Lytro came on the scene in 2012 with its first light field camera. Light field technology (hardware and software) captures all the individual light rays in a scene, allowing you to do some pretty incredible things with your images in 2D and even 3D and enabling a totally new way to experience photographic images. (You can read the theory behind this technology at www.lytro.com/downloads/resources/renng-thesis.pdf.)
As Lytro explains it, the light field is the amount of light traveling in every direction through every point in space. Conventional cameras capture only the sum total of light rays striking each point of the image sensor. A light field sensor captures the color, intensity and direction of a dense sampling of light rays—conventional sensors don’t record the directional information. A unique light field engine processes this information to produce the images and their unique interactive opportunities for the viewer.
Unique light field technology produces images that can be manipulated after capture, allowing you to change focus, depth of field and even perspective, with animation and 3D effects on compatible devices.
The first Lytro camera was an odd-shaped (for a camera), boxy device with a fixed focal-length lens. The new Lytro Illum looks more like a conventional camera, with a built-in 30-250mm (35mm equivalent) ƒ/2 zoom lens. There’s also a new, custom, 40-megaray sensor in the Illum, which, paired with Lytro’s patented microlens array and proprietary software, gives this camera its unique abilities.
Using Lytro’s desktop software, you can zoom and change focus, depth of field and even your perspective on the scene—after the picture has been taken. You can also create cinematic animations—such as zooming in to an area of the image while simultaneously changing the focal point, for example—that can be viewed on computers and mobile devices. Lytro has demo videos of this on their website. You can also export images in common formats like JPEG for more conventional uses.
Lytro hails this technology as “a new era in photography,” and it’s undeniably a revolutionary concept. The Lytro Illum measures 5.7×3.4×6.5 inches and weighs 31.2 ounces. List price is $1,499.
Contact: Lytro, lytro.com.