Lytro hopes its new portable file format will become as common as jpeg
Above: Woman holding the first Lytro camera.
Image Credit: Lytro
June 11, 2014 12:24 PM
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The magic of Lytro is that it lets you play with the focus and perspective of an image after you’ve shot it. This opens up a whole creative process after the fact.
Now Lytro wants to make this creative process a more social one. Perhaps more importantly, it wants images shot with its cameras to be hosted at many more photo sites.
“One barrier to (adoption) is we are not as widely deployed and accepted as JPEG,” CEO Jason Rosenthal said in an interview recently. “We want to start changing that.”
The first third-party site to host Lytro images will be 500px. Shutterbugs will be able to manipulate Lytro photos and share the results with other users.
To make Lytro images ready for hosting Lytro used the WebGL standard for 3D graphics to create a new, open file format. The company has shared the new format on GitHub.
Lytro releases the new file format as it hustles to prepare for the release this summer of its $1,600 Illum camera, which is meant for enthusiasts as well as pro photographers.
Rosenthal told Re/code‘s Ina Fried that the company has already reached 60 percent of its forecasted sales for the year thanks to strong pre-orders for the Illum. He didn’t share that sales target, but it is somewhere between $10 million and $100 million, he said. The company has already sold all the cameras it can produce for July, with August nearly sold out as well, Rosenthal said.
The big question around Lytro is still whether or not its “living pictures” functionality is enough to revolutionize the photography world. Will the adjustment of focus and perspective be enough to capture the imagination and creativity of photographers well into the future? Lytro’s betting a lot that it will, even as other companies have built the same adjust-after-the-fact functionality into their own devices.