With terms like “light field engine” and “megaray sensor”, you would expect the Lytro Illum to be something out of a sci-fi film. Even the sleek design looks ahead of its time, but this digital camera offers many features that would come to expect from today’s prosumer devices, plus the innovative features that were made famous by the Illum’s predecessor.
Lytro, a Silicon Valley startup, introduced their first camera in 2012. This unique camera with an oddly shaped kaleidoscope design featured an innovation that allowed users to set the focus of the image after it was already captured. This featured was developed through camera technology that, instead of capturing images through pixels, uses Lytro’s Light Field Engine to capture rays of light. The Lytro uses the direction of rays, color, and intensity to allow dramatic composition and build a 3-dimensional space, which allows the digital image to focus on change focus on subjects in the frame after the image is taken. Pretty cool, right?
Lytro’s new model, Illum, uses the same Light Field Engine but also aims for a more professional feel and real camera design. The camera was conceived from the feedback of customers and photographers to understand the needs of Lytro’s target consumer. Thus, this prosumer device was born.
The Lytro Illum, which will cost $1600 (4x more than its predecessor), features a permanently mounted 8x zoom lens, which is the equivalent of a 30-240 mm lens. The lens has a constant f/2.0 aperture, 1/4000 shutter speed, and macro 1:3 reproduction ratio, making this camera great for action photography and taking sharp, crisp images.
The Illum contains built-in GPS and Wi-Fi, which is becoming increasingly popular in professional cameras. It also features all the basics, including hot shoe and tripod mounts, an external shutter release port, removable battery, and SD card slot.
Under the hood, the Illum features the quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, which is the same processor used in the Samsung Galaxy S5, meaning that you’re getting speeds comparable to the latest smartphones and tablets. The camera uses a 40 megaray customized sensor, which is hard to compare to standard camera sensors, but Lytro says that it is 4x more powerful than the sensor Illum’s predecessor, and it can produces images that are far better than the standard digital point-and-shoot or smartphone camera. Photos are captured in a standard 3:2 aspect ratio and can be dynamically previewed and adjusted on the 4” touchscreen.
You can preorder the Lytro Illum on their website for $100 less ($1500) than its actual retail price. There are also options for personalized engravings and an additional “special” strap. The Illum is currently estimated to ship in July. If this model is a bit out your price range, Lytro promises that other cameras are in the works and will appeal to a wider audience.