We briefly mentioned the shoot-first-focus-layer camera in June. Back then, the Lytro light field camera grabbed a lot of media attention. Recently the cameras were made available for reviewers and gadget bloggers. You can check out the hands-on video at Engadget.
According to Engadget, the camera has been submitted to FCC for approval. Sales are expected to start in 2012. The user manual describes an extremely easy to use camera. The light field technology has removed the need to focus, users simply need to adjust the zoom and shoot.
The comments I have seen aren’t quite flattering though. Apparently, the camera can only output images at 1.2 megapixels. Simple-to-use can also translate into serious lack of features. Perhaps it is a little harsh to call it “pocket-sized toy”. But I am sure many of you will be hesitant to consider this camera worth the $400 price tag.
It sounds like it may not be very feasible to produce a light field camera with higher resolution. Perhaps things will change as technology advances. The fact that no other major camera companies are rushing out similar products seems to suggest there may be a long way to go.