This is an entirely different type of post for me. However, this afternoon I was listening to a podcast of Scott Bourne’s Photo Focus for January 13, 2012. Scott was speaking about the amazing new Lytro camera.



Now I know that this camera isn’t even close to resembling a professional grade camera, but the technology behind it is just amazing. Have you ever taken a picture and afterward wished that you could change the focus point of the image?





What I mean is you would rather have the person in the background in focus instead of the object in the foreground. Sure you have, possibly as recently as your last group of images. However, that just isn’t possible. Well think again. Go ahead and click anywhere on these pictures and watch the magic occur right before your eyes. Now that is just so cool.





Can you imagine this technology on your next D9000, or maybe the D6? Are the Micro 4/3’s the future of cameras? How will this effect Photoshop CS 8?





Lytro explains that a conventional camera only captures a single plane of light, while the Lytro camera captures the entire light field. They call these living pictures. Since you’re capturing the entire light field which is the color, intensity, and direction of all the light, it is possible to focus and re-focus, anywhere in the picture. This means no auto-focus motor or shutter delay.




The Lytro Light Field Camera starts with an 8X optical zoom, f/2 aperture lens. The aperture is constant across the zoom range allowing for unheard of light capture. The camera relies on software rather than components to improve performance.





This new technology allows both the photographer and the viewer to focus the images, shift their perspective of the scene, and even switch seamlessly between 2D and 3D views.

So just think where we’ll be in the next few years! What type of features will be available on the next generation of cameras? Personally I’m not excited about the possibility of my viewer being able to change the focus point of my image. I created that image to tell a story, and I don’t want the viewer recreating it. However, I would love to have the power of this technology and the ability to tweak my story in post processing. How do you feel?




14 thoughts on “Lytro

  1. Great post Phillip. I have been following this new technology with interest as I am a closet geek. I’m not sure how I feel about the viewer being able to control the focus. I’ll probably form an opinion once it gets in the hands of photographers and what they do with it.

    1. Thanks Len. It’s very exciting technology. I’m thinking that I would love to be able to use it in post and then save it to a regular JPEG or TIFF file. I suppose that there might be a reason that I would want to give the viewer the ability to change the image. However, in the end, I want to be the one giving the viewer that option.

  2. Oh my goodness! Can you imagine what we could do with this technology. Clicking on those images is an unbelievable experience. It’s like focusing a lens with a mouse click.

    Pretty cool stuff I say. Thanks for this informative post.

    1. This reminds me of when I attended photography classes over thirty years ago. Our instructor, Gill Rogers, brought a small demonstration of a hologram. Well that technology has never really materialized, except for in the movies, and this technology is just about as hard to imagine. Wouldn’t it be so cool to have this type of power in post processing!

  3. I can see merit in the idea of being able to do this when processing my pictures – apart from anything else, it would reduce the number of pictures I’d have to take when experimenting with the focus point – but I’m not keen in allowing the viewer to change it themselves. Changing the focus changes the emphasis of the photo or story, away from the intent of what I was trying to say.

    1. I could agree more. If I had $500 burning a hole in my pocket, I certainly could come up with a better way to spend it. However, there are times that I would have loved to have a similar technology while processing my images.

  4. I have read about this camera before, but this is the first time I actually get to see and play with some pictures taken with a Lytro camera. Quite amazing, but, yes, I think I would have the same objections as you. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks Otto. Technology keeps changing on us. While some is more welcomed than other, it’s interesting to listen to the ideas. I wonder what photographers thought when the Polaroid first came out. Of course we can look back and see that it was just another type of photography. However, did people think that it would change the future of photography forever? In some ways it did, but in many ways it had no effect.

  5. I have seen this thing before – really cool. Part of me welcomes these new advancements in tch, but the other part of me thinks that they detract from the art of composing an image. Soon are the days where all you need to do is point the camera and press a button and you will have complete control over every aspect fo the picture. Not to excited about it but oh well. I do think it is fascinating though. Nice writeup.

    1. I hear you Adam. Listen to Scott’s podcast, there’s a link in my post. He spoke with some people from the company. Scott said that if you thought that you knew anything about this camera then think again. People think that this will dumb down photographers, but actually the photographer will have to be better. This camera, he said, would require the photographer to think in 3D. While I found the conversation interesting, I know nothing about 3D. So some of it was over my head. 3D really doesn’t interest me in the least. However, having a similar technology in post processing would be cool.

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