What’s rectangular, four-hundred bucks and focuses all over? The Lytro ($399). Of all the inevitable announcements of cameras heading up to the holidays, the Lytro offers what might be the most unique feature of all: the ability to focus anywhere anytime. It accomplishes this by capturing how a particular scene “appears” with its sensor capturing more data (color, intensity, and direction of light) than a normal camera, which allows it to create photos that can be refocused, even after the shot has been taken. Scenario: did you mean to take a photo of your girlfriend, but accidentally focused on the random garbage can behind her? No problem. Just refocus later.
The Lytro doesn’t put all its eggs in one sensor either. A unique pocket-friendly size — design: rectangular monocle — 8x optical zoom, f/2 lens, and glass touchscreen are all part of the package. One of the most interesting premises of Lytro photos is what happens after you save them to your computer. Unlike normal photos like the ones you see on this site, which live as you want the photographer to see, Lytro photos continue to “live on”, allowing users to interact with them without any cumbersome software. Here’s an example. We’re not sure how it’ll work on flickr or facebook, but frankly we don’t care — this is just too cool. The Lytro won’t fix problems related to poor composition, however, so don’t toss out the fundamentals of good shooting.
Buy Now: $399 (ships early 2012)