Lytro this morning unveiled its second-generation light field camera, called the Illum — a DSLR-style device that creates “living images” designed to be refocused after taking the shot. As a follow-on to the company’s original Lytro device, the new Illum is getting strong early reviews.

Lytro-Blitzen-81But beyond the photographic magic, the camera’s hardware is also notable. Artefact, the Seattle-based product design firm, revealed this morning that it was Lytro’s design partner on the product. Artefact has published an in-depth piece explaining the design philosophy and principles that went into the new camera — including the distinctive angle of the display screen.

“Illum’s signature angle is the pure expression of the act of shooting digital media and represents a ‘duh milestone not only for light field photography but for the design of any digital camera,” predicts the firm.

In other words, expect to see much more of this angle in all sorts of cameras in the future. The reason, of course, is that we’re increasingly holding cameras (and smartphone cameras) away from our bodies and looking at larger displays, not pressing the tiny viewfinder up to our eyes.

So an upward tilt makes a ton of sense.

At the same time, the Illum’s design also accommodates other scenarios. Artefact explains, “While the tilted display is the right neutral angle, it doesn’t cover all use cases. A simple push on the lower edge of the screen flips the display to a purely vertical orientation, which is what you’d want for portrait mode. The screen also moves to an almost horizontal orientation for macro photography.”

Read more here. The Illum is available on pre-order for $1,500, shipping in July.

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  • Art K.

    As a digital photographer, I have been fascinated by Lytro’s ideas, but in reality, I haven’t seen anyone using their current product, and that only costs $300-400. Since I work at one of the largest tourist attractions in my state, you’d figure that maybe one of out of the 10M visitors would have the product. Today’s idea has a price point that now puts it against DSLR’s, which are very popular, functional, supported, and the manufacturer’s have been around for generations. Maybe people like to focus on the main subject of their photos are happy with the results.

  • ThePatriotMuckraker

    “…not pressing the tiny viewfinder up to our eyes.” Until the sun comes out. I’ve used mirrorless cameras before and never has the advertised anti-reflective “wiz-bang” technology ever lived up to the promise of perfect contrast and glare free operation. I will NEVER buy a camera that does not at least have the option for an add-on viewfinder.

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