Is The New 'Living Picture' Lytro Camera The Future Of Photography?

When Lytro launched its first generation cameras a few years ago, people wondered if their "living pictures" would become the new standard. Essentially, the Lytro camera uses light field technology to capture all the different focus points on a single photograph, so you can click on a section in the foreground and focus in on that — blurring the background — and then click on the background and sharpen the foreground (try it below). But while the idea was fascinating, it never caught on since the original Lytro just didn't take good photos. But today, Lytro announced a new camera that promises to marry light-field photography and high quality images. Check out the Lytro Illum

Unlike the first generation model, the Illum actually looks like a camera you'd want to use, with a proper lens and a semblance of an ergonomic design, which the original lacked. But clearly, the difference here is in image quality. The sensor is four times larger than its predecessor, and looks like a DSLR instead of a used up paper towel roll.

Along with the hardware, Lytro is Android-powered, giving it the image processing chops of a tablet to match the very ambitious concepts involved with this camera. If all of this sounds like greek to you, check out the Lytro image gallery and familiarize yourself. This might be the future. At least, Apple thinks so.

Ethan Wolff-Mann is the Gear editor of Supercompressor. Follow him on Twitter @ewolffmann.