Sunday, March 22, 2015

REVIEW: Lytro 8GB Light Field Digital Camera

Lytro 8GB Light Field Digital Camera
Lytro 8GB Light Field Digital Camera (Electric Blue)

Ever since I first heard of Lytro, I’ve been wanting to get my hands on this camera. I couldn’t imagine how something so cool could be packed into such a tiny package at such an affordable price. However, 5 minutes with this camera quickly reminded me of a saying my parents always told me – “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is”.

Fortunately I’ve had a chance to review the Lytro Illum, which is a proper camera. However, this thing is the most disappointing product I’ve had in my hands since the Bower SFD926C Digital Flash!

Hands On Experience

Lytro 8GB Light Field Digital Camera (Graphite)
Lytro 8GB Light Field Digital Camera (Graphite)

At first things seemed very promising as the shape is really cool and the rear touch screen seemed pretty neat. My wife loved the form factor and the promise of after the fact focusing made her very interested in testing it out. However, after seeing the images on the computer she quickly quipped that her iPhone takes better photos than that – I agree!

The screen is so tiny and low resolution that it is darn near useless outdoors, and even indoors you need to have perfect vision to see the low res rear screen. Once you do, you are treated to a very tricky user interface, but you eventually get used to it because there’s almost no features that you can control. Simply put, this is a point and shoot that offers very little manual control. If it took great photos that could be refocused after the fact, that’d be great, but a majority of the photos I tested after the fact couldn’t be refocused. In fact, of all the photos I took, only the few ugly ones below were refocusable.

The one positive thing I can say is that it was so easy to use that my 5 year old and 13 year old could easily point and shoot with it – sadly they failed to get more than one photo that was refocusable.

Sample Images

The quality of all the images I took with this camera sucked – big time – but these sucked the least:

Yes, I agree they suck too, but you should have seen the ones I didn't show you - ugh! Now before you blame the photographer, check out my Lytro Illum review. This camera was so bad that I just wasn’t inspired to do much else with it.


While the form factor is very cool, in the history of every product I’ve ever reviewed on this blog, this has to be in the top 2 or 3 of the worst products ever tested. There is no mention of it on the Lytro website anymore, so I suspect they agree that it isn’t worth mentioning either.

There is one good thing to come out of reviewing this product - I can now judge the trustworthiness of other websites and sources by their opinion of this camera. In my opinion, anyone that says it was good is a person I won’t be trusting for an honest opinion in the future. Don’t believe me, try it for yourself but be sure to keep the box in good shape so you can return it.

Where to order

Don’t! I can’t in good faith even put a link for you to order as I would not recommend this product to anyone. Instead, if you are interested in this technology check out the real light field camera – the Lytro Illum.

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