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 – Depth of field

The software’s second big trick is to be able to adjust the image’s depth of field using an aperture slider. This offers settings from f/1 to f/16 – despite the camera only having an f/2 lens. As you increase the f-number the depth of field increases, just as you’re used to seeing from a conventional camera.

As you can see from the sequence below, this genuinely works. I’ve developed the same file at f/1, f/2 and f/16, with the depth of field increasing visibly through them even at this rather small print size.

The ‘Virtual camera’ controls go a step further, allowing you to replicate the effects of a tilt lens, for example, to generate ‘fake miniature’ effects.


Lytro Illum diorama-f1

Lytro Illum diorama f1, focused in centre

Lytro Illum diorama f2

Lytro Illum diorama f2, focused in centre

Lytro Illum diorama f16

Lytro Illum diorama f16, focused in centre

  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.