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Michael Krigsman

Thanks for the nice photography comment!

I have now spent time with the Lytro camera and, unfortunately, consider it to be something of a toy in its current form. Here is why:

1. I question the fundamental value proposition of allowing ordinary users to change focus points after the fact. There are many point and shoot cameras that can keep virtually an entire image in focus, if that is important. To me, changing focus after the image is taken sounds cool, but becomes boring quickly. In addition, I just do not see the point of "interactive photographs" such as those presented by Lytro. Admittedly, I may be short-sighted here, however.

2. As a photographic artist, I place focus points precisely to convey a particular effect or composition. Honestly, I want the image to look a particular way and I do not want anyone screwing with it.

3. The Lytro software is limited and does not support editing options (as far as I could tell). Image editing is akin to printing a photo in a darkroom -- for serious photography it is often a required step, even if only to adjust sharpness or contrast.

4. The Lytro camera hardware is well-built and easy to understand, but actually hard to use. The screen is tiny, I find the zoom hard to control, and the two modes - everyday and creative - are confusing.

5. The whole focus thing is quite confusing - to get it right the user must understand how the camera software handles focus points and also how the lens handles close focus distance. The zoom and close focus capabilities vary based on camera mode, which turns the point and shoot learning exercise into a required study, if you want to get the most from the camera.

Despite all these issues, the technology is fascinating and I suspect will have a rich future as it matures. However, in its current form, the camera will likely remain a plaything for well-heeled photographic experimenters, especially since one can buy great point and shoot cameras for less money.

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