Gadchick Reviews: Lytro Light Field Camera

First let me explain why the Lytro is so revolutionary. Lytro claims to have "living pictures" meaning the camera captures every field of light the camera can see rather than the traditional limited lens. You snap a photo and later on with the Lytro softoware, can focus in 2D or 3D in any photo. I'm a huge fan of 50mm and macro settings, I was instantly sold on this. Every science and gadget blog is buzzing about it, but we'll be honest- is this a toy or a great photo tool for your life? Let's find out!

First the cons. This is what I wish could change;

Lytro only uses Mac OS. It's not made for PC's yet, but hopefully the second version will allow it's market to expand.

I'm not crazy about the quality of the photo, it's really low quality for being a pricey camera but I also understand this is the first version of the camera and I'm expecting sharper images for the second version.

I also don't like the software. It's slow on my Mac Air and even with a turbo charged iMac, I kept getting an error message. I know in order to "play" with the photo, you need the software but I wish there was a way Lytro can do with a website.

The photos come out in "instagram" square like sizes but I can't edit them. I haven't figured out how to edit them (from the forums I read, Lytro doesn't allow editing) and I'd like to add a filter or cropping, but I hope this changes soon.

The cover on the Lytro lens is magnetic. This causes issues when you have a few gadgets in your purse and there's a chance your $500 camera will be scratched (and no, you can't replace the lens in case it does).

What I did like and hope Lytro focuses on polishing up;

It doesn't use flash. It doesn't need flash, I took a few photos in a dark Disneyland ride and even with motion (even if the motion was like .3 miles an hour), it still caught a good amount of light.

The size is great. It's larger than a point and shoot but way lighter than a DSLR with a 50mm lens. I also did feel a little like Captain Jack when taking photos and the shape is unconventional, I had to explain to a lot of people what it was. The use of it is simple. I was able to figure it out within the hour, from normal mode to creative mode.

I love macro and buy expensive lenses with this feature. I don't need to think twice about manual settings, where to point it at, or what I even captured when I did shoot. The Lytro software allows me to focus after.

I like the equipment (or lack of). I lost the charger the first day I used it, but I had no problem using a basic USB that used to charge my Android and Kindle. It did download better with the right cable, though.

If you're a huge photo gadget fan and you need the latest and greatest with an Apple computer, yes, it's worth it. If not, save your money for the second version. I don't think you should completely skip out on this camera. It can do amazing things with photos and with a few improvements, the Lytro Light Field Camera can really change photography. You can buy it here.

Here are some Lytro photos you can play with to see if this is for you:

You can view more here.


  1. Ohh, I will admit that this has intrigued me a lot, the idea of focusing later is fascinating, would you say that the impact of that feature is noticable when editing like it is in the promotional videos?

  2. Scratch that, I didn't realise you could play with them on there, thats clever isn't it! Thanks!

  3. [...] Lytro Camera and an InterviewPublished 04/03/2012 | By Diana var addthis_product = 'wpp-264'; var addthis_config = {"data_track_clickback":true,"data_track_addressbar":false};if (typeof(addthis_share) == "undefined"){ addthis_share = [];}I had a chance to take a Lytro on my trip and I reviewed it for Gadchicknow that I’ve had a chance to play with it. You can read the review here! [...]

  4. This is very interesting. Thanks for posting this! I had heard about the Lytro on NPR a few weeks or months ago. It sounds like they still have a few kinks to work out. Ultimately, what are you supposed to do with the photo? Will you be allowed to print it?

  5. This camera definitely made me quite curious when Mashable introduced the whole idea a while ago. I do think the whole light field thing is revolutionary, like you I love depth of field that a wide aperture lens gives, but for now I think this is better as a concept. I don't mind the whole mac elitism but looking at the image embeds I'm wondering whether they don't even allow you to play with your photo & then export as a jpeg?I think I'll stick to film, dslr & iPhone for now. But in maybe five years when it becomes more practical I'll go for it.BTW thanks for the review. Looking forward to more stuff like this from Gadchick.