LYTRO – GIMMICK OR REVOLUTIONARY PRODUCT?

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I remember the first time I found out about the lytro, I was super excited about the gadget and thought it would be a great addition to the ever crowded field of photography.

I consider myself a photography enthusiast and I am always on the lookout for new technology in that field. I usually prefer using portable cameras to the bulky DSLRs that most professional photographers use. I know when it comes to resolution and such, DSLRs generally trump their smaller counterparts. With that said, after reading about the lytro, I thought to myself, is it possible that this device could make up for all the lost pixels that smaller cameras are inevitably plagued with?

The only way I was going to find this out was to get a hold of a lytro and test it out myself. Approximately 3 years later, I was finally able to get a hold of one, and in this article I will try to give an objective review of the gadget. Is it a gimmick? A one trick pony that only offers one feature, or is it something that could seriously challenge the major Cameras in the industry and convince me to look into seriously buying one?

Before I go any further, the reader might be wondering what a lytro is.

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It is basically a camera that specifically works with light field technology to enable the user change or alter the depth of field after the picture has been taken.

According to this article, the lytro has been in the works for almost 20 years. Light field photography, the underlying factor behind the lytro is also not new. Whilst it remains a field of photography without much acclaim, the idea behind it is something we will most likely be seeing a lot in our mobile cameras down the line. Light field photography gives photographers, both professional and amateur, the ability to enhance and alter everything from focus to after the picture has been taken.

Here’s a better quote from the Spectrum website, “Instead of merely recording the sum of all the light rays falling on each photosite, a light-field camera aims to measure the intensity and direction of every incoming ray. With that information, you can generate not just one but every possible image of whatever is within the camera’s field of view at that moment. For example, a portrait photographer often adjusts the lens of the camera so that the subject’s face is in focus, leaving what’s behind purposefully blurry. Others might want to blur the face and make a tree in the background razor sharp. With light-field photography, you can attain either effect from the very same snapshot.”


Many photo-editing apps and websites like Flickr, Fotor, Instagram and the likes, to some extent, utilize light field technology by allowing the user to edit and alter a picture or multiple pictures after it has been taking. It only adds credence to the earlier point that the technology might not be very popular right now, but it seems to be making the upwards climb to prominence.

So is the lytro worth buying? Does it pass my test?

Unfortunately, the answer is no. My plan was to use it for three days and then write this review. But after spending a day with it, I don’t think an additional two days will matter.

The lytro as far as design looks portable and can be carried around with ease, but because of said size, it makes it hard to take good pictures. I mostly use my IPhone for pictures, and I will argue all day about how great it is, so it was a bit of a letdown trying to use the lytro take pictures and not getting the desired outcome.

The screen is too small, and the touch screen functions aren’t as responsive as I’d hoped. The picture quality also leaves a lot to be desired.

The picture below was taken with a lytro to emphasize my above point.

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 The one below was taken with an IPhone

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Whilst comparing both is subjective depending on who is viewing, I would say that the IPhone delivers the better picture.

Below are more pictures taken with the Lytro, to further prove that the camera needs more work at least resolution wise. Even with the advertised light field technology, the quality and resolution of pictures taken could use some serious tweaking.

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CONCLUSION

All in all, I think the lytro is a promising tool. The ability to alter depth perception and exposure after taking a picture cannot be understated. Whereas DSLRs give you this function prior to shooting, most if not all smart phones could definitely use with post editing.

This is what I think the lytro makers should look into. Using this technology on smart phones or licensing it to photo editing software and applications. That would truly improve the mobile photography industry. As of now, the lytro is nothing more than a gimmick. It looks fancy, but the field of photography requires more than just a cute looking toy.

References

Lytro camera review. (n.d.). Engadget. Retrieved June 29, 2014, from http://www.engadget.com/2012/03/08/lytro-camera-review/

Light-Field Photography Revolutionizes Imaging. (n.d.). – IEEE Spectrum. Retrieved June 29, 2014, from http://spectrum.ieee.org/consumer-electronics/gadgets/lightfield-photography-revolutionizes-imaging

Lytro’s light field camera captures ‘unprecedented’ images, lets you choose focus later. (n.d.). Engadget. Retrieved June 29, 2014, from http://www.engadget.com/2011/06/22/light-field-camera-captures-unprecedented-images-lets-you-cho/

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Social Media & Advertising

Social media websites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, have been around for the latter part of the last decade, primarily. These websites allow people to sign up as users and connect with friends and family. People share intimate information regarding the daily activities of their lives on these sites. They also share links to books they like, articles they read, music they listen to, political and religious viewpoints they agree with, and products they love and hate. Businesses have realized that there is a social power that can be harnessed in these sites and utilized in a way to get the site users to interact with brands and promote their message/product.

Forbes.com recently published an article, How to Triple Your Success Using Social Media Advertising Platforms by Neal Rodriguez, which illustrates how companies are utilizing Facebook’s ad program to boost sales by targeting their key psychographic areas. The article specifically studies a company called Tektronix who hired an advertising agency called aimClear to help with increasing traffic on their website. Rodriguez notes that:

“Tektronix also used Facebook ads to increase the traffic to its blog content pages. As expected, its traffic level to its blog significantly improved to 3,747 visits referred from Facebook in the most recent month while using Facebook ads; from 64 visits that it welcomed from its Facebook unpaid posts in the month prior to using Facebook ads. The conversion rate generated from unpaid Facebook traffic welcomed by its content pages was 1.8 percent in the month prior to using Facebook ads. The conversion rate increased to 5.9 percent in the most recent month while using Facebook ads.”

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The founder of aimClear, Marty Weintraub, breaks down his process of utilizing Facebook into three steps, as illustrated in Rodriguez’ article:

1) Ensure that your content is appropriately packaged using the Facebook Open Graph

2) Develop your content with the objective of helping people as much as possible

3) Targeting Facebook users based on various interests including but not limited to media consumption habits, professional roles, cultural preferences and more

Rodriguez also says that when you are using social media to advertise, the focus needs to be on collecting contact information and getting people to subscribe to or like your page or get on an email list. He says the reason for this is because “with an engaged following, you create an endless line of opportunities to recoup your investment in the advertising every time you publish new content. Moreover, now that everybody’s a “journalist,” with the immediate ability to tweet, post on Facebook, or launch an online publication with WordPress or other type of open source content management system, when something is worth citing, you’ll have an active user base of publishers that are likely to link to your content.”

Using social media to advertise is more about telling a story about your brand and getting people to subscribe to your brand and less about getting immediate sales. If you build your story and get people engaged with your brand, you build awareness about your brand, which will lead to word of mouth advertising and then funnel into more sales from an informed and loyal customer base.

Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/groupthink/2013/05/01/how-to-triple-your-success-using-social-media-advertising-platforms/