Lytro Is Not Going To Put You Out of Business

Old still camera
Lytro technology is not going to put photographers out of business - photo by Arne Nordmann

If you’re in the photography field, you’ve probably already heard of Lytro field technology.  It has some unique imaging capabilities, including the ability to select DoF and a focus point after you take the shot.

Lately there has been speculation on some of the photography discussion boards that Lytro’s technology is going to revolutionize the field of photography overnight, making most of us obsolete in our own industry.  Personally, I’m not worried.

Photography has been around in one form or another for almost 200 years now.  During the entire course of the industry, there have been people getting paid to take pictures.  Photographic technology continued to advance the entire time.  In the 30’s Kodak brought photography to the masses with the Brownie camera and pre-packaged rolls of film.  There was some speculation on those days that cameras in the hands of common people would put photographers out of business.

Yet photographers survived the Brownie, 35mm film, photo labs at the corner drug store, Photoshop, and digital cameras.  There have been more than a dozen times in my lifetime alone that photographers were going to become obsolete, yet here we all are.

It’s too soon to say what impact Lytro’s field technology will have on photography.  Right now it appears to be a generational improvement that has the potential to bring a lot of positive change to the industry, but it will not replace professional photographers.

We went through this in the video industry as well.  Cheap digital video cameras were going to revolutionize filmmaking.  While they certainly revolutionized the porn industry, the rest of filmmaking stayed pretty much intact.

If we can survive digital cameras with big sensors, quality glass and price points under $1,000, we’ll survive this.  Put the world’s most advanced imaging technology available in the hands of an amateur and you’ll still get amateur photography.