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Shoot Now, Focus Later – A Look at the Lytro

Shoot Now, Focus Later - A Look at the Lytro

A great new camera technology is emerging that is set to be a milestone in photography.

The Californian company Lytro has developed a new type of camera sensor which works with light field technology. These images can capture every possible ray of light from all visible areas in the background and foreground. What this means is that one can shoot a photograph without the necessity of focusing the camera on the particular object or area of interest before the shot is taken. Instead, after transferring the image to a computer, any point in the image can be manually brought into focus.

In days of yore

In the past, light field pictures could only be shot using dozens of cameras connected to expensive computers, but Lytro has done away with the regular digital camera sensor and has developed a single camera sensor that is up to the task. It is able to capture every light ray that it comes into contact with. To accompany this new sensor, developers had to create the software able to convert the data into shifting focus images.

Interesting times

This new development in photography makes taking pictures so easy that it almost seems like cheating. One cannot dismiss the fact that part of the artist’s mastery lies in obtaining the optimal focus of his subject. Many thought that the advent of the digital camera would deprive photography of its artistry. It seemed too easy to shoot hundreds of images in a machine-gun manner and select the best images from them. But it didn’t take long for the technology to convert the naysayers after they experienced its benefits firsthand. Perhaps it will be the same for Lytro’s new gizmo. The developers at Lytro believe it will open new forms and uses of photography.

People will now be able to take super-speedy shots, and perhaps surprising items within a photograph may be more easily spotted if one begins with an entirely out-of-focus image and scans over it with the focusing cursor. Lytro’s sensor captures so much light that photos can be taken in unusually low light conditions. The most exciting thing of all is that the camera can take 3D photos, which need to be viewed with 3D glasses.

Lytro’s aim is to create its own camera with its built in sensor technology as opposed to a feature or accessory to be added to other cameras. Photographers are very anxious to see this product on the market and try it out for themselves.

Product Image Gallery

All product images are free to share under Creative Commons, by Dcoetzee

Sample Lytro Images

Hold your mouse over the picture – wait till the image loads fully – and then click on different parts of the image to focus on that particular point. Cool, isn’t it?

All sample images taken from Lytro.com – go to pictures.lytro.com for more

(Some people have been having trouble viewing the Lytro images above – some have also had trouble clicking the link to go to Lytro.com. If you do too, please type in pictures.lytro.com into your browser URL bar!)

By Jason Ruger
All content by the author

Interesting post, Jason! I’ll be having a look at the Lytro myself – soon. Keep a look out for that, guys. In the meanwhile, did you know that I’m currently working on this site full-time? Please consider making a small donation if you can – thank you!

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3 Responses to “Shoot Now, Focus Later – A Look at the Lytro”

  1. interesting post! i was thinking about trying this camera out myself, but i’m not sure how it’d work in real life

    Posted by Gayle | January 10, 2013, 08:36
    • i’d love to check it out myself but i havent yet been able to test it out. it’s quite an interesting thing, but a bit overpriced for what it does, in my opinion. it takes good pictures, though. if i get my hands on one soon (i hope to) look out for a review!

      Posted by pixelogist | January 10, 2013, 12:57


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