Lytro Light Field Camera: A Photography Revolution

Figure 1: Close focus

I spotted this last week and thought it was simply AWESOME.

How many times have you fiddled with camera focus (or waited for the automatic focus to get it right) before taking a picture?

This new technology, from Lytro, promises to change the way we take photographs.  The person (Ren Ng) who invented this did so as their PhD Thesis at Stanford (PDF), and is just now developing a product. Sweet.

How Does it Work?  Very quickly (because the technology would take a long time to understand, and, yeah, I could understand it since I know a bit about Fourier Optics from my own Thesis, but, I digress):  The picture is taken. That picture has ALL the information needed to allow you to pick a focus point AFTER the picture has been taken. You simply click your mouse where you want the focus point to be, and the algorithm takes care of the rest. 

Figure 2: Mid Focus

To show you how this works, I have grabbed a few photos from the Lytro web site with different focus points.  Figure 1, above, shows the close focus.  I clicked my mouse on the girl (I am assuming they are young) on the right (her nose to be exact).  The picture automatically put her face in focus while the others behind her are more and more blurry the further they are from the focus point.

In Figure 2, I clicked my mouse on the second girls nose…you can see how girl #1 becomes less focused and girl #2 is now clear.

Figure 3: Far Focus



For the last picture, Figure 3,  I focused on the girl’s nose in the back and clicked my mouse.  See how the girls up front are now blurry while the girls in the back are in focus.

Remember:  I did all this with one photo, the Lytro algorithm (and the information gathered via the Lytro camera) did all the rest.  VERY AWESOME!  Go to the Lytro web site picture gallery and try a few pictures your self.

Thanks to Caitlin Dong for teaching me how to insert photos and stuff in a more interesting manner!

Drive Safe!  Never Forget.

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