After a pair of misfires on the consumer front, Lytro's light-field camera technology may have reached its full potential. The first-generation Lytro was too expensive and limited, and the even pricier Lytro Illum was hampered by bugs and disappointing image quality. Now, the Lytro camera everyone wanted in the first place is nearly here. The new Lytro Cinema camera will be able to do the coolest trick in video history--allowing filmmakers to refocus within a scene after it's captured. That's because Lytro's special sensors don't record photons the same way traditional cameras do.
Lytro has only just begun its mission to become a leader in professional VR cameras, but it's already looking to disrupt regular film production, too. The Lytro Cinema camera puts the company's fancy light-field technology into a normal film camera. To call the camera "normal" is really a misnomer, though, since the specs on this thing are anything but: It can capture footage at a ridiculous 755 megapixels per frame, at 300 frames per second. But that's not what makes the Lytro Cinema special. By capturing detailed depth and direction information of all incoming light, the camera unlocks a host of abilities that can usually only be done with expensive post-production, if at all.
If "the best camera is the one that's with you," then you always have a pretty damn good camera if you own an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus. To give you more options than Apple provides, Filmic has just released a beta version of its Pro app that lets you shoot 4K video in a "log" or flat profile, a feature found on pricey cinema cameras like the Red Weapon. Filmmaker Matteo Bertoli got his hands on it and showed exactly why you'd want video output that, at first, looks fairly drab (above, top). The idea is that you can then adjust the video so that it really pops (above, bottom) without losing details in the shadows and highlights. "Of course the footage will look weird at the beginning, but this is totally normal," wrote Bertoli in PetaPixel.
As it teased, Blackmagic Design has unveiled a 4K version of its popular portable RAW camera at NAB 2018. The Pocket Cinema Camera 4K packs a full-size, dual native ISO Micro Four Thirds sensor and can internally record 4K HDR RAW at 4,096 x 2,160 and 60 fps in 12-bit RAW or 10-bit ProRes. Best of all, it costs $1,295, nearly half the price of Panasonic's video-oriented GH5s, making it the cheapest 4K RAW camera available by a long ways. The Pocket Cinema Camera 4K (let's call it the BMPCC 4K) sports an all-new body that's lot more modern than the original. It's built using carbon-fiber, rather than metal, which makes it lighter, Blackmagic Design said.