This innovative camera's new social life might attract a new fan base.
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When we reviewed the Lytro last year, we found it to be a classic first-gen product: a cool idea still in its early stages. A "light-field" camera, the Lytro captures complete data on the light coming into the camera so a user can refocus and shift perspective after the fact. Despite the world-changing implications that this technology might have for photography, the performance shortcomings left us unsatisfied.
Today, Lytro announced that it would activating a hidden feature via firmware update: WiFi. Paired with a new iOS app, this Lytro system has set its sights on an becoming Instagram-like social media network, a move that would let the product to lean on its novelty and allow it to play down its performance deficit. It makes sense: the Lytro may not be ready for serious photography, but that doesn't mean people won't eat up the "living pictures," as they're called.
The app is still as first-gen as the camera: Instead of following users, the app uses Reddit-style upvotes (likes) to push the popular images to the top. We're not sure if it's going to accelerate any sales or spark a photography revolution just yet, but it's worth staying tuned to see how this pans out.
Other cool features included native Facebook and Twitter embeds (that is, you'll be able to view the living pictures right in your feed or stream, without clicking through to the Lytro site, where the files are hosted). Users can also turn the Lytro pics into animated GIFs—who doesn't love those?
photo: screenshot from Lytro