The Lytro

What is the Lytro? It’s a new camera that captures every light ray that hits its “light field” sensor, as opposed to conventional cameras that capture only a single plane of light in focus.

What the Lytro does is capture an image similar to how your eye sees it. Once you have imported the image into your computer, you can decide on which part of the image you want to focus.

There are no megapixels (or pixels for that matter). Lytro uses a completely new technology, a light field sensor, which uses megarays. To be exact, the Lytro captures 11 Megarays. All this information is processed by powerful software using sophisticated algorithms. To know more about the Lytro, click here. For the more technically minded ones, read the CEO’s dissertation here.

So what is this new technology capable of?

  • The viewer of the image can focus on whatever object or part of the image he/she desires.
  • The perspective of the scene can be shifted
  • The viewer can shift between 2D and 3D views, making viewing images a more immersive experience.

Some features and specs:

  1. 8X lens (35mm-280mm – 35mm equivalent) with a constant f2 aperture
  2. multi=touch 1.46″ LCD screen
  3. No auto-focus or shutter lag
  4. Two storage versions: 8GB (350 Pictures)and 16GB (750 Pictures) – Internal Flash drive
  5. Light field resolution: 11 Megarays – 1080×1080 image if converted to JPEG
  6. Li-ion batter
  7. Software: Light Field Engine v1.0
  8. Weight: 214 grams

Processing steps:

  1. The files are stored internally in the .lfp (Light Field Picture) format
  2. Install the free desktop application that is provided on purchase – Only works on Mac OS X 10.6+ – No PC version yet.
  3. Import the files into application for processing
  4. Upload files to – Free for now. T & C here.

To see examples of what the .lfp file is capable of, click here.

The Lytro comes in two versions. The 8GB version is currently priced at $399, while the 16GB version is priced at $499. Please check the Lytro Official Website for latest prices and how to buy. The official Lytro Blog is here.

Note: Red’s Jim Jannard is keen on this technology:

One thing I will say is that we are working on multiple focus and depth map (think Lytros) but with wicked high resolution… The prototype is incredible. Don’t tell Gizmodo or Engadget. :-)


Exciting times, this!