Lytro Illum in the Hands on: The New Way to Photograph

With the illum Lytro camera manufacturer wants to revolutionize photography. Whether that works out? We have already tried the new light field camera.

In recent years digital photography technique has not significantly changed: more megapixels, better optics, but that it was then already. Until now, because with the Lytro illum one can confidently speak of a revolution. The illum 1599 euro available from July, we could look at but now once the camera.

At first glance, the camera looks like a conventional SLR or bridge camera. The body with the lens firmly installed but opts for the so-called light field technology. Thus, the focus in a recording can be subsequently moved. This works by the fact that the digital camera takes not only the colours, but also the direction of the incident light. This can be changed not only the focus, even 3D effects are possible. Many Smartphone manufacturers now try this effect through a software solution to build – in comparison but with modest results.

To export of the illum photos, there is still no official software. As soon as the manufacturer supplies to the recording, we submit to them at this point. However we wanted to not deprive hands-on that you.

It is already the second Lytro camera with this technique. The little sister was released a year ago, still looked like an oblong box and was more of a feasibility study as a sensible camera: too unwieldy, too small display and little practical. Although the same technology inside the illum, but this time has Lytro alone by the design and the price more serious photographers in their sights. While the predecessor model captured eleven million light rays, are 40 million at the illum now, which makes for much more image information. And the photos now have the standard 3:2 aspect ratio instead of a square format.

Still Slow, but Flexible

An Android version is used as the operating system, a Snapdragon processor is installed in the camera. You can replace the battery, and the four-inch touch screen serves as a control panel. The illum, that we could try was a pre-production model – therefore it is to forgive, that the camera is sometimes a little slow responded. Also photographer with the operation will have to get to a little: many setting options, you had to perform image processing on the computer in so far can be adjusted directly on the camera. As a result, not every function is self-explanatory. And to scan the depth of field of the subject, an another button must be pressed before the camera is raised.

Whether the camera well strikes in professional applications, we will consider in a later test. But now optical gimmicks like 3D images and animations that were possible with the illum. Also photographing worked flawlessly: select subject, press the focus button and then trigger. To look at the photo, you can just wipes across the screen. The system calculates automatically all depth information and integrates them into the holder. Now, any point of the image can be selected directly on the display and move the focus as a result.

Gallery as Interactive Slide Show

An app available also to launch the camera then represents the photos in a beautiful Gallery, here you can change the depth of field with a wiping motion. A nice effect that makes much interactive slide shows.

We are convinced that our viewing habits for digital photos dramatically change this technology – photographing but mostly the way we. This effect may be comparable with the introduction of HD TVs: you once saw a high-definition movie, you want more no worse quality. Yet the illum is a gimmick, and maybe it will take a little in the light field photography, until it prevails. But the company is already working on a hardware solution for smartphones. And then nobody wants to give up sure more. Until then, the illum by Lytro is an exciting attempt to revolutionize photography.