We couldn’t be more excited about LYTRO ILLUM, and based on all your tweets, Facebook postings and comments, we see that you are too. We’re busy at work getting ready for this revolutionary camera to ship in a few months, but in the meantime we wanted to answer a few common questions we’ve gotten from Lytro fans around the world. Specifically: “What is the resolution, in megapixels?” And, “Can I print pictures taken with the camera?”
The question regarding megapixels is a common one, but it’s more complicated than making a direct correlation to conventional photography. The most simplistic answer is that our desktop software provides an option to export LYTRO ILLUM images as 2D stills, and we recommend an output size of 4 megapixels. To be more accurate, however, I’ll dive deeper into the differences between light field and standard photography. The sensor in LYTRO ILLUM has 40 million pixels, but it uses them differently than a traditional camera. Each pixel captures a ray of light and, through Lytro’s proprietary software and processing, these 40 million rays are shuffled in a physically accurate manner to produce 2D images. While our software can create 2D images of any size, even up to 40 megapixels, the actual measurable resolution is based on a number of factors — the primary one being the relative distance between the optical focal plane as captured and the focal plane of the processed 2D image.
As for the printing question: YES! You can print pictures from LYTRO ILLUM. We recommend printing pictures up to 8x10, but we do have several prints at 20x30 around Lytro’s offices in Mountain View, CA that look great. But, while printing is certainly a capability, the real power of LYTRO ILLUM lies in its ability to deliver compelling digital stories and immerse online viewers in the “living picture” experience. While LYTRO ILLUM is capable of replicating much of the functionality of conventional cameras, its revolutionary potential is fully realized when artists capture images with the intent of displaying living pictures on the interactive Web. We hope everyone who uses other cameras for their print photography needs, will join in the global movement of capturing the world in all three dimensions with LYTRO ILLUM.
Click for full size LYTRO ILLUM image.