Innovative rebel, but not suitable for mass production

Innovative rebel, but not suitable for mass production

Lytro light field camera ILLUM (40 Megaray sensor, 8.3-fold opt. Zoom, 30-250 mm focal length) (Electronics)

Customer Review

The light field cameras grow. Thus, it appears externally. After four days in practice, I regret to see that the Lytro Illum makes the impression of a young rebel in me that is difficult to tame.

Positives:
+ Excellent design
+ Universal, lichtstarkens all-around lens (30-250mm) without changing lenses
+ Innenfokus- and -zoom, ie the lens does not rotate and is not longer
+ Clear post-processing software with many non-destructive correction possibilities
+ Versatile use of the spatial image: 2D Export, focus stacking, animations
+ Highly customizable camera menu and buttons. I found this to be surprisingly important.
+ Good integration into social networks and photography websites such as 500px
+ German Manual and good, verständiche (albeit English) Training videos on the net

Negatives:
- Reasonably usable only for few motives
- Not quite sophisticated firmware and software
- Image artifacts (depending on subject type) more or less faulty "depth map" (spatial impression) of the camera
- To get Relatively low resolution 2D only 4MP, and even so it is difficult to really sharp images.
- Difficult exposure control on the camera monitor
- Huge (50-60MB large) image files, upon import to the computer even twice the size!
Necessary Very high time for photographing use, transfer images and image correction on the computer -
- Manual can be viewed only on the Internet. I found no print version. Partial only English available.
- Compare Wiese low battery life (estimated 250-300 images)
- High price for a technology-Toys

*** In Detail: ***

Target group and area of ​​application:
The applications for this camera are limited, limited by the specifications of the light field technology:
+ Portrait and wedding photography (The proportion of portrait photos in the Lytro gallery speaks for itself.)
+ Product photography (from watches to cars), at least as long as the product does not have to be complex 3D shape
+ Sculptures Photography
+ Photography in zoos (except fast moving subjects), botanical gardens, butterfly houses, etc.
+ Creative use by professional photographers in the field holiday and walker Photography
The camera does not or is not suitable, however, for my opinion:
- Landscape Photography (insufficient 2D resolution, subject in the near foreground almost imperative)
- Park Photography (with exceptions of certain plants ensemble with strong depth effect)
Branches and leaves in several layers in succession can not resolve neatly dimensional camera
- Architectural photography (with the exception of very special perspectives)
- Action and sports photography (up to the recording in the box has the right moment is long gone.)
- Social photography (? Fast times a Selfie and upload to Facebook Quick is here nothing at all, and a 50MP image you do not want to also send necessarily to friends.)

For technology and limitations of this type of 3D photography: (For details, see the video tutorial of Lytro.)
The Lytro takes with her 40-MP sensor not one but (apparently) 10 pictures on, which then corresponds to 10 focal planes. (How that correlates with the levels 20 displayed the depth of field, is beyond my knowledge.)
There is a depth of field (front-rear), where the image can be provided subsequently sharply, and this area is divided into two parts. Each of the areas has an optimum (at "-4" in the foreground and "+4" in the background) that are most clearly pictured. Objects in the middle (at 0) are apparently not optimal focus.
Photographing flat, or nearly flat objects with this camera does not make sense, because then you do not have advantages over a conventional camera, but the disadvantages of low resolution 2D and huge image files. The problem is that what one subjectively appears as great 3D pattern is often seen by the camera otherwise. An avenue to the next tree in 10m distance and the farthest at 500m distance is almost "flat" for the camera (uses only 3 of 20 focal planes). A landscape with tree in the foreground: flat. A flower with macro recording and another behind in 50cm distance - too far apart, which in turn is beyond the depth of field. The problem is: Unlike conventional cameras, the depth of field can not be changed, it is always F16. Influence, it can be only by zooming - the higher the focal length, the smaller the area. But the halt also changes the picture.
This means that if one takes an infinite landscape near as background, should be at 30mm focal length of the foreground somewhere at 1m. Photographed is a macro shot of a plant (at 30mm), there is a depth of field of a few cm. Can these good coverage, you have a good 3D image, it uses only a small part of it, or you would have to go beyond this range to cover all that is to be subsequently be focused, so you are out of luck. The camera determines quasi what works well and what does not. A basic knowledge for me!

Delivery and appearance: Excellent
The camera comes in a cardboard-quality, which one unfolds and in which each subject is then the accessories like battery, charger + cable, carrying strap, an ND filter (!), The lens cover and place a lens hood.
The designers have done a great job at the Lytro Illum. A no-frills, futuristic design shows that a digital camera in the DSLR format does not necessarily look like a classic SLR. The only drawback to this design: The bottom right edge (where the palm of the right hand supports the camera) should be round, there "pushes" the camera with prolonged use.

