Lytro Support/Support Forums/Lytro Camera - Support Questions

Answered

Using the Lytro in Bright Sunlight

Penny Smith
asked this on March 04, 2012 10:18 AM

I am having trouble viewing the image display in bright sunlight. All I see is a reflection of my face. What can I do to cut down on the glare? It is very difficult to frame a shot that I cannot see...

Thanks.

 

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Penny Smith

I have further experimented with the camera in bright sunlight, and I am now wondering if this might be a "personal" problem (i.e. others don't seem bothered by the reflection of themselves as it "disappears from the display" in a matter of seconds). I wear glasses, and I am unable to see 3D on a television or monitor, but I can quite easily see 3D on a large movie screen... I also have NEVER been able to see one of those magic eye stereo-grams. Could this possibly be related to my experience with the camera in bight sunlight?

 

I have no problem with the camera indoors and did not notice it it evening light.

Any insights here would be greatly appreciated!

March 04, 2012 12:34 PM
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Ian Ellison
Lytro Staff

Hi Penny,

We're aware that this is an issue for many people when shooting in very bright sunlight, and we're considering all options for steps to take to improve the experience in these conditions, but at the end of the day the brightness of the screen itself may not be something that we can change all that much.  Again, we are looking at all of the options that are available to us, though.


For now, one thing many people have reported can be useful is flipping the camera upside-down when shooting (shutter on the bottom, shoot with your thumb), or even sideways, as the characteristics of the screen vary to some degree depending on orientation.  You may also want to try holding the camera slightly above or below your natural eye-line.

NOTE: Although the pictures will not auto-rotate on the camera, they should auto-rotate as soon as you import them into the Lytro Desktop software on your computer.  For further details on importing and rotation, see this Knowledgebase (KB) entry and this KB entry too.

March 04, 2012 04:46 PM
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Penny Smith

Hi Ian,

Thanks so much for the speedy response. I will try your suggestions for holding/rotating the camera to see how that works.

There is so much to this seemingly simple little box... it is obviously "light years" beyond a digital camera. I feel challenged to get "good" at taking living pictures and appreciate how much there is to learn along the way.  I also look forward to the amazing things to come from Lytro. I am so happy to hear I can "upgrade" my photos when new software comes out. WOW!

Thank you for bringing the future to my desktop!

March 05, 2012 08:59 AM
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Penny Smith

It is another very bright sunny day here... and the glare is reduced by positioning the camera as suggested, but, in most cases, it is still challenging to see the display. Wearing a baseball cap with a brim helps...

Is it possible to use an anti-glare film on the display? I found this: http://www.nushield.com/

What do you advise? I would very much like to use my camera to shoot a parade coming up in May. If it is a bright day like today (which is highly likely), I'm not sure how I would do it...

March 05, 2012 09:48 AM
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Chris Macomber
Lytro Staff
Check Answer

Penny, go ahead and give it a try.  It won't hurt the camera, and I'd love to hear if it works for you.

March 05, 2012 05:49 PM
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Penny Smith

I have just received the anti-glare film I ordered from the Apple website (HD anti-glare film set for iPhone 4by Power Support $14.99 for 2 sheets). I don't have to actually install it to see that it dramatically reduces the reflective glare.... alas, it also reduces the clarity of the display. The day is completely overcast today so the glare problem is minimal. I will report back when it gets sunny again here - whenever that is!

March 08, 2012 11:47 AM
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Nils Eddy

Here are a couple of photos that show the glare and blackout problems that occur in bright light. In the glare photo that's my ear in the reflection; the glare is often worse when I am looking straight at it. 

The blackout photo is typical of how the screen goes dark when tipping the Lytro to frame a shot. I use a couple of conventional cameras with live-view screens (including one with touch-screen) which have this problem to some extent but are not nearly as bad as the Lytro. I've tried cupping my hand over the screen to shield it but that usually changes the zoom.  :-/ 

March 09, 2012 05:54 PM
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Chris Macomber
Lytro Staff

Nils, I want to make sure I understand the problem.  Are you still experience the viewing angle issue in bright light or does the screen literally black out?

March 10, 2012 08:47 AM
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Nils Eddy

It's a viewing angle problem that is far more pronounced than on most camera displays which are much larger. As the photo shows, only the strongest highlights are faintly visible (behind the reflection). Basically, I'm shooting blind about half the time outdoors, and so I record several images in hopes that one will be acceptable. The only way I can see the screen well enough to frame the shot (and select specific exposure or focus areas on the screen) is to move my head in line with the camera, but that is often impractical. The Lytro is a lot like using an old film camera where you had to have your eye to the viewfinder or learn to shoot from the hip like a street photographer. 

