Lytro Illum Camera Delivers Groundbreaking Features

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2014-04-25 Print this article Print

Lytro, a company that attempts to give photographers far more control over their pictures than the average camera maker, unveiled the Illum recently. The camera, the second from Lytro, will retail for $1,599 when it goes on sale in July and comes with a wide array of features that would make any ambitious photographer think seriously about parting with the cash for this camera. The Illum is a "light-field" camera, which means it is able to capture highly detailed digital information about any photograph. Photos taken by such cameras can be edited in much more sophisticated ways than the typical digital camera. For example, such photos can be refocused after they are taken. So this technology allows photographers to correct some of their mistakes to save an otherwise well-framed photo. Light-field technology also creates a 3D effect that users won't find in other types of cameras. With the Illum, high-end photography won't be the same when it's all said and done. Take a look at this eWEEK slide show for more details about what makes the Lytro Illum so appealing to both novices and professional photographers.

  • Lytro Illum Camera Delivers Groundbreaking Features

    by Don Reisinger
    1 - Lytro Illum Camera Delivers Groundbreaking Features
  • The Hardware Is Top-Notch

    There's nothing wrong with the hardware components in the Lytro Illum. The device comes with an 8x optical zoom and a custom-designed 40-megaray light-field sensor. And since it weighs just 940 grams, it won't be difficult to carry around when exploring the wilderness and taking shots. One other interesting item: It's running the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor as the Samsung Galaxy S5. In other words, it has some real power under the hood.
    2 - The Hardware Is Top-Notch
  • The Software Makes the Experience

    Although the hardware is nice in the Illum, it's the company's software that ultimately appeals to photographers. The built-in software takes captured photos and allows users to modify depth-of-field, pan and tilt around a particular object, and modify which part of the image is in focus. Without the software, the Illum hardware is much less effective or valuable.
    3 - The Software Makes the Experience
  • Post-Capture Editing

    Following that, it's important to point out just how essential the post-capture editing is to the Illum's sales pitch. In fact, it might just be the main reason people buy this device. With the device's software, users can change perspectives, add cinematic animations and modify aperture focus. There's even out-of-the-box support for 3D rendering, meaning the "2D" images that photographers snap are shown in full 3D (because of the camera's unique technology) on 3D-ready devices.
    4 - Post-Capture Editing
  • It's All About Light

    Ultimately, the secret sauce in the Illum picture-taking is light. That aforementioned 40-megaray light-field sensor is capable of capturing light color and intensity, as well as the direction of the light in a particular photograph. That functionality creates a 3D effect and the interpretation of light lets users make all of the post-capture modifications. It's hard to describe just how important light is to the Illum without seeing examples of the technology at work.
    5 - It's All About Light
  • Fully Compatible With Existing Software

    Here's an important note for professional photographers: The Illum works with existing, popular photo-editing software. So, whether it's Adobe's PhotoShop or Apple's Aperture applications, users can take the images they've snapped with the Illum and incorporate those into the platforms for additional editing options. That's extremely important to professional photographers.
    6 - Fully Compatible With Existing Software
  • It's Nice to See Preorder Benefits

    Too often, companies make products available for preorder and offer nothing that would make people want to jump at the chance to place an order. Lytro has addressed that issue by offering a $100 discount on those who preorder the Illum. In addition, the Illum will be specially engraved and come with a two-year extended warranty, and preorder customers will be eligible to receive additional training from Lytro.
    7 - It's Nice to See Preorder Benefits
  • It's High-End but Cheaper Than High-End DSLRs

    There's no doubt that the Illum is expensive at $1,600, but compared with some of the higher-end single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras on the market, it's not even close. The super-high-end DSLRs, like the Canon 5D Mark III, will set customers back more than $3,000 just for the body. Midrange SLRs will come in around $2,000. The Illum provides a great value, given its competition.
    8 - It's High-End but Cheaper Than High-End DSLRs
  • The Merger of Art and Photography

    There's no doubt that photography is art, but the Illum allows photographers to show that far more effectively than they can now. With typical DSLR cameras, photographers need to find an inspiration, snap countless photos to get it just right, and then import those to photo-editing tools. With the Illum, many of the tasks accomplished by photo-editing tools can be done right on the device, thanks to its built-in technology. Never has the art of photography been so closely matched with camera technology.
    9 - The Merger of Art and Photography
  • Its Design Improves Upon Its Predecessor

    The Illum is actually Lytro's second-generation camera. The first-generation Lytro comes with some of the same features as the Illum, but has a strange, rectangular design that's neither attractive nor functional. Although the Illum isn't the most beautiful camera in the world, it takes on a more traditional design and improves upon its predecessor.
    10 - Its Design Improves Upon Its Predecessor
  • It's Actually Innovative

    Innovation is a word tossed around all too often nowadays. And in far too many cases, companies simply aren't producing innovative products. But the Illum is innovative, and it does come with technologies that customers can't find elsewhere. Lytro should score some points for thinking outside the box and providing something special.
    11 - It's Actually Innovative

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