Is This Camera The Future Of Photography?

An overview of the latest features of Lytro’s Illum.

The new Illum camera by Lytro is revolutionary on multiple levels.

Since its inception, Lytro has attempted to radically transform the overall experience of photography. The first Lytro camera boasted of Perspective Shift feature which let the users to interactively change the point of view after taking the picture. Mashable called it “the biggest thing to happen to photography since digital”. The Illum goes one step further. It lets the users change the focus of the shot after it has been taken.


The Lytro Illum functions on the principles of light-field photography. Therefore, in order to understand its features, we would need to understand what light-field photography really is.

It is a camera function which captures the direction of light, in addition to its color and intensity. It allows the users to change focus after the photo is taken. Furthermore, it creates a parallax effect which allows the users to shift the perspective.

It has a zoom range of 30mm to 250mm and super wide f/2.0 aperture, which enables the entry of even more light. It also comes with a USB port and in-built wifi.

How is it different from the first model?

In terms of camera design, the Illum is entirely different from the previous model, which was essentially a five-inch tube with a lens opening at one end and a 1.52" LCD on the other. Compared to that, the Illum is certainly larger, heavier and more camera-like in the traditional sense.

In terms of technicalities, the Illum has overcome many limitations of the previous model. It addresses the issue of the low-res images in the Light-Field Camera by delivering higher resolution pictures. It has a 4” LCD touchscreen with a wide aspect ratio. Additionally, as compared to the 8GB and 16GB memory versions of the Lytro Light-Field, it has an SD card slot and no internal memory.

Comparison with other cameras

At first glance, it may look like a DSLR but it is significantly different. It has an enormous size and quite a bit of weight (2.07 pounds). Its lens is fixed to the camera body.

However, what sets it apart entirely from other cameras is its LCD. For starters, it doesn’t have a viewfinder, which is why the LCD is angled downward. Moreover, the display is also on an articulating arm so you could pull it up for low-angle shots.

Availability and Price

Right now, Lytro Illum is available for pre-order and will go on sale in July. However, the only problem is the price which stands at $1,599. Its price might be the reason why this camera will not be popular in wider audiences.

For a detailed first look at the camera, check out this video:

Because of the ridiculously high price, it seems that Lytro is aiming to carve a niche for itself. The company states that Illumadvances the light field category from novelty to game-changing visual medium that could one day rival digital and film.” The Illum might just be a cool toy to play with, for now, but it won’t be long before we see its overall impact on photography. 

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