In Brief: Lytro's Illum Looks More like Mirrorless than Monocular

By Norman Chan

The new $1600 lightfield camera is targeted at professional photographers.

Lightfield camera pioneer Lyto has announced a new camera, the Illum, which takes the technology from its eponymous 2012 camera and puts it in a form-factor that's more familiar to photographers. The Illum doesn't look like a kaleidoscope tube, its body and fixed 30-255mm lens makes it look more like a compact mirrorless camera, complete with 4-inch touchscreen. The new lens (13-element, f/2.0) affords the camera not only a range of focal lengths, but complements the new sensor. Lytro's sensors aren't comparable to traditional digital camera sensors, since they're not capturing and processing light in predetermined pixel grids. Lytro's lightfield sensors are rated in terms of how may light rays it can capture; the Illum has a 40 Megaray light sensor, compared to the original Lytro camera's 11 Megaray sensor. The shifting-focus images still need to be viewed with Lytro's embedded software, and that's Lytro's focus. From The Verge's feature on the camera: "Lytro's ultimate, simplest goal is to turn the physical parts of the camera — the lens, the aperture, the shutter — into software. If it can do that, the camera hardware itself becomes secondary." Watch the Illum announcement trailer below.