The Good The eye-catching, revolutionary Lytro Light Field Camera creates photos that you can refocus again and again -- after you've shot them -- opening up new creative possibilities.
The Bad The proprietary Lytro image file format can only be processed and edited with Lytro's software. Low-light photo quality is disappointing. Its LCD is poor for such an otherwise high-end device.
The Bottom Line The Lytro Light Field Camera rethinks photography with its unique hardware and fascinating image output. But if you're not a gadget-loving early adopter with deep pockets, steer clear until Lytro makes improvements.
Lytro Light Field Camera
Editors' note: On July 24, 2012, Lytro released a Windows 7 (64-bit) version of its desktop software, which is required to offload and process pictures from the light-field camera. The Lytro camera can now be used with Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later and Windows 7 (64-bit) computers. This review and the product rating have been updated to reflect this availability.
The Lytro camera won't be ignored. Just one glance at the arresting design of this long, rectangular device and you'll understand that the Lytro represents a complete rethink of the camera industry as we know it.
Instead of relying on the standard sensor found in other digital imaging devices and cameras, Lytro outfits this camera with an array of microlenses that allow it to capture the color, intensity, and vector direction of rays of light. Called light-field photography, the technology allows the camera to shoot instantly without the need to focus first.