It’s been two years since Lytro launched the original Lytro camera, a camera that allows you to change the perspective and focus of an image after it’s been shot. The new Illum looks somewhat like a cross between a mirrorless camera and a high-tech weapon, and the new design now features a F2.0 30-250mm lens (35mm equivalent). Program, ISO Priority, Shutter Priority and Full manual modes are supported, and the larger 1”, 40 Megaray sensor ( the original Lytro featured a 4.6 x 4.6mm sensor) gives images that will be about 50MB in size.
A 4” 800x480 pixel articulating touchscreen on the back allows you to preview your images (with the light field effects) in real-time, and a custom Lytro button shows you the relative focus of all the objects in the frame, with a color-coded overlay showing which objects are within the re-focusable range. The standard hotshoe mount is supported, and the Illum will take standard SD cards as well as use a removable battery.
While some new smartphones like the HTC One M8, the Samsung Galaxy S5, and the Sony Xperia Z2 feature apps that allow for background defocus and focus changing filters, they really just take a picture with great depth-of-field and add blur selectively. Light field photography as offered by Lytro however, captures not only the light that’s hitting the sensor, but also the direction of the light, which basically gives three dimensional data that allows you to manipulate the images later. Focus, tilt, perspective shift, and depth of field, all these can be adjusted in real-time on the computer using Lytro's software, so you don't get a simple still image, but rather images within an image.
The Lytro Illum will start shipping in August 2014 for a retail price of US$1599, but those who pre-order now can get a specially engraved Lytro Illum for US$1499 and an extended 2-year warranty, as well as insider access to product development insight and support.