World’s first digital camera that allows multiple refocuses after the picture was taken, Lytro light field camera, becomes available to customers.
The camera uses a concept developed by Professor Ren Ng, the light field. The light travels with an enormous speed in lots of directions. The immense number of rays rapidly changing directions make us to see an image in different shapes, depths, and color intensity. Lytro light field camera captures instantly a great part of this field of light and reproduces it in the digital picture.
Lytro light field sensor captures 11 million light rays of data (11 megarays) per shot. It also captures the direction of each ray. With no focus needed, the image capture is almost instantaneous. The result is 4-dimensional image capture. Light field imaging engine processes the data producing HD quality images. The pictures are displayed in 2D, but in 2012 a special algorithm will be applied to the light field and the photos will be displayed in 3D. The viewers will be able to shift the perspective of the scene.
Lytro light field camera also can shot images in low light without the use of a flash. The pictures taken are 11 megarays (around 22 megapixels). For the first customers Lytro offers free storage of images on its servers.
“Light field photography was once only possible with 100 cameras tethered to a supercomputer in a lab. Today it’s accessible to everyone in a camera that’s small and powerful, but incredibly easy to use. Our goal is to forever change the way people take and experience pictures, and today marks our first major step,” said Professor Ng.
Lytro has an original design. It was compared to a lipstick case both in shape and dimensions.
It measures 1.61 inches x 1.61 inches x 4.41 inches (41 mm x 41 mm x 112 mm) and weighs 7.55 ounces (214 g). It has an anodized aluminum frame and a rubber back-end with two buttons (one for shutter and the other for power). Its 1.46 inches (33 mm) back-lit LCD display with glass touchscreen (1.46-inch) allows the user to change the focus on-camera, compose shot, set exposure and view picture. Power button, Shutter button, Zoom slider and touchscreen are the controls.
Lytro has an internal lithium-ion battery and non-removable flash storage. It has an f/2 aperture and 8x zoom lens. Its storage capacity is from 8GB to 16GB and the battery can last till the memory is filled with images.
Lytro’s desktop application is a free download editing software. With this special photo interface the pictures can be downloaded to computer via USB and then manipulated. Lytro’s desktop serves also for sharing pictures on social networks. Picture shared from Mac (OS X) computer allows the recipient to shift the focus without other special software. Images “become interactive, living pictures,” said Professor Ng. A version for Windows will be available in 2012.
Lytro, a Silicon Valley company, was founded in 2006 by Professor Ren Ng. In 2006 Association for Computing Machinery Dissertation awarded his research on light field photography and he won Standford University’s prize for best thesis in computer science.
Lytro light field camera can be pre-ordered starting from October 19, 2011 on Lytro.com, but it will be shipped in early 2012. There are two models: 8GB (350 images), price $399, available in electric blue or graphite, and $499 16GB model (750 photos), red hot.
New Lytro 3D Living Picture Demo (video)