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3/27/2012
09:06 AM
Todd Ogasawara
Todd Ogasawara
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Focus On The Lytro: A Visual Tour

Who hasn't been frustrated by an out-of-focus photo? The Lytro Light Field Camera might be the most revolutionary change in photography since digital came along: it lets you refocus your photos after you take them. Don't sell your old digital camera just yet, though. The Lytro has some serious drawbacks, including a fixed amount of storage. Take our quick tour of this unusual camera's features, from touchscreen to output. To experimen




The first thing you'll notice about the Lytro is its unusual shape and size. This small boxy camera with textured rubber grip is just 4.41 inches long and 1.61 inches tall. It weighs 7.55 ounces. There are two models: the 8GB Lytro, which is available with a gray or blue anodized aluminum barrel and costs $399, can store about 350 photos. The $499 16GB model, available in red only, can store 750 photos. There is no option to add additional storage.


The Lytro's power button is on the bottom, a part of the rubber grip. Under a protective rubber cover on the bottom, you'll find a standard micro-USB port for transferring files to a Mac and recharging the camera's battery.


Alternatively, you can activate the camera simply by pressing the shutter button, which is integrated into the top of the rubber grip. You'll be amazed at how fast Lytro is--there is virtually no lag after pressing the shutter button, and it's ready to take the next photo after a quick preview of the image just recorded.

The top of the camera is also where you'll find the camera's unusual zoom control: a row of touch-sensitive raised bumps. To zoom in, you run a finger across the bumps left to right; to zoom out, you swipe right to left. The Lytro keeps the last zoom level active between uses, which might trip up some users. The touchscreen displays a small visual indicator for the zoom level but it's easy to miss; some users will no doubt turn the camera on and accidentally take zoomed photos. We've photographically enhanced the shutter button and zoom slider to make them easier to see here.




The Lytro has an 8X optical zoom with a fixed f-stop of f/2. A "creative" mode offers extended zoom and macro capabilities. Aside from these controls, there are no other camera settings. In theory, the Lytro's light field photography technology removes the need.


Swiping the Lytro's 1.52-inch touchscreen left to right switches from a live view to a playback mode. Swiping upward displays menu options, shown above, for switching to the camera's creative mode, displaying how much storage is left, or displaying the current battery level.




Tapping the gear icon in the top right of screen displays the camera's minimal extras: an About screen, a "delete all" option for photos, and a factory reset.


One of the Lytro's big limitations is that so far it works only with Macs. (The company promises Windows compatibility this year.) Plugging a Lytro into a Mac installs the OS X desktop software that comes on the camera. You can also download the software for OS X directly from Lytro.


Here's just one of many dynamic light field photos we took with the Lytro. Tap on any part of the photo to refocus it. To see the rest of our photos, see the full review.

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