Focus? That’s so Old School

Wired talks with two professional photographers about their positive experiences using Lytro’s new light field cameras. Unlike traditional digital cameras, Lytro’s lenses capture the entire light field instead of a single plane.

The upshot, as Lytro explains it:

Since you’ll capture the color, intensity, and direction of all the light, you can experience the first major light field capability - focusing after the fact. Focus and re-focus, anywhere in the picture. You can refocus your pictures at anytime, after the fact.

And focusing after the fact, means no auto-focus motor. No auto-focus motor means no shutter delay.

And no shutter delay means, in theory, no missing your shot.

Lytro’s wording is important here: you can experience the first major light field capability. 

In his interview with Wired, photographer Stephen Boxall thinks the technology could eventually be integrated into 3D movies.

3D images could be rendered in real-time to an audience, and the audience’s eyes could be tracked using motion-sensing and facial recognition technology to determine where each person is looking at the film onscreen.

“Now you are able to look around the head of your favorite movie star to see what’s happening behind them whilst having the scene refocus wherever you look,” Boxall says. 

Lytro explains its science here. An image gallery is here. The cameras are scheduled for release in early 2012 with prices ranging from $399-$499.

Image: Jason Bradley, See Lions Soaking in the Sun via Lytro. Select the image to play with its focusing.

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