Save 71% on the camera that has redefined the photograph

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I got super excited thinking this was about the Brownie, Hasselblad, or Polaroid but it turns out just to be another useless Lytro.


You forgot the Graflex.

/ and whatever camera Weston was using.


All I know is that for a two year old camera that redefined the photograph I see very few of them in use.

Best review quote I’ve seen for this:
“It’s for a museum somewhere, on display as the first real product in what might someday turn into something world-changing. Lytro is doing remarkable work and the Illum is another clear step forward in its vision. But it’s not a great camera. Not yet, anyway.”


the camera that has redefined the photograph

At most, it’s redefined editing of close-up shots. You can move the focal point around before saving to a regular JPG.

I’ll be more enthusiastic when I can post the "virtual 3D living pictures” on my web site or email them to friends and family. The last time I looked, the only way to share the “living pictures” was to post them on Lytro’s web site. While giving them unlimited rights to reuse the pictures. And giving them editorial control - no nudes, etc.


Don’t you generally have an idea of what you want to focus on when you’re taking a photo, anyway?


It seems like a solution looking for a problem.

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One counter-example would be surveillance cameras, which capture images without any regard for what may or may not be interesting later. Like in the Blade Runner example, you might be looking for something that the photographer wasn’t.
That would require the Lytro to shoot video, though, and I don’t know how hard that would be to do. It could just be processing and storage constraints, or there could be something inherent to the sensor that makes it too slow to record motion.

There would probably be some cool stuff you could do with a video version of this tech, like really good image stabilisation on a helmet-cam, or playing it back on a VR headset and allowing for the viewer’s head movements to prevent motion sickness.

I guess the next thing you’d want is the reverse: a screen that projects the light field back like a hologram. Any bets on when that one will show up?

Yeah, I don’t think Lytro redefined “the photograph” - since for practical purposes you still have to output traditional photographs from the light-field data - but I do think it created a new aspect to photography. You could even say it “redefined” photography. Lightfield photography is somewhere between traditional photography and holography. You can not only change focus in a lightfield image, you can pull a depth map from it. It is single lens 3D photography.

On the other hand, only Lytro can process the lightfield data, so buying an EOLed Lytro is pretty iffy, especially given the buggy nature of the camera’s firmware. As you note, if you want to share the full lightfield image you have to go through Lytro, and while the features are cool, they just aren’t useful enough for the end viewer to want to lean in that often. When the Lytro website dies, so does the ability to share the images. And when Lytro stops updating their processing software, so does your ability to edit the images on the latest OS update on your computer. Were the Lytro not so dependent in that way the discount down to $370 would be much more tempting as a cool toy.

When glasses-free 3D tvs and computer screens become common, and when Lytro can process fast enough to be used for HD or 4K 3D video, then it will become really useful.


I think Weston used a Graflex for a while as a step down from larger formats, but I may be misremembering.

[I don’t much lust after things, but an acquaintance has a lovely print of Pepper #30 made by Cole Weston, and I want it. ($10,000 - 15,000, according to the first site I found.)]

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I had the opportunity to have Cole show me the storage area of Edward’s negatives (including coincidentally the negative of Pepper #30) when they were still at Wildcat Hill, and I didn’t see any smaller negatives at the time. Ansel Adams definitely worked with smaller cameras from time to time, though. Interestingly, at a party in Carmel in the late '70s, I heard Adams speak with enthusiasm about the promise of coming digital technology (of course, he had knocked back a few by then).


Photograph: a picture made using a camera, in which an image is stored digitally and the souls of those captured in the image are damned for all eternity.

Adams was always more interested in the image than the technology. He was a spokesperson for Polaroid because he knew it would bring people to photography. One of my favorites of his is from a 35mm: Georgia O’Keefe and Orville Cox, Canyon de Chelly, 1937

It’s just so fun and beautifully shot and I love her look.


O’Keefe was really something - I’ve always rather envied Stieglitz in that regard.

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