Lytro bails on hosted pictures service

Lytro Illum took pictures you could refocus
Lytro Illum, a $1,599 light-field camera.

Beleaguered computational camera company Lytro has quietly shut down its hosted picture service for its light-field consumer cameras. In a blog post, the company noted: “More than two years ago, Lytro began focusing on Light Field video solutions for the cinema and virtual reality industries and discontinued the manufacturing and distribution of Lytro cameras for photography. As a part of our plan to further focus on these new efforts, the ability to publish from Lytro Desktop and Lytro Mobile to will be discontinued.”

Functions related to online sharing have been discontinued, but the Lytro Desktop software will continue to function, the company said.

Lytro history: A bid to reinvent pictures

Founded in 2006, Lytro began as a PhD research project by Stanford’s Ren Ng, eventually raising more than $140 million in capital before pivoting to VR and cinema applications in 2015. Lytro had launched two cameras for the photography market, the original pocekt-sized rectangular Lytro camera and the more advanced Lytro Illum (which eventually ended up at clearance discount electronics sites for one-third the $1,599 price).

The company shuttered the picture solution Nov. 30, just as other companies like Apple, HTC, and The Light Co. are trying to make mainstream computational photography with multi-lens cameras.