Lytro "Light Field" camera - interesting but limited tech, unusable software

2012-03-18 17:40:00 -0400

Originally posted on tumblr

I've taken around 300 pictures with the Lytro ("shiny red" 16G model.) since it arrived 3 days ago. Initial impressions:

As for the specific horror of the Mac(-only) software (and the reason I'm writing this post without having any pictures to attach to it, it's still not finished running):

Also, the license has terms that I would never agree to for a normal camera... or even normal software:

If it weren't for the fact that I want to screw around with an alternative approach to photography, and am already putting up with a lot just for early access to the toys, I'd return the device just for the license terms; at least in the short term, I'll put up with it, but it's very much not something I can recommend to others. (Fortunately, the device is also so limited on the photography side that I can tell people they're not missing much...)

Most of the result of shooting with it is that I want the tech in a dSLR, so I can use it with a 250mm lens, which is where I find focus and depth of field actually matter. Basically the only shots I've ever wanted to refocus were extreme zoom with very narrow depth of field, and it's always been "missed the subject", not "want to swap subject and background".

All of that said, I suspect a non-photographer (say, someone who only takes pictures with a cellphone) would have a different perspective, and possibly get more out of the device - as a substitute for learning (and doing) in-camera composition.