March 10, 2012 10:39 AM
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Patty Harris

I know with other cameras, a hood around the viewer helps.    Maybe something like that for the Lytro?

March 16, 2012 02:29 PM
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Nils Eddy

Patty, a hood would help with stray side light, but it would make the touch screen difficult to use and would further compromise off-angle viewing. And unless the camera body is redesigned I doubt a hood could be mounted easily. A pivoting viewfinder would have been a thoughtful design. 

March 16, 2012 03:34 PM
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Patty Harris

I see your point, Nils.  As an underwater photographer, I can agree that an angled viewfinder is an effective and elegant solution.   It can be retrofit onto a camera housing; something could be fashioned for the existing Lytro.    Wishful thinking......

March 16, 2012 04:25 PM
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Nils Eddy

Someone already adapted a mirrored eyepiece to the Lytro, although it inverts the image and prevents use of the touch screen. I was thinking more of a pivoting viewfinder sort of like the accessory on the Olympus Pen cameras. 

March 16, 2012 06:34 PM
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Grant Hendrick

Howdy Penny, I was one who as a Beta tester did a lot to try rotating the camera to reduce the glare issue. I find that both in terms of the LCD glare and the ergonomics of holding the camera a 90 degree rotation is both very helpful. I find it easier to hold the camera one-handed when it is at 90%  I did a variety of tests to look at the auto-rotation needed and it works extremely well. Only rarely did I need to manually rotate an image.

I too am interested in what you find with the anti-glare film when the sun returns. 

March 29, 2012 10:21 PM
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Grant Hendrick

Nils have have suggested a hood and experiment some. Very crude but I tried using  a split paper towel roll and some rubber bands -- not that one wants such a nice looking camera to be ugly -- just as a test. By using my typical 90 degree rotation and having the hood cover one half of the perimeter -- 1/2 on two sides and across the side that becomes the top -- I had access to the zoom and easy access to the touch screen. The LCD was much brighter. 

I think Ian and company could easily design a end that slips over the end of the camera and then extends 1 or 1.5 cm over the edge -- that should be fairly unobtrusive and help the LCD.

I am curious to see what other suggestions will be generated.

March 29, 2012 10:28 PM
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Robert Soudant

On my 3" LCD for a Canon S95 I use a product called Hoodman but there was nothing like that at Amazon or B&H Photo for the Lytro form factor.  There are several manufacturers when searching for LCD Hood or a variation. Perhaps Lytro could approach these manufacturers to see if they would be interesting in providing this type of accessory.   Similarly there are tethering devices on the market for attaching the lens protector which is proving hard no to misplace.  

April 07, 2012 08:22 AM
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Grant Hendrick

Howdy Robert,

I love the idea of approaching the manufactures about making a proper hood. 

As to the lens cap -- my first couple of days with the camera -- I bet I dropped that little bugger 20 times.  I love my wife's suggestion -- we now use a soft microfiber sunglasses bag -- it works great -- the lens cap is held pretty much in place when in a pocket and when pulling the camera out the lens cap falls off inside the bag and thus does not get lost.

Cheers,

Grant

April 08, 2012 10:04 PM
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Sean Calfee

Try the 'Hoodman HoodLoupe Professional LCD Screen Loupe for 3" Displays' from B&H (or if your local camera store). The Lytro camera easily slides into the loupe and makes reviewing your images much, much easier in brightly lit situations. However you will imediately notice the low resolution of the touchscreen. Clearly this will be addressed in the next generation Lytro camera.

April 21, 2012 11:11 AM
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Nils Eddy

A screen loupe is a poor solution because it covers the zoom and screen controls, and it does not work with off-axis viewing. 

April 21, 2012 02:16 PM
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Robert Soudant

Amazon sells the "Pana-vue #3 35 MM slide viewer"for $7.90 that works reasonably well.  The hood is opaque black plastic but the slide holder is translucent plastic that easily pops off allowing the Lytro slip into the open cavity of the hood.  No attachment is required so it is easy to use the touch screen. The only problem is the small plastic lens is a bit too strong resulting in an up-close view of the screen. I removed the lens but then my eye was to close to the screen to focus.  Ultimately this is an $8 temporary solution that works and you still have a way to look at this old pre-lytro 35mm slides. 

April 21, 2012 02:32 PM
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Terry Ammons

using the touch screen controls is all but impossible outside.  and if you can't put your eye directly behind the screen you just have to randomly click without being able to focus or frame.   This IS the design of this camera and can't be changed until you buy another one later if they fix the problem.  This is what makes this basically a toy even though sometimes its manageable.  My solution is to take more pictures and then I end up just keeping the good ones and throw away most of them.  Until you can crop and zoom in the software, this is your only solution.  This camera is just the beginning of something that will get better over time.

