lytro light field camera lytro light field camera
jun 23, 2011

lytro light field camera

two stills adapted from a single image taken with a lytro prototype camera, which captures the entire light field of a scene images © lytro / richard koci hernandez

california-based startup lytro has developed light field technology for use in digital cameras, creating a device that automatically captures all parts of a scene in detail so that the image can be focused on one or multiple sections after uploading. the camera eliminates the need for focusing during image capture, and offers the freedom to choose in post-processing whether to create shallow depth of field or focus-stacked images, and which parts of the picture should be in focus.

a light field consists of all light rays traveling in all directions in a scene, thus fully defining every aspect of how it appears. traditional camera sensors ‘tabulate’ all the light rays and record them as a single amount of light. by contrast, the lytro sensor captures the colour, intensity, and vector direction of all rays of light. it relies primarily on software algorithms rather than mechanical parts, increasing the speed of picture capture and improving image-taking in low light conditions.

data stored in the photograph will enable the images to not only be focused in post-processing, but also to be posted online in a way that viewers and well as the photographer can switch between multiple focuses, as in the images below and on the lytro picture gallery webpage.

clicking on different sections of this and the following photographs (taken with the lytro prototype camera) brings them into focus image © michael soo

image © lytro / eric cheng

image © lytro / eric cheng

image © lytro / jason bradley

image © lytro / eric cheng

image © lytro / eric cheng

example stills taken from a single lytro photograph images © lytro / richard koci hernandez

diagram illustrating the concept of the light field, the set of all light rays in all directions defining a scene

preview video for the lytro camera

  • so your basically bracketing the shot in different focal points in an instant? ok.

    EA Berlin says:
  • @EA Berlin, no, did you read the first sentence? It is literally TAKING the photograph
    in a completely different way. You can read 200 pages of the scientific background on that site:

    Does it do anything that bracketing and focus-stacking doesn’t do?
    On the photographer side perhaps not. On the photo-viewer side, yes.
    On the fact that it looks like it’s designed for your typical point-and-shooter
    who just wants images as painlessly as possible, also probably yes.

    Richard says:
  • What caught my attention the most as a photographer is the possibilities for low-light shooting, especially for concerts, clubs, and bars, places where the auto-focus tends to get confused, and even manual focus can be really, really hard to judge.

    Dan-O says:

    @alfredusfrank says:
  • This has to be the most impressive photo technology since we went digital.

    Josh says:

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