A Few months back I posted about the Lytro Light field camera. This interesting little camera has the ability to capture an image, then choose your focus point later. This is the first I’ve seen of the actual camera and it’s a very interesting form factor. The strange little box measures out to about 1.6 inches square and is only 4.4 inches long, weighing in at a little less then half a pound.

The release date is yet to be announced, but is slated for the first part of 2012 and it looks like Lytro plans to release two versions, an 8GB model for $399 and a 16GB model for $499.  That’s a lot of money for something smaller then a can of soda, but I have to admit that the concept is very intriguing. There doesn’t seem to be any real info on the size of the final picture output, but the spec page lists “HD-quality interactive pictures”. Does this mean your final photos will be 1920×1080? If so, I wonder why all of the demo shots are around 900×600.

The built in lens is listed as “Constant F2” and there isn’t much mention of low light performance. A few of the example shots look grainy even though the pictures seem to be taken in full daylight. Another thing that’s disappoint is that under software needed it says “A Windows application is in development.” so it looks like as of right now OS X only.

This is starting to feel like the first generation release of digital cameras, sure it was cool to snap a picture with your and put it up on your Geocities page right next to a team of animated gifs. But then, after that, you went back to your actual camera until the day came when digital cameras were useful.

I think this version of the Lytro is a good idea, but it could take a few more generations before the camera becomes a useful photography tool. If you want to support the first generation, Lytro is now taking pre-orders. I still haven’t decided if i’m going to part with $400, especially with the 5d mark III just around the corner.