60-Second Tech

Lytro Camera Refocuses on Upscale Audience

The Lytro Illum camera system allows refocusing of a photo after it's taken. It's faster guts and more professional design make the camera more attractive—and pricier—than its predecessor. Larry Greenemeier reports

Until a few years ago even the best digital camera couldn’t fix an out-of-focus photo. A start-up called Lytro introduced a solution to this in 2012 when they created a camera that lets you snap pictures and play with the focus afterward.
That neat gadget cost $400 and looked like a mini telescope. A new version expected this summer will offer additional advances. Called the Lytro Illum, it looks like a serious SLR camera and has a $1,600 price tag.
The Illum still uses a special sensor covered by a matrix of microlenses, which capture the entire light field. That’s an enormous amount of data about the color, brightness and direction of all light rays within a frame. The camera doesn’t have a focus mechanism—it comes up with an image based on a massive data analysis. You can then go in and change its choices.
The Illum improves on the original Lytro with a much faster sensor and processor, the same one Samsung uses in its new Galaxy S5 smartphone.
Probably more camera than most of us need. But a lifesaver when you screw up a once-in-a-lifetime photo.

—Larry Greenemeier

[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]

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