Tuesday, August 26 2014

[01:41:47] matt []/Psi.cor Slightly longer review of the Lytro Illum camera:

Thursday, August 21 2014

Lytro Illum: 30 second review
[12:59:53] matt []/Psi.cor I finally picked-up my Lytro Illum Camera after its shipment delay (due to "technical difficulties at the fulfillment center") and found enough time to write-up my initial impressions after fooling around with it for a short time. Since I haven't really tried to take any real shots with it yet—the camera on paper is about on par for 2-D photographically with a 2001 Canon EOS-1D or a 2003 Nikon D2H. ISO at 2300 looked (subjectively) as good as the 2006 Canon EOS 20D at 1600 as a rough guide at noise control (although the much newer Leica X2 also doesn't like shooting above ISO 1600).
Lytro Illum: 10 second sofware review
[12:59:58] matt []/Psi.cor The on-camera software is the part of the Lytro Illum about which I find myself most pleased. There are four programmable buttons (labeled for auto-focus, auto-exposure lock, hyperfocal-distance focus, and a generically labeled "function" button), as well as one non-programmable "Lytro" button which toggles—basically—focus-peeking. Of course focus peeking on a Lytor camera is a bit different, but it's still quite nice. Zooming and focusing rotation direction are both controlled by the same setting toggle which is reasonable.
Lytro Illum: 10 second desktop software review
[13:00:01] matt []/Psi.cor The desktop software is the oddest bit. It's better than the version 1 of the software I last used. It has basic controls for exposure, and exposes tilt-shift dials (although given the Lytro focus on style and integration, I'd have expected something a little fancier than two sliders to control this—I'm not sure if I should be happy or dissappointed though). While the camera looks like it was designed by photographers, the software looks like it was designed by software developers who hadn't developed raw images. There's no way of selecting a custom grey point either on the camera or in the software, so you're stuck sliding the temperature and tent which is an inexcusable oversight.

Monday, August 11 2014

[23:05:35] matt []/Lilith According to the eMail Lytro sent me on the first, my Lytro Illum camera should ship today (8th-11th; pending as of noon).
[23:08:08] matt []/Lilith Looking at the diagrams on the Lytro Web site for the Illum camera, it actually looks quite nice, with both a manual zoom and a manual focus ring.

Wednesday, May 30 2012

Lytro Photos
[05:09:15] matt []/Psi.generay The Lytro cameras have an unfortunate propensity for blowing highlights, blooming, and related sensor issues. The one thing I noticed looking over my travel photos that I took with the Lytro was that the blooming (which can often spill over, innundating a large portion of the sensor) leads to an surreal quality at times, although frequently is just frustrating.

One of the few photos that I actually liked the affect was this one that I took in Narita Airport waiting for the flight back to the States:

. The window is blown, and there's obvious colour shifts because of the over saturation, while most of the people are very underexposed. I actually like the way that much of the waiting area itself seemsto be reasonably exposed, with the blown windows re-inforcing the focus in the room. The underexposed people are really not very important in themselves to other travellers, but their actions and obvious localized concerns are still visible: the family seated in the center conversing, the girl towards the right excitedly asking her father questions about the trip, the single traveller nonchalantly walking across towards the board, gate, or back towards the stairs--it doesn't really matter to anyone else.

While I like how this photo turned out, I'm still not a fan of the camera, and actively trying to recreate it is too dependant on the environment rather than ability; and carrying it around for just the right environment seems silly, especially given other limitations such as resolution--not to mention that annoying lens cap that always seems to dissapear when you remove the camera from the bag.

Friday, May 25 2012

Dissapointed with the Lytro Camera
[06:27:28] matt []/Psi.generay I split time on my recent vacation in Japan between my DSLR and my Lytro camera. I had some dedicated days where I just used the Lytro, and it was the only camera I carried with me. Other times, I carried it once I'd put the DSLR away. It has some bennefits, but I don't think I'll keep it as a real back-up, even over my main phone's fixed-focus camera. Prox has similarly indicated he's not enthused about it, to the point he's going to sell his.

Walking around, my impression was that it was hard to see the LCD in actual light to frame a photo; if you're using it for the touted bennefit of shoot-first, focus later, the difficult with framing on the small screen while squinting in daylight causes the process to take longer than most camera's would with auto-focus. As has been mentioned in every amateur photographery review of the device, there are no manual exposure controls at all, and I couldn't find a means of AE-lock either, which means you're at the mercy of the environments for the final exposure unless you're shooting in a studio. And if you're in the studio, you can use a tripod and take several much higher-quality shots at different focus points and create the same depth perspective (at least until Lytro adds 3D modeling based on the depth-map which would be much more difficult with the in-studio fakes).

Since I didn't bring my hefty Mac OSX laptop (another drawback is that the camera is basically tied to its proprietary closed software to convert photos from the device to a rendered lightweight version) I looked at the photos on the device, and my reaction was that the results were much better than I had expected, while many shots from indoors in non-ideal lighting were blurry, and night shots were very noisy. Many however included frustrating white balance settings which were also not within the user's control. Still, I felt like maybe I'd underestimated its bennefits as small little camera.

However, after getting home and looking at the final results on a computer (extracting the JPEG files and looking at full size) it again was dissapointing. Downsampling from the 1024x1024 square (I like square film, so I was quite happy with this) could probably fix the blockiness, and banding perceptually, but it's clear that this isn't something you'll want to look at blown-up or even larger than a 4x4 if printed. Again to be fair to Lytro, they've said as much.

Tuesday, April 3 2012

[01:41:35] matt []/Psi.generay I'm not a fan of the Lytro camera's magnetic lens cap. It seems to come off in the bag all of the time. There's a lot of things that are much better than that feeling of touching smooth glass when trying to find your camera.

Monday, March 26 2012

New Lytro Camera
[19:08:42] matt []/Trip My new Lytro camera arrived. The included software seems pretty easy to use, but rather pointless and not very featureful, but as it sits, since they don't support something standard or documented
( ), it's necessary.

The best file documentation I've found so far is:

and the native application stores things in $HOME/pictures/Lytro.lytrolib/images/

Friday, October 21 2011

Lightfield Cameras
[15:17:17] matt []/Psi.dementia Lytro, based on the founder's work while at Stanford from around 2005 through 2007, has started taking orders for hand-held light field cameras that should ship in early 2012.

They sound cool. The practical use at the moment is not entirely clear, but I'd expect some pretty interesting exposures to come out over the first few years that just weren't possible before (with consumer-level equipment). Given the dimminuitive size of the Lytro device, it seems reasonable to carry as a replacement for a point-and-shoot, and as a companion for a larger SLR or medium-format camera.

On the subject of medium formats, there is a page from someone from the University of Maryland providing a how-to on converting a medium format Mamiya to a light field camera for only $5--and the cost of the medium-format system which will be magnitudes more than the $400-$500 charged for a much smaller Lytro device. Nevertheless, it may help you understand a little bit more of what's going on.