After testing their camera in the field a couple of times (link), Lytro finally released their camera to consumers. It’s a tiny camera with built-in storage, an 8x f/2 lens, and a design that looks more like a futuristic flashlight than a point-and-shoot camera. The camera captures “living pictures” that can be refocused by the photographer and the viewer, meaning focusing is completely eliminated from the process of taking a picture. An 8GB that stores 350 pictures will be priced at $400, while a 16GB with a 750 image capacity will cost $500. The camera will start shipping in early 2012, but you can order one now over on the Lytro website.
This is exactly what I expected. For now, it really is just a novel toy. A $399 toy that’s certainly within reach for the photography junkie in your life, eager for a new twist on an old concept. That may or may not describe you, but mark our words — when Lytro integrates this kind of tech into a larger, more potent shooter: game over.
The extremely minimalistic flashlight-style design shows that the company is aiming at ordinary consumers rather than people who are more serious about photography. You can’t really get simpler than a tiny camera with three controls (on/off, zoom, shutter).