If you've ever had to delete a digital photo because it was too dark, too blurry, too bright, or just generally too crappy to save, there's a new camera in the works that promises to make every image you capture a keeper. Introducing Lytro, a camera that lets you change the focus and lighting—after you take the picture.
Lytro works by recording the entire “light field" of a scene, which includes color, intensity, and direction of the rays of light. The camera has many small lenses between the main lens and the image sensor, which measure the amount and direction of light coming in. The result is a much larger amount of image data that can be adjusted after the fact, sort of how you can alter images with Photoshop.
Here are some images that let you try out Lytro’s focus-shifting capabilities. Just click anywhere on a picture to change the focus—pretty cool, right?
If this thing works like they say it will, it's going to completely change the way many of us take pictures. For those who aren't inclined to tinker around with camera controls (*raises hand*), Lytro sounds like it'll make it a breeze to take amazing photographs. Instead of having to take about 73 images in hopes of getting that one frame-worthy photo, this should allow us to simply aim, push the button, then put the camera away.
I love that idea. Even with my mostly idiot-proof Nikon D70, I get sick of fussing around with it when I'd rather be enjoying the moment. It would be really cool to feel confident that the ONE picture you took is going to turn out great. (Unless, of course, you have kids like mine, who always manage to dredge up the worst facial expressions as soon as the shutter clicks.)
Some of the features Lytro says their camera has: the aforementioned ability to adjust focus afterwards, superfast image capture, low-light sensitivity that removes the need for a flash, and "immersive 3D," which lets you switch between 2D and 3D views.
There's no word yet on how big it will be or what kind of price point we're talking about, but Lytro apparently plans to release its first camera before the end of the year. Personally, I can't wait to see what this thing looks like.
What do you think of the Lytro camera concept? Would you buy one if the price was right?
Image via Lytro