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Nifty Lytro Camera Hitting Major Retailers Next Month

By - Source: Lytro via Engadget | B 9 comments
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The Lytro is headed for major retailers is several countries.

It's been a long time since we first heard about the Lytro camera. Announced back in the summer of 2011, the Lytro light field camera allows you to capture images and refocus them later by capturing all the light traveling in every direction in a scene. This means you can pick the area of the photo you want to be the focal point and the days of crummy focusing ruining an otherwise great photo are gone.


This week, it emerged that Amazon, Target and Best Buy will be selling the device in time for the holiday shopping season. Previously only available via the Lytro website, the device will hit major retailers in October. Best of all, this isn't a U.S.-only retail launch. The company said today that it would be partnering with retailers in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong and Singapore (including Blonde Robot, Qool Labs and Future Shop)to bring the camera overseas.

"Since introducing the Lytro camera just six months ago, nearly 400,000 light field pictures have been shared on Lytro.com. We are excited to take this picture revolution one step further by making Lytro available to more photographers in the US and around the world," said Charles Chi, CEO of Lytro.

If you're interested, you can snag yourself a Lytro from Target.com, BestBuy.com, and Amazon.com, starting October 9. Canadian photographers will have to go through Future Shop (same release date), while the Australian release date is scheduled for one day later at brick-and-mortar retail partners. Singapore and Hong Kong will also be through as-yet-unnamed brick-and-mortar stores from mid-October. Though the release doesn't mention pricing, the Lytro website currently lists the 16GB model at $499 and the 8GB model at $399.

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  • 5 Hide
    chomlee , September 25, 2012 6:02 PM
    Wow, that sounds like a huge leap forward in photo technology. Either Apple will try and buy them out or say they own the patent on the tech.
  • 1 Hide
    freggo , September 25, 2012 6:34 PM
    The resolution seems to be a bit on the low end for now but that will naturally improve over time.
    Definitely a product type to watch.
  • 3 Hide
    razor512 , September 25, 2012 6:57 PM
    hopefully they improve it. At ces, it sounded cool but in the real world, it really underperformed. Poor detail, no control over depth of field which was one of the main things people were looking for, and no matter what you do, none of the focal points are completely in focus, and the focal adjustment is only effective from about 4 feet to 20 feet from the camera, after that, there is no more focal control.

    overall it is a good idea but ended up being poorly implemented and overpriced
  • 1 Hide
    teh_chem , September 25, 2012 8:26 PM
    I love the technology behind the idea, but in practice, having followed them since they announced the tech., I still don't know what sort of user they're targeting. Enthusiast photographers have no issue with post-processing (generally required with Lytro photos), but lose out on many of the features/benefits of a standard camera that they rely on. Point-and-shoot people generally want a multi-purpose solution but don't tend to post-process (and it's my understanding that the Lytro camera does very poorly with low-light/flash-type of situations, which negates a huge portion of the time someone would be using a point-and-click).

    I think if this tech could be miniaturized easily and integrated onto a phone, it might become popular (because then you just do all of the "post-processing" within an app on your phone). But as a stand-alone device, it has a very "because we could" feel to it, without a real solid grasp of who will use it in the mass-consumer market.
  • 0 Hide
    agnickolov , September 26, 2012 6:35 AM
    Don't you just love the flash memory markup? 8GB for $100. At 50c per GB best real price these days, that's whopping 96% or 24 times markup!
  • 0 Hide
    army_ant7 , September 27, 2012 7:08 AM
    I wonder what the picture file formats this uses are called. They must be different, and I imagine that they may take up more space than a regular .jpeg or even .raw.
    Do they have a MicroSD slot?
  • 1 Hide
    teh_chem , September 27, 2012 1:21 PM
    Quote:
    I wonder what the picture file formats this uses are called. They must be different, and I imagine that they may take up more space than a regular .jpeg or even .raw.
    Do they have a MicroSD slot?

    The pictures are lytro's proprietary format (or should I say a non-standard format) that you can only work up with their bundled software to post-process and export jpeg's. Odd thing is, at least from their FAQs page, for the time-being the largest jpeg you can export is only 1080x1080 pixels. It could be that their detector is only that many pixels in length and width, so that's as far as you can process without up-sampling, but on the other hand, that's not very high-res.

    Also, no memory card slot, only the built-in memory. Each pre-processed ("raw" for lack of a better term) picture file is about 16MB, so on the 8GB version, it should hold around 500 photos.
  • 0 Hide
    army_ant7 , September 27, 2012 7:44 PM
    Quote:
    The pictures are lytro's proprietary format (or should I say a non-standard format) that you can only work up with their bundled software to post-process and export jpeg's. Odd thing is, at least from their FAQs page, for the time-being the largest jpeg you can export is only 1080x1080 pixels. It could be that their detector is only that many pixels in length and width, so that's as far as you can process without up-sampling, but on the other hand, that's not very high-res.

    Also, no memory card slot, only the built-in memory. Each pre-processed ("raw" for lack of a better term) picture file is about 16MB, so on the 8GB version, it should hold around 500 photos.

    Thank you for that thorough and well-educated answer. :)  It's very much appreciated. Wow, like others said, it could do with a lot of improvements... 500 photos before you need to transfer them would be enough depending on the shooter. The way this seems though, it's expected to be used all the time and not just for extra special shots, so it could fill pretty quickly for some I bet.
  • 0 Hide
    TheDane , July 18, 2013 5:05 AM
    Useless gimmick. Wikipedia says this about the current Lytro camera:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lytro

    "One drawback is low resolution: Users will be able to convert Lytro camera's proprietary image into a regular JPEG file, at a desired focal plane. The resulting image has 1080 × 1080 pixels – roughly 1.2 megapixels, and only 0.78 megapixels for a traditional 4x6 print."

    That resolution is a joke - not worth $399 in my book.And the benefit of not having do AF at the time the photo is taken is of less importance now due to Canon new MPAF (Multi Point Auto Focus) techology which in theory should allow for lightning fast and precise real time AF (especially nice for video shooters).