Lytro has been announced for a few weeks now. As expected, it had mixed reactions from photographers and hobbyists alike. And well, here are my two cents on the matter.
In a nutshell, what Lytro does is it allows you to take a picture of a subject or a scene and pretty much forget about getting a focus point because Lytro lets you choose a focus point in post-processing.
Personally, I think Lytro is very interesting. And I think it’s genius. It’s kinda surprising that Canon and Nikon didn’t think of it first.
I look at it as an extended RAW file system. You know how in RAW you don’t have to worry about WB, color and exposure that much (or sometimes at all, as opposed to shooting JPG) because you can tweak it in post-processing? This is because RAW files store in as much picture information as it can so that you can edit the image the way you want it afterwards. With Lytro, another layer of picture information is added – focus.
Unfortunately, I think Lytro files will be much bigger than RAW files. It’s already a pain that RAW files are around 15-20mb each. I can only imagine how large “focus information” will be. And the required software and computing power shold be amped up as well.
Because of the flexibility it offers, many purists don’t like it and think it’s nothing but a gimik. I think this is how purist painters felt when photography was starting to get popular as an art form. As opposed to standing in front of a scene or a subject for hours and painting them, a photographer just points his lens and snaps away. But today, no one can argue that photography is an art form. Painters might have felt ‘cheated’ in some way. And I think film shooters might have felt the same way when digital came into the scene. Digital photography offers virtually unlimited shots and thus it doesn’t push the photographer and kinda promotes a spray-and-pray attitude. The thing is, I think that many of them converted to digital anyway.