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Lytro Light Field Camera Digital Camera Review$399.00
With a minimalist control scheme and all-automatic shooting modes, the Lytro should be easier to use than it actually is. Handling the block-shaped body is unfamiliar, but not uncomfortable. An overhand chopstick-grip offers the best mix of comfort and balance. Most of the handling problems stem from the crummy LCD. It's distractingly small and low-res. The shallow viewing angles make it tough to frame off-angle shots, and the screen completely washes out in moderate sunlight. Sometimes, you have to resign yourself to shooting blind. Even with the stripped-down control scheme, the Lytro still gets in its own way. The screen is too small to support a touch-based interface, simple as it is. The zoom slider is too clever for its own good—slick, sure, but the placement is terrible and the feel is a bit overcooked. We found ourselves wishing for even just a bit more control: a timer for starters, maybe continuous shooting. The only controls are a tap-to-expose feature, and Creative Mode, which is too difficult to explain in a short summary. Then there's editing and sharing: Everything has to run through the Lytro software, which is Mac-only. The Light Field Engine (as Lytro calls the refocusing software) is excellent. Intuitive, easy to use, and effective, even on the camera's tiny LCD but especially on a proper computer screen. But the only way to share the light field photos is to first upload them to Lytro's website, then copy a link or a direct-embed code for a personal website—there's no way to share directly to Facebook, for example. If you want to share or edit a JPEG, you still have to crunch it down in Lytro's software. Lytro's software is fine, but most photo software is better, so we'd love to see wider support in, say, iPhoto or Picasa or Photoshop.