01.Lytro light field camera
Price: $US399 - $US499
This camera is a long way from being a must have, but it points the way to a potential for a future free of misplaced focus.
While many of our findings are negative, there’s one thing the Lytro does that has camera reviewers around the world excited - it allows you to choose a focus point after taking an image.
This means the disappointment of taking an image where your camera focuses on the background rather than the subject you intended, would no longer be a problem.
- It can be difficult to use, mainly because the touch screen is intermittently unresponsive and the zoom control requires a number of actions to get from wide to tele mode.
- It produces low resolution images with significant noise and artefacts, but with large file sizes.
- The camera is slow to react to changes in exposure.
- You’re restricted to using an Apple computer and the Lytro website if you want to process or share your images.
- There’s very little you can do once the image is uploaded, other than rate the image or fiddle with the focus point.
- Images have no sign of data included (e.g. time, date, exposure details), which can make storing and managing them difficult.
- There’s no video mode.
The Lytro isn’t a practical replacement for a compact camera yet. If you collect cameras, it could be an interesting addition to your collection as an example of a potential game changer for consumer photography.
However, there’s a lot of development needed before the ability to retrospectively select a focus point could be included as a feature in a fully-functional compact camera, at a reasonable price.
Our sister organisation Consumer Reports in the USA has a more detailed look at the camera and it's features.