Second version of the ‘light field’ camera looks and feels like a traditional camera, but may make fixed focus a thing of the past
A new camera promises to shoot “living pictures” by capturing the light field of an image, allowing users to refocus their photos after taking them.
Lytro’s Illum camera resembles normal mirror-less cameras like Sony’s NEX cameras, but uses the company’s new 40-megaray light fieldsensor instead of a traditional camera sensor. The light field sensor captures the colour, intensity and direction of every light ray flowing into the camera, rather than simply the colour and intensity of the light hitting a traditional camera’s sensor.
The result is a digital image that can be refocused after the fact using the light field information to accurately recreate the image focused on a single point, viewed in 3D or used to create custom animations potentially including those involved in virtual reality.
“With Lytro Illum, creative pioneers — ranging from artistic amateurs to experienced professionals — will tap into a new wave of graphical storytelling,” said Lytro chief executive Jason Rosenthal. “By combining a novel hardware array with tremendous computational horsepower, this camera opens up unprecedented possibilities to push the boundaries of creativity beyond the limits inherent in digital or film photography.”
Illum is Lytro’s second attempt to revolutionise the way we take photos using light field technology to allow photographers to refocus their photos after taking them. Its first Lytro camera, released in 2012 based on technology developed by the company’s founder while studying for a PhD at Stanford University, resembled a fat lipstick in shape rather than a traditional camera, which made its adoption more difficult.
The Lytro Illum features an 8x optical zoom lens, with a fast shutter speed and a constant f/2.0 aperture, which ensures a high level of light enters the lens for clear photos.