The Camera of the Future (That Failed)


– Hey guys, this is Austin,
and this is the Lytro Illum. Now, it is one of the
coolest pieces of tech to come out in quite a while, except for the fact that
no one actually bought it. So, when this came out a couple years ago, it cost a whopping $1,500. However, today you can pick
them up for about $200 or $300. What makes Lytro special is that it is a completely
different way of taking a photo. So, instead of a traditional camera which captures a flat 2D image, Lytro actually captures the light rays, which sounds a little goofy. What it allows you to
do is change the focus, the depth of field, and
even the perspective after you take the shot. And here is the camera itself, which is actually bigger than I thought. There’s almost nothing on here. There’s a big touchscreen around back, a couple of buttons and
that’s pretty much it. It feels like some concept of a camera versus an actual normal DSLR. To put things in perspective, this is what the Illum looks like compared to a more traditional
camera, the Sony A6300. As you can see, while this is not exactly the smallest camera in the
world, it absolutely dwarfs it, especially with this huge lens. Before we get started, let’s
see what we actually need to get this thing up and running. This is actually kind of a
cool unboxing experience. There’s a lot here. We’ve got a cleaning cloth and it looks like a lens hood as well. I can’t get over the fact that this just doesn’t
look like any other camera. It’s vaguely sort of mirrorless-like, but with that huge screen around back and essentially no buttons, it’s a super unique look. So, we do have an articulating display. And since we have no buttons, thankfully it is a touchscreen. All right, so if I want,
can I focus on the camera? Okay, so we took a quick test shot and at first glance it looks nice. But if I want, I can switch focus to Ken, switch over to Kirby. That’s actually really cool. So, the refocusing thing
is definitely nothing new. So, a lot of smartphones have been able to do a sort of
rudimentary version of this by either using multiple camera
or taking a lot of stills and kinda merging them together. With this, you’re actually
getting full control over what it looks like. And at first glance, it’s not bad. What’s interesting about
this is that inside, it’s actually kind of like a smartphone. So, powering this guy is actually a Snapdragon 801 processor. Now, mind you, in 2014, that was a little bit more
impressive than it is today, but that’s still a lot
of power for a camera. So, when I started shooting,
one of the things I noticed is that while it’s nice to
have a big four-inch display, the viewing angles are not great. So, especially since it’s articulating, when I kinda lower it,
I can’t see anything unless I get right in the sweet spot. It’s nice. Although, there looks like
some weird artifacting. So, even though this doesn’t focus like a traditional camera, you still can use the
autofocus button on the back as well as tapping to
get that initial focus. So, even though this gives
you a lot more flexibility than a traditional camera, you do at least have to get
it in the rough ballpark, as far as focus goes. I feel like when I’m
shooting from lower angles, everything looks a little
bit more impressive. There’s a lot more kind
of depth to work with. So, handling-wise, it’s not bad. It might not be the most
ergonomic camera in the world. However, the weight is not,
(pauses) running into plants? I see how it is. It’s almost like you’re
trying to walk backwards with a camera or something. So, while it might not be
the most ergonomic camera in the world, that large
grip really does help. I’m not so sure how
durable this is gonna be. It’s all very, very soft
touch plastics and rubber, and there’s definitely a
little bit of metal here, but it seems reasonable. Maybe not $1,500 reasonable,
but definitely $200 reasonable. I gotta say, this dynamic range is awful. Like that’s, the sky’s blown out and your face is completely gone. I get that this is more of a
pro camera, and that’s cool. It’s nice to be able to
have some of the features where you can actually refocus and stuff. But image quality doesn’t
really seem to be on par with something like what
you could get out of a DSLR. The more I play with this, the more I feel like this would be a lot better suited for video. So, this is actually not totally crazy. Lytro does have a video camera
that they are working on, but it’s gonna be a lot more high-end than something like this. However, the idea of
being able to shoot video and be able to refocus after
the shot is really interesting. Once you’re done shooting,
you need to take your photos into the Lytro app for Windows or Mac. So, unlike a traditional camera
that shoots normal JPEGs, here all of your photos
have to be processed first. My initial instinct is, “Oh
god, everything’s out of focus.” However, all we need to
do is click on Ken’s face and it looks actually pretty decent. So, this is actually a really good example of how you get that little bit of depth. It’s a cool effect. I don’t really think it’s
gonna make a huge difference in how you would actually
save your final image, but say you get something
very slightly wrong, it’s easy enough to
just click and adjust it to kind of pull some depth out. So, just like if you shot
RAW in a normal camera, you can change things
like the white balance, the exposure, saturation. What I wanna see is how some of this
virtual camera stuff works. So, as you can see here, we can almost kind of
digitally adjust the aperture. That actually looks kind of cool, although maybe not quite so extreme. So, once you actually get these processed, you’re looking at a picture
that’s around five megapixels. But looking at it, it’s a little soft. So, this is shot at ISO 2,500 and, honestly, it’s not really usable. I mean, you can see some
of this cool focus effect, and it’s not perfect, but it
actually does look pretty cool. The thing I can’t get away from is that the image quality
just isn’t that great. Now, don’t get me wrong, this is an incredible piece of technology. And for a couple hundred dollars, there is definitely a lot
worse options out there. However, at the end of the day, the pictures are interesting, it does a lot of very cool stuff, but the tech just doesn’t
feel fully baked to me. So, what do you guys think
about Lytro and the Illum? Definitely be sure to let me
know in the comments below and I will catch you in the next one.

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