The Lytro Illum is a unique camera featuring Light Field technology that allows images to be refocused after shooting. Andy Westlake investigates its exciting potential

Product Overview

Lytro Illum


Lytro Illum review

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Lytro Illum review – Focus

The Lytro Desktop software allows you to refocus the image, simply by clicking on any area of the scene you want to appear sharp. In the example below, I’ve developed three still images from a single raw file, each of which is focused at different depths within the scene.

The image can’t be freely refocused from close-up to infinity, but instead only within a particular depth of field equivalent, stopping the lens down to f/16. It’s therefore imperative to focus carefully using the depth histogram.

While here I’ve demonstrated refocusing to different depths in a still life,  this approach can be used with erratically moving subjects. So long as they fall within the refocusable depth, they can be brought into selective focus.

Lytro Illum f1 background

F1, focused on background

Lytro Illum F1 mid

F1, focused in middle

Lytro Illum F1 front

F1, focused on foreground


  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Lytro Illum review - Design and operation
  3. 3. Lytro Illum review - Lytro Desktop software
  4. 4. Lytro Illum review - Image quality
  5. 5. Lytro Illum review - Focus
  6. 6. Lytro Illum review - Depth of field
  7. 7. Lytro Illum review - Summary
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  • entoman

    The image quality of the current camera is atrocious, the file sizes are ridiculous, and the time needed to download images is to say the least, excessive. However, the technology is still at a very early stage and we all know how quickly technology advances, given sufficient investment and competition, so I expect that all of these criticisms will be overcome within 5-10 years. A long time to wait, but miracles don’t happen overnight!

    I disagree that this type of technology will only be of interest to those wanting to produce animations. I can see it being extremely useful for photojournalistic photography, landscapes, architectural photography and portraits. It may also prove very useful for macro photography, eliminating the need for focus-stacking.

    Lytro deserve to do well, and I hope they receive the investment that will allow them (and other companies) to advance this technology rapidly. In a few years cameras like this will output 40 megapixel ultra high quality images, and file compression technology will remove the hindrances of slow downloading and processing. This is extremely exciting technology, and it’s just a matter of time before it becomes commonplace and much more affordable.