Shoot now, focus later

The Californian camera company Lytro, are starting a photographic revolution with their ‘transforming light field technology’. They are challenging and adopting a century’s worth of photographic theory and exploration, which comes neatly packaged into an incredibly unique, pocket sized camera.

Rather than just capturing one plane of light (like a traditional camera), it captures the entire light field around a picture. The result is that you can refocus photos after they’ve been snapped, shift the scenes perspective, and even move seamlessly between 2D and 3D views.

The proof is in the pudding: Click on the blurred Elvis statues in the foreground of the image to bring the picture to life.

Later this year, Lytro will debut their first commercial light field camera. Their technology and marketing is certainly attractive, but only time will tell whether it has a place on the consumer shelf. It could either be the most revolutionary advancement in photography since the 1800s, or the next Polaroid. Whatever the outcome though, the ride promises to be a lot of fun!


One thought on “Shoot now, focus later

  1. Yes, it is revolutionary stuff and the demo is pretty impressive. Great for flower photography.

    The effect, however, seems to be like that of a telephoto lens at wide aperture, so you get a nice blur and very shallow DoF. Since the world clearly doesn’t look like that, I think its success will be the extent to which they can emulate different focal lengths and apertures. A 28mm lens @ f16 gets pretty much the whole world in focus, especially if you set it at the hyperfocal distance and don’t bother with autofocus.

    It might be a new phase in photography or it might be the new HDR. We were told that HDR was great because of the increased exposure latitude, which supposedly made it more like what our eye sees, but to be honest, all HDR pics look like heavy metal album covers to me, and I hate it.


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