Lytro, the light-field camera that was supposed to revolutionize photography, now supports Windows PCs.
Until now, only Macs could run Lytro's desktop software, which is required to process and edit the camera's unique method of photography. The new Windows 7 version, available for 64-bit versions of the OS, requires an Intel Core 2 Duo processor (or higher), at least 2GB of RAM, and DirectX 10 graphics.
To celebrate its Windows launch, Lytro is offering free shipping on cameras. The cameras are still pricey at $399 for the blue and graphite models (each has 8GB of storage, or room for about 350 pictures), and $499 for the red model, which has 16GB of storage, or room for about 750 pictures. The company also sells a tripod mount and a USB wall charger, each of which is priced at $20.
The Lytro is different from traditional cameras, in that it captures individual rays of light (11 million of them, to be exact), allowing for post-production adjustments that are impossible on a normal point-and-shoot. Its main gimmick is a "shoot first, focus later" feature, with which users can adjust focus distance even after they've taken the shot.
The first-generation Lytro cameras started shipping in March, after enjoying a lot of hype in the tech press. But the high price of the Lytro, along with hardware shortcomings, resulted in tepid reviews. As PCWorld's Tim Moynihan pointed out, the Lytro suffers from limited exposure controls, a tiny on-camera screen, low-resolution images, and a lack of additional focus capabilities. In other words, it's not a very good traditional camera.
So far, the company hasn't mentioned any plans for a second-generation model. The company's founder, Ren Ng, recently stepped down as CEO but will remain a full-time employee as executive chairman, focusing on product vision, technology, and strategic direction. Charles Chi is serving as interim CEO while the company looks for a replacement.