Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Lytro Illum upsetting to some, bringing the future closer

I was just looking at another article on the Lytro Illum camera, where they put it into the hands of a few professionals to see what could happen.

What gets to me is the negative comments about the camera, its technology, and how they show the hidden fear of the unknown.

Are people so afraid to change?  If Nikon and Canon were to stop making cameras, would they fall apart?  (That reminds me of people who were panicking during a BlackBerry blackout.)

I'm still a bit skeptical about using the camera, but at least the Illum model is shaped like a camera.  I want to use one, and given that I'm moving to a nearby area and can be there in a couple of hours, I'd like to test one, if the company is willing.  They can go with me while I try it.

On display at a local store

I think it's selling for US$1599.99.  That doesn't sound horrible.  My Olympus D-300L was $US999.99 and my C-2500L was originally $1499.99, though I only paid $850 for it because it was an open box deal.  They were experimental, as far as I'm concerned.

I don't really do a lot of casual photography.  I generally do sports or business photos, but there are times when I try to take a walk and find something interesting to photograph.  Since I'm moving to another area of the country, to a place I've never lived, I should have plenty to photograph.  I might as well try something totally new, correct?

I'm sure I'll have a handy, conventional camera with me at all times.  When I was walking up and down San Francisco, California, I was using my Olympus E-5 and 14-35mm f/2.0 combination--something small, correct?  :-D  I also had my bag of goodies on my shoulder, including the Panasonic GH3.  Nothing was light that day and I was dragging by the time I returned to the motel.

So, it might be good to go light, especially if I'm in a somewhat difficult environment.

What the Lytro people are doing is nothing short of amazing.  They're collecting a massive amount of information to allow the photograph to be re-constructed.  Of course, this can't be done with some Adobe product at this time.  They're still having trouble with FujiFilm's X-Trans sensors.

Next month, I will have moved and will be close to the San Fran Bay Area, so I could be at the Lytro headquarters in Mountain View (I think), to see what they're doing, and hopefully, they'll agree to a visit and a trial.

Update 2014.05.23: I've seen plenty of fearful comments about mirror-less cameras, also.  It seems that those who really don't know photography that well are afraid and speaking out about it.  I rarely see professionals who are afraid to try new equipment.  They may not like it, but they're willing to try it.  Wedding photographers seem to be the most resistant of professionals but I understand that.  When you have a whole wedding party yelling at you, you've got to deliver what they want, no matter what it is.  I've been asked to do two weddings and I wouldn't even consider photographing them.  I would do things my way, and that would not be the correct way.

I'm still wondering what all these hobbyists are going to do when they have no choice but to change.

If you've seen a Star Trek series, you've probably seen a holo-imager--a camera that apparently goes beyond 3D capture.  I see Lytro's technology as a start to get to such devices.

Update 2014.12.11: It was interesting to see Intel advertising Lytro's technology as their own.  Do they have no shame?  It reminds me of all those early 80x86 processors with the divide errors that never happened.

Update 2015.11.19: I've seen the Lytro Illum available at about half the price.  I'm concerned about buying one because the company might not make it.  Without the computer-based software, how would it work?  Would I have to keep an old computer to use it?

Besides this, quite a while ago, Panasonic revealed a patent about multiple focus planes.  Today, there was a rumor that a few days from now, they'll be implementing the patent in the GX8 that I have.  What's more is that Olympus has been ready to do this in the E-M1 firmware, version 4.0, which is about to be released.

These are both simplistic versions that require several photos but the technology will be a decent compromise for 2015.  The Lytro technology will likely prevail 10 or 20 years from now, although I hope that it will be sooner.  As soon as mirror-less interchangeable lens cameras will be dominant, things can go further.

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