Shoot NOW, focus LATER? Sounds like some kind of photography oxymoron, doesn’t it!
Lytro, Inc., however, has developed a “light field” camera that will allow the photographer and the viewer to focus and refocus photographs after they have been taken. The Lytro camera, being introduced as Camera 3.0, promises to provide remarkable low-light sensitivity, and immersive 3D viewing, among other features. In addition, Lytro emphasizes that the picture taking experience will be faster and more satisfying since the camera doesn’t have to be refocused each time a photograph is taken.
“This is the next big evolution of the camera,” said CEO and Founder Dr. Ren Ng. “The move from film to digital was extraordinary and opened up picture taking to a much larger audience. Lytro is introducing Camera 3.0, a breakthrough that lets you nail your shot every time and never miss a moment. Now you can snap once and focus later to get the perfect picture.”
Just what is the “light field”?
According to Lytro, the light field is defined as all of the light traveling in every direction through a scene, from the foreground to the background and everything in between. The light field fully defines how a scene appears. Because the Lytro camera captures the entire light field, there’s no need to focus before a photograph is taken.To record the light field, a new kind of camera light field sensor had to be developed – one that captures color, intensity and vector direction of the rays of light. The additional information captured by the light field sensor is processed in the camera using special software that replaces many of the internal parts of regular cameras. Conventional camera sensors cannot record the light field in a photographic scene. The first Lytro Cameras will be available for purchase online later in 2011.
“Lytro’s breakthrough technology will make conventional digital cameras obsolete. It has to be seen to be believed,” said investor Marc Andreessen, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz.
Go to the left sidebar video panel to check out a light field, “focus later”, demonstration of the cats photograph that accompanies this article.
For more information, visit the Lytro website