Ergonomics: Could be better
+ The camera is with ~ 1kg compared to an SLR with similar universal lens quite easily fits comfortably in your hand. However, one must keep it with both hands, because the left hand operates the zoom and focus ring.
- The two rings and a fixed portion therebetween can be haptically not differ, which is why I often accidentally turn the wrong ring or only have to look, where is the focus ring can be found.
+ The camera has relatively few buttons: on / off switch, Ausllöser that Lytro button to control the 3D histogram (How much the object is in front, in the middle, behind or out of focus?), And four customizable buttons back in the thumb area which by default are autofocus, AEL, "fixed-focus" and switch between recording and view mode. All other settings must be set on the touch display on a clearly arranged and also completely customizable vertical sidebar. The number of settings is relatively manageable, but sufficient. Specifically, there is no adjustment for
* The aperture, because the entire focus range is always F16 (The Lens' Maximum Aperture F2, however!)
* The image size and quality, because there is only RAW images with an effective resolution of 2D 4MP
* Saturation, contrast, etc., because these settings are changed from the RAW image later using the software.
+ The camera screen is 4 "quite large and can be swiveled by 10 ° down to be parallel to the focal plane - as well as for macro photography and 90 ° upwards.
- Dark image areas "drown" in the display, ie dark areas of a subject appear completely black and complicate significantly the assessment of the actual exposure. Luckily, there are a live histogram, and you can brighten underexposed images with the software later without any problem.
- The firmware provides a digital level and various raster overlays to assist the photographer in the picture has been composed.

Speed ​​and recording practice: Needs improvement
- When you start the camera after extended periods of non-use, it takes about 10 seconds until it is ready for operation. After a small break, however, less than one second.
- Conventional cameras I use mostly the autofocus when half-pressing the shutter button. When Illum that's not a good idea because then the camera focuses on the center of the picture, and there is rarely the scharfzustellende foreground or background motif. Therefore, the camera offers by default a separate AF button. Alternatively, you can select the subject on the touch display to which then the camera focuses. The camera remembers focus area over several shooting until you change it explicitly. This is advantageous, except with moving subjects like animals. Until one achieves focus (which lasts 1-2 seconds!) And then framing the shot and triggers the animal is often run out again from the optimal focus area. Nix 3D tracking ...
- In addition, a shutter lag of estimated - second. For example, I tried to take pictures of meerkats so rare and the animal was on the receiving yet nearly in the pose in which it was when I had pressed the shutter button.
- Just after you take a preview of the captured image is displayed. This is * always * blurred, since the calculation of the final image (which is done in playback mode) per image takes up about 3 seconds. If one wants to really get an idea of ​​the sharpness of the captured image, a change in the playback mode incl. Waiting time is required.

Conclusion related to recording: This is not a camera for quick snapshots. A willing (not which current) motif and the judicious choice of the depth planes and the receiving point are not necessary, though not sufficient conditions for a good 3D photo.

For software:
+ Lytro has bolted last year continuously on camera firmware and software image while also added new features such as an electronic spirit level.
- The last firmware update was around 200MB in size and the connection to the server bad. The camera was about 2h blocked downloading the firmware to the memory card. Luckily, you can also download the update manually, but as long takes.
* The camera firmware is kept clear, but requires reading the online help, as there are not so few functions in conventional cameras. One to two photo sessions should take a minimum of trial and error time.
+ Both the vertical menu bar and the four buttons on the side of the camera can be assigned a variety of functions.
+ If the picture in the box, it can be in the playback view, not only consider the way it was focused during recording, but you can also select a point in the image, and this is then in focus. But it works really convincing only when shooting with strong 3D effect. Has the image hardly depth, simply nothing happens.
- The problem I find that it is not possible to enlarge the picture in playback mode to detailed to check the sharpness of certain areas of the image, for example.
- Chance I had strange effects in the firmware. So once turned from even the zoom lock a, without that I had included this feature in my custom menu at all. Another time, images were black when the finger longer time it tapped (possibly due to firmware update fixed).

* The free downloadable software "Lytro Desktop" is visually apparently optimized for operating systems such as iOS or Windows 8 and Windows 7 on looks like an alien. Black, for no apparent the window, without separate title bar, etc.
+ The software is well-translated mostly into German.
- In contrast, the online help for the application is available in English only. And that is necessary, because the operating concept I did not self-explanatory: The with "libraries" are places in the / hard disks, where there are Lytro images. Each of which may contain several albums, drawers or folders full of pictures.
- Outside the Lytro application (s) can you do with the (huge) files in the libraries anything. For example, an export as a 2D JPG is necessary.
+ The Lytro application offers a variety of post-processing functions clearly arranged, from corrections of exposure and colors (incl. White balance), cropping, by setting the aperture to controlling the depth information.
- But you have to wait even with SSD and current PC a few seconds each, until changes are applied (in the background). But the adjustments are made non-destructive, so they can be undone at any time
- The application is the ability to export a "depth image", where you can correct errors of the camera in the analysis of the 3D environment. That's unfortunately (depending on the complexity of the subject) also necessary as the camera with fine objects (branches, grass) or strong 3D Konstrasten (bloom vs. background) so has its difficulties. Here time is required if one wants to the "living image" a perfect 3D impression without artifacts
- The representation of the image as an anaglyph works at least more bad than good with my red-cyan glasses. The red eye sees not only his side.

*** Conclusion ***
This is a camera for children and game specialists who not only matching 3D motifs (portraits, animals, plants), but also a large hard drive, patience during the incorporation and total plenty of time. Then you can shoot with the Lytro actually "living pictures" that makes fun to look at. Whether one that justifies the high price, you have to decide for yourself. One thing is clear: The Lytro Illum replaces any conventional camera.

We can only hope that future cameras make the technology truly mass appeal.

Elegant design, great price Rank: 5/5
January 17
Very good hard drive! Rank: 5/5
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Ubuntu Linux 12:10 Rank: 5/5
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Duvet cover 1 Rank: 5/5
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