Saturday, June 9, 2012

Expedition Lytro

My new Lytro Camera arrived in the mail this past week and I took it out for a test drive today in Central Park's Conservatory Garden.  Mercifully, it was an overcast day because the screen is pretty hard to see when the sun is shining.  I wrote about this little camera in Inflight Entertainment -- how I liked the idea of not having to mess around with focus when out and about and creating photos that others can play with -- zooming in on the details that you want to see.  Go ahead, try it on this one!

It's a cute little camera this red hot Lytro of mine.  It fits snugly in the palm of my hand.  Even better, once I read the instructions, it was pretty simple to operate -- truth be told there aren't a lot of settings to choose from (two in fact).  Operationally, the biggest challenge for me will be figuring out when to use the creative mode and learning about the zoom.  That's on a cloudy day.  On a sunny day, the biggest challenge will be seeing the screen -- although you don't need to focus (because of the technology), you do need to be pretty careful about framing things.

It also takes a bit of a different eye -- at least for someone like me who tends to like to get up close and personal with my subjects.  With the Lytro, I had to think not only about what was in the foreground but also about the background because "living pictures" (as Lytro has dubbed them) are all about the fun of focusing in on different things in the picture.  I like that idea of layering although I don't think I've yet fully mastered it.

There are already reviews out that call for fundamentally changing the essence of the Lytro -- more controls, bigger screen, lower price point, better output to JPEG -- those are some of the things that Tim Moynihan called for in "How Lytro Can Realize It's Full Potential" in PC World.  Other than the higher quality screen and lower price point, I'm not sure I agree.  I really liked the simplicity of the Lycro and the way it fit in the palm of my hand.  I like that I can toss it in my purse (while in a bag in my purse because the lens cover is not quite as magnetic as it should be).

Mostly, I like the digital output and don't really get the complaint about it not producing a good JPEG.  Isn't this camera all about producing images that we interact with?  I might be a little biased here -- I rarely print photos, relying instead on this blog, Facebook and old-fashioned email attachments for sharing.  It seems counter-intuitive to want JPEGs and for sure that will increase the size and heft of the camera. A big negative in my view -- if I want a picture that I can print, I'll take it with a camera that was meant to produce that kind of picture!

I rarely buy the first generation of anything (my first iPhone was a 4 -- mainly for Siri) but this camera captured my interest the minute I learned about it.  After a day playing with it in the park, it still does.

One other negative --Pinterest does not recognize Lytro images as pinnable (at least from a blog) so I'll just have to make do with a shot from the Olympus......

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