Lytro unveils 'living pictures' camera

Lytro camera
Lytro's new camera allows you to shoot first, focus later

Lytro has finally unveiled the world's first "light field" cameras, which are capable of focusing after a shot has been taken.

The development of the light field technology was first revealed in June, and captures all the rays of light in a scene.

Pocket sized and packing an 8x optical zoom and f/2.0 lens, the pictures that the new Lytro camera is capable of producing are being dubbed "living pictures" as they can be endlessly refocused by clicking on different elements of the scene.

Lytro cameras feature a "light field sensor" to capture the colour, intensity and direction of every light ray flowing into the camera. To process the information, the cameras also contain a light field engine that allows users to focus the image in-camera after it has been captured.

When sharing pictures online, the light field engine "travels" with each picture so that anyone can refocus the images on web browsers, mobile phones and tablets.


Featuring just two buttons, power and shutter, along with a glass touchscreen, the camera has been designed for simplicity of use.

The camera body is made from aliminium, and features an 8x optical zoom lens and constant f/2 aperture. With no need to autofocus, the Lytro camera promises to have no shutter delays. Lytro also claims that by using all of the available light in a scene, the camera can perform well in low-light conditions, without need for a flash.

Available in 8GB and 16GB models, the first people to buy the camera will also get free storage for their pictures on

From 2012, light field pictures will be viewable in 3D, thanks to algorithms currently in development.

A desktop application, which is a free software download, allows people to view, organise and share their pictures. Images can be uploaded to the Lytro website and shared via Facebook, Twitter, blogs, or as links in emails.

The Lytro Camera price for the 8GB (350 pictures) model is $399 , while the 16GB (750 pictures) will be available for $499. Both will start shipping from early 2012. Initially, the desktop application will only be available for Mac users, with a Windows version coming later in 2012.

Amy Davies

Amy has been writing about cameras, photography and associated tech since 2009. Amy was once part of the photography testing team for Future Publishing working across TechRadar, Digital Camera, PhotoPlus, N Photo and Photography Week. For her photography, she has won awards and has been exhibited. She often partakes in unusual projects - including one intense year where she used a different camera every single day. Amy is currently the Features Editor at Amateur Photographer magazine, and in her increasingly little spare time works across a number of high-profile publications including Wired, Stuff, Digital Camera World, Expert Reviews, and just a little off-tangent, PetsRadar.