Lytro Digital Camera Stops the Blur with Photo Now, Focus Later
A breakthrough in technology eliminates blurred images forever. This stops the need to riddle about deciding what to focus on when taking the picture. Often the delay caused by the need to check the focus and adjust the framing at the same time meant that many fabulous pictures were lost. Images from the new Lytro light field effect camera let the user focus various parts of the image after the snap is taken. There are various software tools and camera tools that allow you to do this, including a tool on smartphone cameras, but this is far more effective and versatile.
The new camera has simplified light field effect research by allowing data to be captures not only about the color and intensity of the light but also the direction of all the light passing through the lenses onto the array of pixels that capture the image. Instead of a single 2D plane of light snapped by a conventional camera the Lytro camera records the entire light field for the image for light traveling from every point and direction. Software allows you to focus and refocus anywhere in the picture and for any area on the image you want to be in focus. No more worrying about depth of field and f-stops to ensure a great image - this camera eliminated all this stuff.
Because you focus after taking the image this means there is no need for an auto-focus motor and the dreaded shutter delay is gone for ever. So you can snap the moment you wanted to capture not the image delayed by the focus tool.
The basic Lytro Light Field Camera has an f/2 aperture lens and an 8X optical zoom. The aperture is applied constantly providing high level of available light. The very first light effect field images were developed about 15 years ago at Stanford University, using a huge array of cameras connected to a massive supercomputer that was required to do the processing.
Recent research has meant that the field effect images can be captured by a single camera and a single lens (see image below). The camera and processing software includes a Light Field Engine that does the job of the supercomputer and processes the light information recorded on the sensor. You can refocus and minutely adjust colors, focus and light intensity the pictures on the camera, on your PC and online.
The image shows the differences between a conventional camera and the field effect camera.
The breakthrough development was the light field sensor captures the intensity, color and vector direction of all the rays of light passing through the lens.
This directional information is the new component that allows the change of focus.The images becomes living pictures that you can adjust in many ways.
A major benefit of the new Lytro cameras is that they can take images with very wide open apertures you don't have to worry how aperture affects depth of field.
You don't need to worry about the pictures being blurred. The revised aim is to collect as much light as possible as this provides better date to work on for refocusing and adjust color and light intensity later after the shot is taken.
The technology has huge potential for 3D imaging which is still being developed.
© 2011 Dr. John Anderson
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