Lytro’s Illum futuristic new light-field camera

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Lytro is announcing the Illum, a new high-end camera that’s designed to help professional photographers see the potential of light-field photography.

The $1,599 Illum produces photos that are more than four times the size of the previous shots from its 1-inch sensor, collecting far more data before stitching together a photo. Its shutter goes as fast as 1/4000th of a second, plenty fast for action or sports shooting. It has a Snapdragon 800 processor, Qualcomm’s latest tablet-level chip with plenty of power to spare.

There’s a 4-inch touchscreen on the back, and an incredible zoom lens that goes from 30-250mm at f/2.0 throughout, and can focus on things close enough to be touching the glass. The camera has a hot shoe for accessories and flashes, and supports Photoshop and other image editing software.

Lytro’s Illum is very fast and pictures are very crisp and brilliant.

Illum’s entire raison d’etre is the microlens array, Lytro’s innovative way of capturing a complete, 3D “light field” version of a scene instead of just quickly snapping a 2D photograph. It’s what lets you refocus a picture after the fact, or convert it to 3D, or subtly shift the perspective of the shot without ever having moved the camera. The new model comes with a real-time mapping tool called the Lytro Button, which shows you exactly how to frame a shot to maximize the depth effect.

Lytro’s Illum will ship in July.

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