Lytro Camera Review

Lytro Camera

Lytro Camera Review

The Lytro Camera lets you refocus a shot even after you’ve already taken it. You can do this one the camera itself, when you transfer it to your computer, or even while the photo is uploaded (hosted on Lytro.com). It’s definitely a novel idea but the challenge is for it to become more than just a toy. The Lytro is actually in danger of becoming a one dimensional product especially if it can’t take decent shots like normal cameras. Read our full review below to find out if it’s worth your hard earned money.

Lytro Camera video by Unbox.ph

Click here to read our Lytro Camera Unboxing article.

Usability

The Lytro is shaped like a rectangularish telescope. It’s definitely not ergonomic and you’ll probably raise a lot of eyebrows when you try taking photos with this in public. I think I spent more time explaining to people what Lytro is and how it works versus taking actual shots!

Beside a Nokia Lumia 710

Using the Lytro is straightforward. You have a viewfinder at the back and the lens at the front. There’s a touch sensitive line at the top of the viewfinder for zooming and the viewfinder itself is a touchscreen. Swiping up brings up settings and options while swiping to the left shows all the photos you’ve taken. There is no micro-SD card, the Lytro Camera we had packed 16GB of storage. To charge and transfer pictures there’s a micro-USB port.

How do you view the photos on your laptop? When you first connect the Lytro via micro-USB it will install the program in your MacBook. It’s like iPhoto for the Lytro (note that there’s no program yet for Windows). This program lets you view your photos and upload them in the Lytro site or on Facebook. Transferring photos takes quite a while.

Okay enough of talking about the camera. Let’s go to some sample shots!

Sample Shots

Let’s start with a couple of photos that will really highlight the Lytro’s capabilities. Just click anywhere in the photo to be able to refocus.

The shots above showcase multiple layers making it possible to enjoy the refocusing of the Lytro. For the next set I have a couple of pictures with people in them. Again the challenge here was to find a foreground otherwise it will just look like a normal photo which defeats the purpose of the Lytro.

Now let’s do a couple of lowlight pictures. These were taken during the recently concluded IMMAP Open Mic Night event at Salon De Ning.

As you can see the quality isn’t that good in low light conditions. There were also times wherein the refocusing won’t work.

Pricing, Availability, and Verdict

The Lytro Camera isn’t available in the Philippines yet. It sells for around $500 USD (almost same price as the 16GB iPad) in the US. Based on our testing we can’t really recommend it to people. Yes, it’s innovative. Yes, it’s fun. However at this point it’s just a toy. It can’t compete with good digital cameras and SLRs so at the end of the day it’s only good for the refocusing which means you’ll need to take pictures in a certain way.

This doesn’t mean though that the Lytro doesn’t have potential. If the makers can find a way to put this into a smartphone then you have a truly awesome product. :)

PS: Thanks to Direk Paolo Dy for loaning us the Lytro Camera.

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