Lytro Camera Innovates Photography with Flash

Thursday, March 01, 2012 by Sean P

It's always cool to see new technology innovate things that haven't changed in years.  

Lytro has created a new type of photograph that captures more (all) of the light field, making for very vivid pictures with great depth and allowing the image to be focused interactively after the photo has been taken with their new camera.  Since it does this is one snap, there is no need to focus the camera, and there is no delay from when you click the button.

Lytro Camera

The coolest feature, is that the viewer can click different parts of the image - something in the foreground, background, or somewhere in between - and the focus will change to sharpen that part of the photo, and blur the rest.  It's interesting to see how a story can unfold in the process of another portion of the image coming into focus, changing your perspective on the story once another section becomes visible.

The camera itself is small and simplified, looking like a small rectangular box with a bubbled lens on one side and a viewfinder on the other - that's basically it.  From the marketing and look of their branding and website, to the simplified camera itself, it's all very Apple-esque.  But, look inside the camera and it's a pretty genius design, with a combination of lenses.

I was glad to see they've used Flash for their main interactive medium for the pictures too, though if it's just a series of photos it's transitioning between, this could easily be done with iframes and jQuery (javascript / php).  I was hoping they would have baked in some additional things flash has to offer, like image data manipulation for things like effects or filters, to add even more style to the images.  For now, though, they seem pretty focused on simplicity.

The UX for playing with the focus could be a little better.  It's hard to know if there are spots you can click or not, or where the spots are, so the viewer will click around an image aimlessly for a moment before discovering a hot spot that can be focused.  There is some interest in that discovery moment and the anticipation can be somewhat engaging, but it can get old quick.  With some subtle icons on Hover, for example, this would be cleared up and easy to use.  Hopefully they implement some indicators and it will be a very easy UX.

Click the green in this image towards the bottom:

Check out these Lytro photos:  

13 Lytro Photos That will Make You Look Twice (LinkedIn)


It's very nearly iicpactmrable to manually fire a flash to coincide with critical a shutter button. Flash duration is so fleeting, you'll rarely get the timing aptly.If you trigger the flash optically (from the flash on the digital camera), then if the flash has red-eye reduction or TTL metering (any or both highly liable in a compact camera) it fires pre-flashes. What happens is that your slave' (open-air) flash fires off on the pre-flashes and doesn't have time to re-payment in time for the main flash.To trigger a flash you need to disable the red-eye place the flash into blue-collar mode, so it doesn't fire metering (TTL) pre-flashes you may not be able to do this on your camera. The common way to trigger flashes on DSLR's is to use a touchtone phone logic trigger on the hotshoe or to use an optical logic.Incidentally, compact camera's DON'T have leaf shutters, they sync at any speed in view of the fact that the shutter' is electronic it's the feeler life turned on/off.It is doable to fire your flash manually during a long exposure (ie a few seconds or longer) but I am assuming this is not what you want to do. 0Was this answer helpful?

Post Comment

Email Address:
Comment: *