The Lytro light field camera – which lets users adjust a photo's focus after it's been taken – has gained the manual controls photographers have been craving, with a new firmware update. This means users can now stretch their creative shutter finger and adjust things like shutter speed or ISO (remember there's no need to adjust aperture, which is a constant f/2.0), and turn on or off the neutral density (ND) filter.
While the Lytro light field camera is potentially one of the biggest game-changing innovations in the photography world to occur in some time, users have sometimes criticized its fully automatic nature. For example, this can mean that in a low light situation, the camera might increase the ISO to enable a faster shutter speed, rather than keep the ISO low and use a slower shutter speed, which would be preferable if shooting a more static scene.
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However, a new firmware update (available to download for Mac or Windows) will allow creative Lytro-wielders to take control of their images and use the rear touchscreen to alter settings of Shutter Speed, ISO, Neutral Density (ND) Filter and Auto Exposure (AE) Lock.
Shutter speed can now be set between 1/250th of a second and eight seconds, depending on whether you're shooting an action shot or working in dark conditions. This can be paired with ISO settings from 80 to 3200, letting you judge whether you're in a bright enough situation to keep the ISO low, or need to push it up in lower light situations to use a faster shutter speed.
Lytro has also given users the option to turn on and off a neutral density filter, to adjust the amount of light captured in extremely bright settings, plus it introduced the ability to lock the auto exposure while changing the composition of a picture in a scene.
In addition to the new firmware (which will be pre-installed on new Lytro cameras) Lytro has also introduced two new colors – Seaglass and Moxie Pink – along with two new accessories: a camera case (US$60) and a camera sleeve ($30).
Here's an example of what can be done with manual controls – click on different parts of the photo to change focus.