Lytro Illum in the media

Posted on Jun 27, 2014 in Media

With the first LYTRO ILLUM cameras soon to be shipped to the photographers that preordered the camera, I wanted to summarize some of the media buzz of the past few months here on my blog… and it has been crazy!

The coolest exposure that the Illum received was probably Joshua Topolsky introducing the camera to Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show. Many other media outlets focused (pun intended) on the product’s extraordinary design. Engadget’s Nicole Lee writes:

And what a design it is. The Lytro Illum looks like something out of a museum or a designer piece from a Parisian fashion house. It’s a sleek and stylish thing, with a unibody magnesium chassis that’s attached to a gorgeous anodized aluminum lens barrel equipped with both zoom and focusing rings.

Also David Pierce of the Verge likes the Illum:

It’s big, with a wide round lens and a large grip, but it weighs less than 2 pounds and is perfectly comfortable in my hands. Its back face is slanted, like someone chopped off part of a larger camera to form this one.

Slashgear’s Chris Davies calls the product “a menacing stealth-black camera”, while Les Shu of Digital Trends finds that “the sleek, wedge-shaped body suggests it’s anything but traditional” and Harry McCracken of Time Magazine really understands who the Illum is designed for: “the Illum targets what the company calls ‘creative pioneers,’ which it defines as professionals and passionate amateurs who are serious about staying on the cutting edge of storytelling technology.”

As one would expect, the Illum’s angled design caught the attention of many writers. Wired’s Matt Honan explains

The angled touchscreen is designed for photography where you’re less likely to be holding a camera directly up in front of your face.

Mashable’s Pete Pachal talks about the inspiration of this aspect of the product:

The back LCD is angled downward. Lytro designed it that way because the camera doesn’t have a viewfinder. The company found that when people take photos using just an LCD screen, they tend to hold the camera below their eye level, so slanting the back came naturally. Helpfully, the display is also on an articulating arm.

Last but not least, Todd Bishop of Geekwire feels that other cameras will follow suit:

expect to see much more of this angle in all sorts of cameras in the future. The reason, of course, is that we’re increasingly holding cameras (and smartphone cameras) away from our bodies and looking at larger displays, not pressing the tiny viewfinder up to our eyes. So an upward tilt makes a ton of sense.

In the bigger scheme of the product development effort behind Lytro Illum, Artefact’s industrial design involvement was fairly brief, yet Wired’s Liz Stinson was interested in hearing about our design process and Core77’s Rain Noe spoke with Artefact’s co-founder Gavin Kelly and I about our work on the product, and I was selected to being Geekwire’s Geek of the Week, due to my role in the design process of Illum… and being that geek, I simply cannot wait to receiving my own Illum and to putting it through its paces.

[Update, August 3, 2014]

Now that Lytro Illum is shipping, some journalists had the chance to review the product in person, and the feedback regarding the product’s industrial design has been very favorable.

Writes David Pierce of The Verge:

There’s also no mistaking it for any other camera. Partly because its slanted back (designed so you can see the screen while you hold the camera at chest-level) gives the Illum a vaguely aggressive look, like it’s coming for you and your loved ones. Partly because the matte gray body with blue accents looks like it maybe fell from a spaceship or was lifted from the set of Battlestar Galactica. The Illum is big, bulky, and almost intimidating. I love the way it looks.

Wall Street Journal’s Geoffrey A. Fowler observes:

When I walked around with the Illum, the camera’s near-futuristic lines prompted bystanders to compliment it.