Startup company Lytro gets funding, promises to change photography

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Since my last coverage of Lytro, the startup company raised 50 million venture capital and is making headlines with its technology that lets you select the focus point after the image is captured. Here are some examples (click on an object to get it in focus):

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  • antonyb

    I get it now, so many references to the web and internet. this will be a small sensor which has high light sensitivty therefore being able to stop the lens down small to keep the shutter speed high and the software decides how to do a contrast focus on the area chosen.

    So basically default is no focus but acutally the whole image is in focus and you choose how to focus it.

    I can imagine for one minute this will be a pro solution, too much talk of social sharing and social media. Interesting development.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/ZDP189 ZDP-189

    Most pretentious self acclaim of 2011 to date: “Camera 3.0″ FTW!

    I guess it’s s bit like Raytrix.

    http://raytrix.de/

    http://photorumors.com/2010/09/23/what-is-a-plenoptic-camera/

  • http://www.truphotos.com gnohz

    This is one amazing technology! I think it has the ability to put the whole image into focus too :o

  • hunter

    This does not take an out of focus image and magically make it in focus. As stated in the above comment, all it does is take a fully focused image and selectively sets the focal plane in the software. It does look nice, the software is smooth but it is not a new way of capturing an image it is just a remake of existing software with a specifically designed (dummy proof) camera to accompany it.

  • NiknWontRepairMyGray

    This is amazing! The technology is innovative and creative. It’s so fun selecting the focus point……………………but then I got bored after 2 minutes.

  • pshambroom

    None of us really know what the technology is, they’re not saying. It involves a new sensor design (so they say) so it’s not as simple as high sensitivity/small f-stop. Let’s hope they apply or license the technology for other uses besides consumer cameras.

    • SZRimaging

      It is a layer of micro lenses above the sensor, below the lens. Read the founders thesis statement from Stanford. Don’t have a link but it can be found online.

  • nyspete

    in 10 years you wont even need a photographer.

  • SimonG

    I saw something like this demoed by Adobe a few years ago, it was all experimental at the time.

  • Rob

    I think it would be a smarter move for them selling the depth mapping technology, i.e the software that works out how far away/close something is, I could just so easily stop a lens all the way down and do it manually in photoshop, taking probably hours, so that would save time, but in all seriousness I dont think I see the need to refocus after the image is taken, its so much better just getting it right first time, this software’ll just take the fun out of photography -.-

    • SZRimaging

      Actually, I could see it being used in a slightly more limited role. What if you didn’t need to get it 100% at the time of shooting, but pretty close?

      For instance, lets say you are taking a portrait, point the camera at the person (bridge of nose maybe?) then when you process it, you can shift the focus to be right on their eye. Personally, I am all for that.

      However, as I am looking at the tech now, it seems to degrade image quality (based off the guys thesis paper), so it does have drawbacks. Not to mention we would need sensors with even more native resolution.

  • amien

    Highly interesting concept, technology, this will for sure revolutionize the camera world. The man is very smart, his points of view are extremely elaborated but the lady, is dumb as hell…

  • benjamin

    but i like manual focus… =P

    has anyone realised that the images don’t have a continuous focus but rather different zones? there is no mid-point between 2 in focus areas.. could be cos its a beta product… but might just be X number of sensors stacked at different flange distances so each captures a certain ‘zone’?

    • deep

      Yes, it would be smarter for them to license the camera. What makes them think they can compete with Nikon, Canon, etc.? Fools.

      As for the technology, it’s unbelievable how much dumb speculation is taking place in the comments here. No, it’s not a tiny sensor that keeps everything in focus (the camera used in the original thesis was medium format). No, it’s not a layered stack of sensors (the flash demos stupidly just let you choose between a few pre-focused images). If you’re not going to read the original thesis paper, at least spend 2 minutes on the Lytro site and read about the light field.

      • Just A Thought

        “What makes them think they can compete with Nikon, Canon, etc.? Fools.”

        There’s an old saying that he who laughs last, laughs best…

        Who would have thought a few years back that Apple, a computer maker back then, could compete with Nokia in the portable phone market?

        Who would have thought that the smelly, unreliable and noisy contraption called the automobile would compete with and in time replace the horse and buggy carriage trade???

  • Craig

    Instead of trying to create, market and sell a new camera, it would be easier, faster, and possibly better cash wise to license the technology to existing camera companies. If the technology catches on with the consumer all the manufacturers will be clamoring at your door and you will become very wealth.

    Alternately, if the technology does not fascinate the average consumer them you can always bring a specialty camera to market later.

  • Just A Thought

    Will there be a Apple iCam coming soon???

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