The democratization of digital photography continues with latest Lytro update

lytro update light field camera
Today, Lytro has announced that its plenoptic consumer camera will now offer manual controls to its user. The camera, introduced this past summer, has been a controversial device for photographers: While it’s putting light field photography into users’ hands – something that’s never been done before – its first iteration status and lack of shutter and exposure control has led plenty of critics to call it a novelty.

For those who’ve missed the Lytro hype, the best way to describe the device is to talk about its focus-and-refocus feature. Lytro uses its megaray technology and untraditional build to take all of the light coming from every direction of the scene you’re shooting, which later means you can physically click on the photo when you’re viewing it via Lytro software to change the point of focus. The effect is riveting and sort of magical, but of course photography purists are going to point out that the inability to control settings means quality is sacrificed.

lytro manual controlNow, Lytro is addressing those concerns with its firmware update. “Manual controls give Lytro photographers the opportunity to take control of the exposure in a scene,” Lytro director of photography Eric Cheng says. “We introduced these feature as a result of feedback from our most creative camera owners, who are capturing things like subjects in motion or experimenting with artistic styles like light painting. With manual controls, they now have more flexibility as they push the boundaries of the light field.”

Users will now be able to adjust shutter speed (max is 8 seconds, minimum is 1/250 of second), ISO (range is 80-3200), apply the neutral density filter in bright settings, as well as the auto exposure lock.

Lytro provided us with some examples of images using these settings, and when compared with the samples we took when testing the camera (the top two photos are with the old version, the bottom two with the updated firmware), you can see there’s an obvious improvement – just don’t expect the results to rival those of Micro Four Thirds or DSLRs.

 

In addition to the firmware update, Lytro has also announced its added two new colors to the lineup: Moxie pink and seaglass.

lytro colors

The innovative camera company is iterating fast, and we already know there’s more in the pipeline from the team. A Wi-Fi enabled version of Lytro is on the way, although it’s unclear if this will be a firmware update or a new model altogether. In the meantime, we’ll have to be pacified with the new manual controls. 

Product Review

Want to see how powerful the Snapdragon 855 chip is? Just rev up the Xiaomi Mi 9

How fast do you want to go? If the answer to this is “as fast as possible,” then take a long look at the Xiaomi Mi 9. It’s one of the highest performance smartphones you can buy. It’s a real monster, and we’ve been using it.
Photography

Sony a9 camera gets even better as new firmware brings A.I.-powered autofocus

The speedy Sony a9 is a download away from more accurate autofocus. New firmware version 5.0 for the Sony a9 brings artificially intelligent autofocus modes to the action-oriented camera, as well as a boost to image quality with updated…
Product Review

Simple and small, the Google Home Hub is your low-key smart screen

What’s small, simple, cute, and lacks a camera? The Google Home Hub is the latest smart display to hit the market. Powered by Google Assistant, there’s a lot to like about this device.
Product Review

What do you do with 187 megapixels? The Lumix S1R is glorious overkill

The Lumix S1R is one of the most capable cameras ever made, from its robust build to extensive feature set. But its key feature, a 187MP high resolution mode, is something few customers will have use for.
Deals

The best budget-friendly GoPro alternatives that won’t leave you broke

Cold weather is here, and a good action camera is the perfect way to record all your adventures. You don't need to shell out the big bucks for a GoPro: Check out these great GoPro alternatives, including some 4K cameras, that won’t leave…
Computing

Nvidia’s A.I. Playground lets you edit photos, experience deep learning research

Nvidia is making it easier to access information on deep learning research. It has launched an online space with three demos for image editing, styling, as well as photorealistic image synthesis. 
Photography

Paper designs digitize in real time using an Illustrator-connected paper tablet

Love graphic design, but prefer the feel of real paper? The new Moleskine Paper Tablet - Creative Cloud Connected syncs with Adobe Illustrator in real time, turning paper sketches into digital drawings.
Photography

Insta-checkout? New Instagram service lets you shop without leaving the platform

Shopping on Instagram no longer means leaving the platform to checkout in a web browser. Instagram checkout launched in beta today with a handful of retailers, allowing users to checkout without leaving the app.
Computing

Make the most of your toner with our five favorite color laser printers

Color laser printers have improved dramatically over the years, and today's models offer both blazing print speeds and great image quality. Here are our favorite color laser printers, from massive all-in-ones to smaller budget options.
Photography

Sony’s latest sensor is stacked, backlit, and equipped with a global shutter

Say this five times fast: Backlit, stacked, global shutter sensor. Sony managed to cram all three technologies into one sensor. The result is a high-speed sensor with a higher resolution without sacrificing low-light quality.
Mobile

You can now use the innovative Red Hydrogen One on Google Fi

The Red Hydrogen One was first announced in 2017 and has been delayed a few times since then. Now, the Red Hydrogen One is finally available, featuring a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, 6GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage.
Photography

Looking to keep prying eyes at bay? Here's how to hide photos on your iPhone

People take tons of photos using their smartphones, but not all are meant to be shared or seen. Luckily, hiding photos on your iOS device is easy, whether you want to use built-in utilities or apps with added security.
Cars

Protect yourself and your ride with our favorite dash cams

Dashboard cameras can assist drivers in car accident claims, settle speeding ticket disputes, and even catch glimpses of incoming meteors, among other things. Here, we've compiled a list of the most noteworthy offerings available.
Wearables

The Tacs Nato-Lens is a watch for those who live life through a camera lens

Not all watches have to be round, or connect to your phone. The Tacs Nato-Lens is a stylish piece of wristwear with a design inspired by classic SLR cameras, making it a geeky timepiece for the camera and watch fan.