A few days ago, I bought a Lytro Camera on Woot for $59.99. Lytro was a darling new product of the 2012 tech scene. The Lytro's claim to fame is that you can refocus your images AFTER you take the picture, as it captures directional data about where the light is coming from.
This sounds a little cooler than it is, but it's actually still pretty cool.
When the Lytro debuted, it was $400! Which was crazy because once you get past the fancy refocusing features, it only produces a 1080px x 1080px jpeg. It captures 18 megs of data to allow you a lot of leeway in refocussing and playing with that 170kb or so jpeg, but still if you are going to drop $400 on a camera, you're going to want a higher final output.
Lytro tried to sell people on embeding "living" pictures on their websites, with the Lytro viewer, you can refocus their images while on a web page, but for the most part, there is limited utility in the viewer being able to do this (although it is fun for the photographer.)
The Lytro camera is a beautiful piece of gear though, and while it's not worth $400 for it's picture quality, it's single piece aluminum shell, optical refocussing lens and touch sensitive rubber grip do shout "high end device" so for the crazy blowout Woot price of $60 105 of it's original cost, it's certainly worth it as an object of tech art at the very least.
One of the main things I hope to use the camera on is Action Figure photos. Both of the below images are the same photo. They were refocussed after taking them.
The shallow depth of field on close-up images is sort of the camera's "one cool trick".
Below is a shot that was taken with the zoom, from one couch to the other in my living room. After the shot, I put the focus on the cell phone and the rest of me blurred out nicely.
In our initial playing with the camera outside, we didn't have a lot of success with more general photography. It's real easy for the image to go soft, and even with the post processing refocussing it can be hard to get a sharp shot.
One nice thing about the camera though, it turns on crazy fast and it's fairly small, so it's an easy camera to have lying around to capture spontaneous moments.
I'm sure playing around with the Lytro a bit that I'll be able to get some better shots out of it, and I think It'll be good for the action figure stuff I want to shoot with it, and for 15% of it's original asking price, it's just a beautiful piece of hardware, so all in all, I'm pretty happy I was able to pick it up.