Could this be a technical leap in the ability to take photographs or just a technical fantasy?
“A Mountain View start-up is promising that its camera, due later this year, will bring the biggest change to photography since the transition from film to digital.
Ordinarily, I’m turned off by such hyperbole, but after having seen a demo from Lytro, that statement seems downright reasonable.
The breakthrough is a different type of sensor that captures what are known as light fields, basically all the light that is moving in all directions in the view of the camera. That offers several advantages over traditional photography, the most revolutionary of which is that photos no longer need to be focused before they are taken.
That means that capturing that perfect shot of your fast-moving pet or squirming child could soon get a whole lot easier. Instead of having to manually focus or wait for autofocus to kick in and hopefully center on the right thing, pictures can be taken immediately and in rapid succession. Once the picture is on a computer or phone, the focus can be adjusted to center on any object in the image, also allowing for cool artsy shots where one shifts between a blurry foreground and sharp background and vice versa.”
There are some demo photos at the link above as well as a video in which a representative of Lytro states they plan on bringing a competitively priced consumer P&S to market.
Bringing a competitive product to market is extremely difficult, especially for a start-up company, so I’m wondering if they are looking to be bought out by one of the major cameras manufactures — which may just happen if their technology is real. I’m also wondering about photo resolution and if this technology has legs beyond technical demonstrations and perhaps the P&S field.