Lytro may have led the way when it came to pictures where you could choose your point of focus after the shots were taken. The company also recently introduced the Illum light field camera, which is a big improvement on its original design, but people still had to rely on Lytro’s proprietary format for sharing. Now, the startup is introducing a open-source WebGL player that anyone can integrate into their site to support Lytro photography.
The first partner to make use of the new open source player is 500px, the Toronto-founded startup that provides photographers with a visually-rich digital portfolio for showing, sharing and selling their pics. The Flickr competitor has impressed a lot of pros and advanced hobbyists with its commitment to design, so it makes sense that the two companies should work together on this launch; Lytro is still very much in the realm of the photography enthusiast, since its new Illum camera retails for $1,499 and should start shipping to the first pre-order buyers in July.
Using the WebGL player, photographers can give their audiences access to the full range of Lytro’s focus- and perspective-shifting features, and the people viewing the pics can actually remix them and re-share them as they like. It’s being touted as a new kind of “visual story telling” for photographers by 500px co-founder Evgeny Tchebotarev.
Lytro has a long way to go before it’ll convince me that $1,500 is worth paying for access to its admittedly very technically impressive tricks, but working with networks where photography and a zealous interest therein is the norm, not the exception makes a boatload of sense. As a bonus for 500px, if they can anticipate this trend and provide support for the masses of smartphone-based cameras that offer similar features through processor and multiple exposure mechanics, they’ll be ahead of the game relative to their competitors.