The Perfect Camera for the Early Adopter Who Already Has a DSLR

More
lytro_610.jpg
From your gadget-obsessed sister (who lives for her iPad) to your garden-obsessed uncle (who thinks apple is a fruit) A special report

Camera nuts come in many different varieties. Some find a camera they love and stick with it, upgrading by buying different lenses or filters or software. Others have a backpack full of cameras that they use for different occasions: this one for video, that one for action shots, that other one for portraits. Some pros even carry a couple of cameras at a time. Maybe a Canon 5D for the main work and a Canon G10 just in case.

If you know someone in the latter category, who likes having the right camera for every occasion, we have a (relatively expensive) recommendation for you: go get them the new $399 Lytro camera. Its big selling point is that you simply shoot, then focus after the fact. The technology is fascinating and it is exclusive (at this point) to the Lytro.

The Lytro isn't perfect yet. The photos it produces are tiny (we're talking 1 megapixel) and there are some missing features and bugs to contend with in the much-lauded software. The good news is that because the Lytro relies so heavily on software, upgrades won't require that you buy a whole new camera. Like iOS, your device will get better without you doing anything.

But let's be honest here: if you've got $399 to drop on a secondary camera for someone who is not yourself, you are buying it because it offers something new and something unique. We don't really know what people are going to do with these art factories, but wouldn't you just love to be the person who gave the Lytro to the photographer who defined the new tech-enabled genre?

Jump to comments
Presented by

Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com, where he also oversees the Technology Channel. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science Web site in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

The Time JFK Called the Air Force to Complain About a 'Silly Bastard'

51 years ago, President John F. Kennedy made a very angry phone call.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Technology

Just In