New Toy has arrived – Lytro (first generation) Light Field Camera

The offical Lytro webpage for this camera is right here costing $149 US… I of course used Amazon to purchase a new product where it was only $112 US (heck a $80NZ saving, use Amazon).
Do not buy this product if you are a commercial photographer, as discussed below commercial use of photographs/images produced appears to be not permitted.

And of course as it is just a toy I didn’t want to pay too much for something I might never use. But I have lots of normal cameras, the light field stuff looks like an interesting diversion. The second generation Illum is well over $1000US so obviously I want to see what a light field camera can do before even considiring the more expensive toy.

So this post is about the first generation 8Gb camera model only.

First off the product specs say it includes Desktop software. That software is not actually packaged with the camera, but is downloadable from the Lytro website so no real issue there. The Desktop software available is for windows and mac. I will have to search to see if there are any Linux applications that support processing of light field images, for now the windows one will have to do.

Also ordered a case for it seperately from another vendor, just under half the price of the camera itself; which arrived before the camera even tho the amazon estimated dates had it arriving well after the camera :-).

Have not yet looked at getting the fast charger for it… it does come with a USB connector of course that allows charging from a computer USB port, after 2hrs charging from the laptop USB port it’s gone from 0% charged to 1% charged; leaving it charging that way to see how long it takes. Will try charging from a mains plugged in USB charger at a later time to see if that makes a difference.

So it will obviously be a while before I can write about how it works.

Searching (good old google) on linux alternatives shows that while there are many ‘works in progress’ to emulate the Lytro desktop processing of light field images none are ready yet.

The searches did highlight that a lot of people had concerns about the licensing to the point commercial photographers won’t use it because of the terms, actually commercial use of photographs taken using a Lytro camera appear to be prohibited by the terms of use (content section), that is best covered on a PC advisor post on how to (with difficulty) use a standard DSLR as a light field camera.

So until the Lytro licensing changes I cannot see that anybody would ever purchase the $1K+ model, and light field phtography will remain a toy until such time as other vendors produce similar products with a lot less restrictive licensing terms. It remains nothing but a toy until photographers can do whatever they want with their photographs.

There will propbably be posts on how it works a little later (unless I forget where I put it, it’s quite tiny and I tend to misplace things easily). And I consider the license terms “You may create modifications or derivative works and print Lytro content for your personal use” to mean I can use the pictures on my personal website, so if the light images it captures can create decent pictures I may even publish some here.

But people, it is a toy. The license terms make it unsuitable for any commercial photography.

About mark

At work, been working on Tandems for around 30yrs (programming + sysadmin), plus AIX and Solaris sysadmin also thrown in during the last 20yrs; also about 5yrs on MVS (mainly operations and automation but also smp/e work). At home I have been using linux for decades. Programming background is commercially in TAL/COBOL/SCOBOL/C(Tandem); 370 assembler(MVS); C, perl and shell scripting in *nix; and Microsoft Macro Assembler(windows).
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