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Lytro camera sensor would allow focus-free shooting

updated 10:45 am EDT, Wed June 22, 2011

Lytro light field cam allows post-shot focus

Newcomer Lytro has unveiled a new camera technology that promised to revolutionize how cameras capture shots. Its new sensor captures light fields independent of the direction of the camera and avoids the need to focus the shot at the time it's taken. Instead, photographers would just have to pick the focal point in software, either on the camera or on another device.

The system uses a grid of microlenses between the primary lens and the sensor. All the extra lenses can gauge both the intensity of the light and its direction.

At a minimum, the technology should entirely eliminate the focus delay and allow many more cameras the option of shooting in low light, since they can usually refocus on the right point. The step would also enable 3D without needing two sensors and two lenses to create a stereoscopic effect.

Lytro has been working on the project since at least 2007 and is already close enough that it plans to have a working camera of its own on the market by the end of the year. More details were expected to come later. [via AllThingsD]

Click once to refocus, twice to zoom in

Non-interactive examples: shifting the focus from the woman (top) to the man (bottom)

by MacNN Staff



  1. Gazoobee

    Joined: Dec 1969



    They aren't "... unveil(ing) a new camera technology ..." they are just implementing an older one.

    These guys didn't invent the process, it's been done at least twice before. They are just trying to market this particular implementation of the technology for the first time perhaps.

  1. Integr8d

    Joined: Dec 1969



    This 'news' first appeared, to me, on DPReview about 4 years ago.

  1. blecch

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Yes, this is correct

    This is in fact a new camera technology. Although research had been going on at Stanford (and elsewhere) about light field photography for years, it was Ren Ng, founder of Lytro, who worked out (with colleagues and advisors) light field photography with a handheld camera, and who wrote her PhD thesis on it, winning the ACM doctoral dissertation award for the year that she graduated.

  1. blecch

    Joined: Dec 1969


    X-ray vision

    Light field photography can also do interesting things like see through underbrush, venetian blinds, or other barriers that do not completely obscure a subject. This is one reason why research in the field is funded by DARPA, etc..

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