropped the camera five feet onto a tile floor. Not a nick. Not a scratch. No problem. Nothing broke. The camera works 100% as it should. It’s a tough little cookie.