Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Snap a Photo First, Focus it Afterwards

Photo Credit: Eric Chang

A start-up company called Lytro is introducing an interesting new concept in digital photography: taking a picture and focusing it afterwards. This concept is called the Light Field camera. 

Like the demo above, you can choose the point you want in focus. This is accomplished by recording the Light Field. It captures all of the color, intensity and vector direction of the light in a scene. Then, you can change the focus of the picture because you have all the details in the picture. Regular cameras do not do this; they only add the number of the light rays in a scene and record them as a single unit of light.

Here are some questions I asked Lytro via Twitter:

Q: I know that this camera is aimed toward amateurs, but do you hope to have professional photographers using this camera also?
A: We want to change the way everyone (pros and amateurs alike) takes and experiences pictures. This is just the beginning...

Q: How is the light field camera better than using a camera that puts everything in focus, then bluring part of the pic with software?
A: Besides focus after the fact & instant shutter, our light field cameras allow 3D display, too.

Q: Will the focus later feature be carried out on camera or on computer?
A: You can play with focus on the camera itself and on your computer, plus others can refocus your living pictures, too.

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