Lytro’s shoot now, focus later camera was the talk of the photography industry when it was first unveiled nearly two and a half years ago. The $399 camera was unique in virtually every aspect but it ultimately proved to be a dud for a number of reasons.
The effect of being able to refocus after the fact was extremely impressive but image quality was severely lacking, post-processing was very resource-intensive and the camera itself wasn’t terribly practical. Simply put, the idea and technology behind the camera was great but the implementation wasn’t.
The company laid off some employees this past summer and although sales figures haven’t been announced, CEO Jason Rosenthal said they sold 20 percent more than anticipated. All is forgiven, however, as Lytro has just completed a $40 million round of funding that will allow them to apply their unique technology to new categories.
Many would argue that licensing their technology is the path they should have taken in the first place. If you recall, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was interested in bringing the technology to the iPhone but a deal was never reached between the two parties.
Rosenthal said they are mainly focused on how to solve consumer professional and business problems with Lytro technology. Looking to the future, there are a number of industries that could use Lytro’s technology including the medical field and industrial imaging. The tech could even show up in smartphones and video cameras as Jobs envisioned in 2011.