April 22, 2012 08:39 AM
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Grant Hendrick

Howdy Terry,

The sun is an issue at certain angles. Robert Soudant has a hood suggestion above -- I have fashioned my own which helps in many situations. 

My best suggestion is to rotate the camera 90 degrees -- this will often help produce a brighter image on the screen. I also find it easier to use the camera this way.

I do love when others also encourage bring crop into the software; and I agree that the camera and technology will keep getting better.

Cheers,

Grant

April 22, 2012 08:47 AM
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Terry Ammons

Thanks.   I am not deterred by this.  I'm learning to work with it now since i know its greatest strength will be in the software development over time.  My struggle so far is to be able to know that I "got a good one" when I take the pic.  I just don't really know until i get back to my computer so i feel i'm experimenting more than photographing but I'm ok with that too.   I love everything about it so far except i'm just counting the hours until i lose that lens cap.  As a designer and architect i get the beauty and simplicity of it but it comes off in my bag constantly and I don't  always have a way to clean the lens.

April 22, 2012 09:04 AM
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Terry Ammons

if there was a way that the lens cap slid down but stayed attached to the camera, it could also be used as a brace for setting it on something to take a clear still close up.  it could also hinge back under and use the magnet to hold it to the camera body when shooting or be removed altogether like it does now.  I'm sure this will be addressed in some future design but these are some of my initial thoughts.

April 22, 2012 09:09 AM
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Raiford Palmer

I too worked with my new Lytro for the first time in direct sunlight today with my dogs. Cool camera, but it does need at least a sunshade over the screen (even a simple plastic or rubber fitting like a sleeve could work).  The lens cap needs to be changed to be either tethered to the Lytro, or a more traditional cap, since the magnetic cover is easily knocked off when taking the camera out of a case or bag. Neat camera and I am very interested in the future upgrades via the software.

June 02, 2012 07:49 PM
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Grant Hendrick

Howdy Raiford.

Glad you are having fun with your camera too.  I have a couple of suggestions. A sunshade is something that is a great idea -- I have rigged up some and they make a huge difference in certain conditions. I also want to pass on a tip that I often use to better view the LCD -- if you rotate the camera 90 degrees it will often give you a better view of what is on the screen. 

The lens cap does tend to come off and some people are devising different ways to attach it to the camera. I use a different approach. I use a soft sunglasses bag to hold the camera. This bag helps keep the camera from getting scratched as well as when you remove the camera from your pocket the lens cap tends to fall off inside the bag and not get  to the edge of the pocket and then quietly fall to the ground.

I must say my first two days with the camera I lost the lens cap at least 20 times -- now using the bag and shooting very many months and many 1000s of pictures I have zero problems with the lens cap.

Best wishes and happy shooting,

Grant

June 04, 2012 11:27 AM
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John Osborn
I see that many others have had the same experience. For me, the viewfinder is impossible to use when any light source reflects on it. The only solution I could think of, if reasonably possible, is to harken back to the photographers of the wild west who worked under a dark hood that eliminated stray light from reaching the back of the camera. Of course, if we had a through the lens view rather than a monitor screen that could work too. But that would interfere with the touch screen focus functions. I like the newness of this technology, but realisticly see it as a very expensive toy rather than a strong addition to my photography grab bag. Of course the viewing problems also occur when using our smart phones for photography, an iPhone in my case. But, I have not been bothered with the iPhone to the extent that I am with the Lytro. Now that I have been led to this forum I see that there are a couple of things I can do to slightly improve viewability. Turning the camera 90 degrees helped a little. I guess I will continue playing with it and hopefully improve my results. I do notice, though, that even turning the camera hasn't helped my with the touch screen focus function. Things seem to remain slightly out of focus when I try to shoot close subjects in hi sunlight. Concerning the lens cap, the local camera store sells a device that sticks to the front of the cap and has an elastic band that can be placed around the camera. I have one on my Canon SLR and will check into it for my Lytro. Help!!!
June 04, 2012 03:33 PM
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Stephen Quigley
I find that I have all of the above problems as I do with my iPhone. It may need an upgrade based on Kindle technology; I can read the Kindle at the beach.
July 03, 2013 10:22 AM
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Stephen Quigley
I find that I have all of the above problems as I do with my iPhone. It may need an upgrade based on Kindle technology; I can read the Kindle at the beach.
July 03, 2013 10:22 AM
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adam gould
Lytro Staff

Stephen, that's a great tip thanks!

July 03, 2013 11:31 AM