There’s a new product on the market that could prove to be ideal for some photographers and may even prove to change the technology. The device is called a Lytro camera, which is manufactured by the Lytro Company. This camera is able to capture a data field which enables the photographer to focus the image after it’s been taken instead of having to focus it before taking the shot.
A regular digital camera is able to capture one plane of light while the Lytro actually records the entire light field data. It basically allows you to capture a moment in time and then go back to it later to focus your photo. You just have to take the image without focusing on anything in particular and then worry about the focusing later.
There’s no shutter lag because there’s no shutter motor and no flash to worry about. The image can becaptured immediately. It sounds like a technological breakthrough, but Lytro said light field images have been around for the last 15 years but now the idea has been perfected. The camera itself resembles a small box camera.
It’s made of aluminum and comes with a rubber grip. It weighs about half a pound and has a 33mm LCD display with an 8-times optical zoom lens with an f/2 aperture. The camera is battery operated and the images are stored in the unit’s internal flash drive.
Once you open the image on a computer you can focus anywhere in it and it will come into focus the same way it would when taking the photo live. You can refocus on the image again and again. The cameras are currently available in 8 GB and 16 GB models.
You also need to use the Lytro desktop software and this is ideal for processing, storing, and transferring the photos as well as rotating them, adding captions, and posting them to sites like Facebook. However, when the cameras first came out you couldn’t adjust the color and exposure of the images or use certain filters on them. They couldn’t be changed to black and white either. However, these procedures may be available in time along with other types of editing tools.
The cameras work well in low-light conditions because many of the internal parts of the camera have been replaced by sophisticated software. When the cameras were first released you had to download the images to a computer because the storage devices weren’t removable, but the cameras were only compatible with Macs. The company said many improvements will be made in 2012 and the cameras and software will work with Windows and there’s no reason to doubt them.
The company is also working on a way to focus in on the entire photo instead of just the area you click your mouse on. The potential for this type of camera and technology is quite amazing and it might not take long for more advanced features to be released. It’s certainly not a device for everyone, but it could be very valuable to those who want to take their camera out and shoot something instantly that’s in motion before the moment passes them by.
(photo credit: www.lytro.com)