Lytro Finally Introduces a Camera That Creative Professionals Will Want

The Lytro field camera was cute, but completely impractical for anyone who really wanted to take professional imagery. It was a weird rectangle that just never felt like anything more than a toy. Today Lytro intends to change that with the release of their professionally-focused Light Field Camera Illum. It comes with a 30mm-250mm lens equivalent with a constant f/2.0 aperture and will ship starting July 2014 for $1,599.

The Illum and accompanying software is "designed to redefine the way we portray the world around us. Built to harness the full power of the light field, the professional-grade LYTRO ILLUM will give photographers a new medium capable of capturing visual experiences in their purest form - not as a static cross-section of reality but an authentic, interactive window into their world."

To enable such rich, layered compositions, LYTRO ILLUM delivers unparalleled optical versatility by merging custom-built hardware with a powerful software platform. The camera offers a 40-megaray light field sensor, 8x optical zoom range, constant f/2.0 aperture and a high-speed shutter capable of freezing motion under a wide variety of conditions. After image capture, the innovative software platform empowers photographers to adjust aspects of images that were previously fixed, such as focus, tilt, perspective shift and depth of field, which allows the photographer to create images that will resonate for the viewer not just in one dimension, but in every dimension.

As part of the launch, Lytro is offering a variety of exclusive opportunities to those who pre-order the camera before July 15. In addition to receiving a specially-engraved LYTRO ILLUM for a special introductory price of $1,499 and an extended two-year warranty, they'll be eligible to join an inner circle of Lytro users with insider access to product development insight and support. Even after the product ships, this nucleus of early adopters will continue to receive ground-floor insight and training from the Lytro team, with opportunities to contribute to exclusive developmental projects.

As part of their status as early adopters, individuals who pre-order will have the opportunity to submit their own photo series to earn a spot in the Ultimate Lytro Photo Experience ‹ a once-in-a-lifetime trip to shoot alongside a prominent photographer on an all-expense paid photo shoot. The Lytro team and this pro photographer partner will be on hand to provide high-caliber, hands-on training and practice for getting the most out of LYTRO ILLUM. As the larger photography community gets acquainted with this new style of digital art, these early adopters will have an inside edge on techniques for producing cutting-edge Light Field Photography.

Camera Features:

  • Custom-designed 40-megaray light field sensor
  • 8x optical zoom lens (30mm-250mm equivalent)
  • Constant f/2.0 aperture across the entire zoom range
  • 1/4000 of a second high-speed shutter
  • Extreme close-focus macro capability
  • Combination of tactile-controls and smartphone-class, articulating touchscreen
  • Dimensions: 86mm x 145mm x 166mm; 940 grams
  • Hot shoe supports all leading flashes

Software Platform

  • Virtual camera controls in post-processing, including aperture focus and perspective adjustments and physically accurate tilt control
  • Instantly displays 3D photos on 3D-capable devices
  • Integrated sharing to leading social networks including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+
  • Library of drag-and-drop cinematic animations, including pan, zoom, focus and perspective shift
  • Interactive depth assist
  • Workflow is compatible with existing photo-editing suites like Adobe's Photoshop and Lightroom software and Apple's Aperture software

lytro illum press image angled

lytro illum press image back

lytro illum press image direct front

lytro illum press image front

lytro illum press image side

lytro illum press image top

lytro illum press images other side

In addition to enabling post-capture image adjustments, LYTRO ILLUM's proprietary software platform enables users to view images in 3D, build custom animations, export images into common formats like JPEG and share to the Web or mobile devices. LYTRO ILLUM's workflow is also compatible with existing photo-editing suites like Adobe's Photoshop and Lightroom software and Apple's Aperture software, allowing creative pioneers to use the tools they already use.

I love this. The tech finally seems more approachable, and it's a camera that feels like a camera. Who else is excited about this? For more info, head on over to Lytro.com.

UPDATE: Imagine translating the images into video. This video provided to us by Lytro shows how you can create living pictures, similar to how After Effects can be used to bring movement to photos:

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46 Comments

Previous comments

There are more examples if you click the arrow keys but I understand that having the car as the first example was not very smart on fstoppers part.

Yes, it looks as if it still has limitations on how much depth of field control it can fully achieve. Especially when shooting something up close or macro. Still impressive if you ask me.

Its a cool technology capturing a large range of light. but the company should not MAKE cameras, they should have sold off the technology to a big company like Canon Nikon, etc.. (CASH OUT) I just don't find a use of this camera for the major price point of 1500 bucks to use their proprietary software to view images on. Also I messaged the company when they announced the technology years ago, and told them you can do the same thing with image stacking... Their responds back to me was that will never take off... Now Google is competing with Lytro using image stacking with free software that will become avalible on your everyday phone cam...

Do you know, when I first saw the original, I actually wondered if the light-field thing was a con, and they were essentially using the software for image stacking. I'm sure they're genuine, but its interesting we had the same sort of thought!

only thing is canon or nikon would would hold it back they are not exactly inovative, maybe fuji should take it over.

what about ISO ?

obviously lytro has its future in video, but recording 20mpx video is a thing of the future.

Nick West's picture

Is it possible to export individual fields? That would be pretty interesting for easy cut-outs/composites.

It makes you wonder about the future of photography with technology like this. Compare this to the original and were only a few years down the road, what will it be like in another few years? Its not ready to replace any of my kit yet but its one to keep an eye on

Going to make doing the parallax effect much easier haha

With a 3.19 crop factor, that aperture is 6.38 for, roughly, a 10-80mm lens.

The shape looks cool. Almost Mac like except for the colors.

Who actually believes that's a functional ergonomic design?

If you click and hold down the mouse button while dragging, then everything comes into focus at once, and it moves around like a 3d effect. Neat.

Would have bought this camera no quesiton's asked if its output was at least the resolution of 4096 pixels × 2160, 8.8 megapixels. That way I could crop my shots for widescreen video. I am personally looking at this camera as a video tool for a film I want to create. But as is with low res and 4:3 pics...not exactly winning me over.

Mark Alameel's picture

I still think all the "focus" points look blurry... I really want this technology to take off but it just doesn't seem there, yet. Imagine being able to pull focus just an inch or two to get the perfect capture when shooting f1.2 on a face...