Lytro light-field camera update brings manual control

Points to second-generation model with more traditional control

11 Oct 2012
Lytro

The Lytro light-field camera, which allows the focal point of an image to be adjusted after you've taken a shot, has gained a firmware update as the company looks to launch in additional countries.

Designed around a clever multi-capture technology, the Lytro camera - which looks more like a boxy torch than a camera - allows images to be captured and focused later, rather than the traditional camera system of focusing first. It's a clever trick, and one which opens up plenty of possibilities from interactive images where the viewer can choose to focus on any point from macro to infinity or simply fixing a one-off image where the focus was incorrect.

The technology hasn't caught on among professional photographers, however, thanks to a combination of a low quality image sensor and a lack of control over what the point-and-shoot camera does during the image capture. The former isn't something Lytro can easily fix without the launch of new hardware, but the company is keen to repair the latter with a new software download.

When installed on a Lytro light-field camera, the new firmware allows the camera's shutter speed, neutral density filter settings and auto-exposure lock to be adjusted - all features which were impossible to control from the camera previously. Shutter speeds can be set between 1/250th of as econd through to eight seconds, with ISO sensitivity of between 80 and 3200. The neutral density filter can be turned on or off, while the exposure setting can be locked.

It's a move which Lytro hopes will boost the appeal of its intriguing camera design, and suggests that the next model to launch will feature more traditional camera functionality and design - although will keep the focus-later light-field technology and fixed f/2.0 aperture.

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