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Lytro Shuts Down Its Light Field Photo Sharing Website

December 7th, 2017

Lytro Shuts Down Its Light Field Photo Sharing Website:

I wrote about Lyrtro here in 2012 and it seems I was right to wonder. Lytro’s folded their publishing service never having offered a way for camera owners to publish images where the light field remained interactive rather than flattened to a jpg (what they called a “living picture”) in any other way than through their own service. 

What they offer now is the right to link a person to download your file and their desktop application. We call this the bare minimum and hardly useful.

So, as I politely and, I’d hoped at the time constructively,  predicted, if you own the camera and relied on them to keep what made the images special available and fully functional, guess what? You’re screwed now because they never did release an open source .js based Living Picture tool for content creators.

The lesson? If you buy a product, own the product and whatever you can make with that product, fully useful. If you buy a product and the seller is trying to make that a product actually a service, they want you to pay them to own you. Don’t do it.

The company is doing what the Phred the Venture Capitalist would call a pivot into VR and CG. I make no predictions and express none of the doubts about that future for them that my post about their consumer offerings implied. I just can’t make the same kind of informed guess. I will say, that VR thing sure has taken off in a big way. Everybody you know has VR googles. Right? (Ok so I lied about not making predictions.)

A final note: Long after I wrote the original piece I bought a first generation Lytro camera when they were available at closeout prices. I unboxed it, shot a few images and decided to box if back up and return it in less than an hour’s time because image quality was just that bad except in the most idealized conditions where it rose to the level of parlor trick. 


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