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Tag Archives: Lytro

Lytro Illum camera lets users refocus blurred photos after shooting

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.”

Lytro Illum
Refocus photos on a single point or create 3D images using one lens. Photograph: Lytro

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.


Computational photography: the snap is only the start

To paraphrase REM “Is this the end of the world as we know it? ”

Certainly there will be many who think the end is neigh and that photography as a means of creative control through camera techniques is in it’s death throes. I’m not talking about the ‘art’ photography we are supposed to admire like the recent winners of the  DEUTSCHE BÖRSE PHOTOGRAPHY PRIZE who don’t make photographs whilst still entering a photography competition, I am talking about the regular every day photography that you and everyone you know engages in, whether with a camera or a phone.

From the BBC an article by Leo Kelion tells how in the not too distant future what you photography will be irrelevant because computational photography (software) will allow you to change where and what you focus on.

Imagine a camera that allows you to see through a crowd to get a clear view of someone who would otherwise be obscured, a smartphone that matches big-budget lenses for image quality, or a photograph that lets you change your point of view after it’s taken. The ideas may sound outlandish but they could become commonplace if “computational photography” lives up to its promise. Unlike normal digital photography – which uses a sensor to capture a single two-dimensional image of a scene – the technique records a richer set of data to construct its pictures. Instead of trying to mimic the way a human eye works, it opens the activity up to new software-enhanced possibilities. Pelican Imaging is one of the firms leading the way…..

A companion app uses this information to let the snapper decide which parts of their photo should be in focus after they are taken. This includes the unusual ability to choose multiple focal planes. For example a photographer in New York could choose to make the details of her husband’s face and the Statue of Liberty behind him sharp but everything else – including the objects in between them – blurred.

We have already featured the Lytro Camera that allows this but the new technology is of a whole different order of things and the suggestions are that even camera phones will do this along with sophisticated HDR that actually looks good

For now, high dynamic range (HDR) imaging offers a ready-to-use taste of computational photography. It uses computer power to combine photos taken at different exposures to create a single picture whose light areas are not too bright and dim ones not too dark.

However, if the subject matter isn’t static there can be problems stitching the images together. Users commonly complain of moving objects in the background looking as if they’re breaking apart. One solution – currently championed by chipmaker Nvidia – is to boost processing power to cut the time between each snap. But research on an alternative technique which only requires a single photo could prove superior. “Imagine you have a sensor with pixels that have different levels of sensitivity,” explains Prof Shree Nayar, head of Columbia University’s Computer Vision Laboratory. “Some would be good at measuring things in dim light and their neighbours good at measuring very bright things. “You would need to apply an algorithm to decode the image produced, but once you do that you could get a picture with enormous range in terms of brightness and colour – a lot more than the human eye can see.” Even if current HDR techniques fall out of fashion, computational photography offers other uses for multi-shot images.
So do you want to embrace this or does it fill you with loathing?
Pelican makes a phone camera that allows two subjects to be in focus but not objects in between them
Here to make you feel better is a picture by Henri Cartier-Bresson

Lytro the camera you can focus after taking the picture

Last night in our Portrait class a student was concerned that using his 85mm f1.2 meant he sometimes focussed in the wrong place, I suggested that f1.2 might be just too shallow for a portrait photograph that captures a face and this started a discussion as to where one should focus. I maintained that the eyes are the most important in a portrait but, rightly, others said sometimes there are other aspects of a face, or in fact the portrait,  that one might want to highlight. I said there is now a camera that you can focus after having taken the picture. This brought amazement and scepticism. The sceptical aspects were surely a photographer should know where they want to focus before pressing the shutter, personally I agree with this thought, and that how can a camera do this. I promised to find information on this. I have posted on the Lytro before here and here but this time I found a new article,  that explains how the Lytro is going to allow manual settings, seems weird when everything else is automatic, but what is really interesting on this site is that it allows you to re-focus images on the site itself so you can see how the process works. Go and have a play.

Do I care about this stuff, no not one bit, this is not photography as I have known it for decades, the making of decisions at the point of capture is fundamental to me but then I am old, how about you, not are you old, but what do you think about the making of images. Can everything be Instagramed to make it interesting afterwards, perhaps I should put interesting in quote marks. If I see another ‘creative’ filter applied to a crap picture to make it ‘interesting’ I might explode, now that would be worth photographing

Lytro a camera that allows you to determine focus after taking the picture

“After months of speculation, Lytro finally revealed their new technology camera. As most of you know, this camera allows you to take a photograph, and change the focus afterwards. This is possible because instead of capturing a single plane of light, the camera captures the entire light field. I was a little surprised at how small it is, but it does the job none the less. While I don’t think this camera is going to be a “game changer”, it certainly is one of the most exciting things to happen to the world of photography in recent memory. The 8GB version, which holds 350 photographs, costs $399 and comes in Electric Blue or Graphite. The 16BG version, which holds 750 photographs, costs $499 and comes in Red Hot.”…more

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. So, capture the moment you meant to capture not the one a shutter-delayed camera captured for you. – Lytro

“It’s a striking industrial design for those accustomed to cameras festooned with buttons, protruding lenses, scroll wheels, and knobs. But the biggest differences are on the inside.

Conventional digital cameras use lenses to focus a subject so it’s sharp on the image sensor. That means that for an in-focus part of the image, light from only one direction reaches the sensor. For light-field photography, though, light from multiple directions hits each patch of the sensor; the camera records this directional information, and after-the-shot computing converts it into something a human eye can understand.

The result is that a Lytro camera image is a 3D map of whatever was photographed, and that means people can literally decide what to focus on after they’ve taken the photo.”…more