Lytro Light Field Camera Digital Camera Review$399.00
The Lytro may capture the light field, but it also still captures red, green, and blue pixels like any other camera, so we tested it like any other camera.
We measured a mean color error of 3.94, a mediocre result but within expectations for a compact camera; under 3.5 is a good result, under 3.0 is excellent. Color saturation is just about perfect, at 99.5%. Shades of red and blue are a bit exaggerated, which is pretty typical for a point-and-shoot. More on how we test color.
We should mention that our color test shots were slightly underexposed. The Lytro has no exposure compensation and try as we might, we could not get it to auto-expose correctly in our lab, so we ran our test on an image that was underexposed by a half-stop. Had we been able to expose correctly, the score probably would've been slightly higher, but there's no way to tell.
NOTE: Because of the way computer monitors reproduce colors, the images above do not exactly match the originals found on the chart or in the captured images. The chart should be used to judge the relative color shift, not the absolute captured colors.
We scraped the bottom of the barrel when we chose comparison models for the Lytro. The Apple iPhone 4S is one of our lowest-ranked point-and-shoots (no surprise), and the Sony W570 is the lowest ranked (wow, beat out by a phone). The Lytro produces more accurate, realistic colors than either of those cameras. However, the Canon ELPH 100 HS—the best cheap pocket camera we've ever tested—blows all of these models out of the water.
The Lytro only has a default color mode—no vivid or monochrome settings here.
Low Light Color
Anecdotally, the Lytro loses color saturation quickly at higher ISOs, so some indoor and most nighttime shots will look pretty drab.
The Lytro doesn't offer any custom white balance options or presets, but the automatic option works fairly well. We measured notable errors under daylight and fluorescent lighting, but it does handle incandescent lighting better than most point-and-shoots.