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‘Son of Lytro’ announced

Lytro has unveiled the Illum light field camera, a serious upgrade to the original Lytro camera announced around two years ago.

IllumLytro cameras captures information about the angle from which light has arrived, allowing for post-capture depth of field control or 3-D images – what Lytro calls ‘living pictures’.

The Illum has a design closer to the look of a conventional camera and uses a larger, 1-inch sensor. It has a fixed zoom lens (30 – 250mm equivalent) with an impressive f2 constant widest aperture.

The Illum has 40 ‘megarays’ of angular resolution, which delivers an image of around 5-megapixel resolution.

Program, ISO priority, shutter priority, and full manual shooting modes are supported. The camrera ruins on the Android operating systems and includes shooting tools like a new depth overlay to help photographers preview the three dimensional characteristics of the image prior to capture.

It has a 4-inch articulating touchscreen LCD with 800×480 pixel resolution, and minimal physical controls. Top shutter speed is 1/4000 sec. The camerea weighs in at just under one kilogram.

In addition to enabling post-capture image adjustments, Lytro Illum’s proprietary software platform enables users to view images in 3D, build custom animations, export images into common formats like JPEG and share to the Web or mobile devices.

The Illum will be available in the US in July for US$1599 (pre-order US$1499).

Following the modern tendency towards pomposity and hyperbole in press releases, Lytro founder Ren Ng remarked: ‘We are very excited by the potential of this camera to ignite a photography revolution on the magnitude of the transformation from film to digital.’

Illum_leftOn the other hand, Darrell Etherington, a pundit on technology website TechCrunch opined that the Illum is not likely to ignite any sort of revolution, but is simply a photo industry curiosity: ‘The Illum is a beautiful gadget that tickles the hearts and minds of camera lovers and device addicts alike, but it ultimately represents another museum piece; Lytro’s building hardware that can occupy an ‘Eccentricities of the early 21st century’ display at a photography exhibit in the Smithsonian, while the real camera industry (read: the mobile phone industry) takes what it needs from Lytro’s advances and quietly ignores the rest.’

(Anyone out there remember Nimslo?)

Key features:
– Custom-designed 40-megaray light field sensor;
– 8x optical zoom lens (30mm-250mm equivalent);
– Constant f2.0 aperture across the entire zoom range;
– 1/4000 sec speed shutter;
– Extreme close-focus macro capability;
– Combination of tactile-controls and articulating touchscreen;
– Dimensions: 86mm x 145mm x 166mm; 940 grams;
– Hot shoe for flashes units.

– Integrated workflow with photo software from Adobe and Apple;
– Interactive depth feedback display;
– Virtual camera controls in post-processing, including aperture focus and perspective adjustments and physically accurate tilt control;
– Instantly displays 3D photos on 3D-capable devices;
– Integrated sharing to leading social networks including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+;
– Library of drag-and-drop cinematic animations,including pan,zoom,focus, perspective shift.

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