Lytro camera: camera that allows for changes in focus after the image was acquired

  1. Andy Resnick

    Andy Resnick 6,020
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    For those who don't know, a company (Lytro) just released a camera that allows for changes in focus *after* the image was acquired. Now that's it's been released as an actual product, I'm intensely curious to understand how it works.

    Their website has a cutaway image, and the 'lightfield sensor' looks (or is described very similarly) as a Shack-Hartmann wavefront sensor.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shack–Hartmann_wavefront_sensor
    http://www.mpia.de/AO/INSTRUMENTS/FPRAKT/HistoryOfShackHartmann.pdf

    Oh- the CEO's dissertation is posted on their site... whoa. This is pretty cool.

    http://eces.colorado.edu/~pavani/Plenoptic.pdf
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Re: Lytro camera

    The idea is extremely cool. Don't hold your breath for hi-res pictures, though.

    You need a 2D image sensor (CCD, CMOS or other) behind each lenslet. So if each small CCD is, say, 30x30 pixels, then the lenslet has to cover the area of 30x30 pixels in a conventional digital camera. A camera with a total of 9 MPixels would have an effective resolution of only 0.1MP. So an in-phone focus-everywhere-at-the-same-time lightfield camera is not quite ready for the market yet.

    The possible specialist applications where the overall size of the camera does not matter so much, however, are rather sexy. Think large format or medium format backs for existing cameras.
     
  4. Ryan_m_b

    Staff: Mentor

    Re: Lytro camera

    I would LOVE this camera. I've been following its development for some time. Sadly it is not available outside of the US yet :frown:
     
  5. Greg Bernhardt

    Staff: Admin

    Re: Lytro camera: camera that allows for changes in focus *after* the image was acqui

    What is the price and where can I buy! :)
     
  6. turbo

    turbo 7,366
    Gold Member

  7. Greg Bernhardt

    Staff: Admin

    Re: Lytro camera: camera that allows for changes in focus *after* the image was acqui

    Great link turbo! That is very slick! The camera looks clunky. This technology can't be rolled into a DSLR or point and shoot?
     
  8. turbo

    turbo 7,366
    Gold Member

    Re: Lytro camera: camera that allows for changes in focus *after* the image was acqui

    I think they need all that depth to layer the sensors to allow re-focusing. I haven't seen a cut-away yet, but that seems to be a reasonable explanation for the length of the camera.
     
  9. Greg Bernhardt

    Staff: Admin

    Re: Lytro camera: camera that allows for changes in focus *after* the image was acqui

    fyi, a retired staff member works for Lytro. I'll see if I can get him in here to give us the scoop :)
     
  10. turbo

    turbo 7,366
    Gold Member

    Re: Lytro camera: camera that allows for changes in focus *after* the image was acqui

    That would be nice. BTW, scroll back up to post #5. I edited after or during your subsequent post, to add the Lytro page with the "buy now" buttons. Apparently, you buy directly from them. I tried the usual suspects (Amazon, etc) and they don't carry this gadget.
     
  11. jtbell

    Staff: Mentor

  12. turbo

    turbo 7,366
    Gold Member

  13. Mech_Engineer

    Mech_Engineer 2,299
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Re: Lytro camera: camera that allows for changes in focus after the image was acquire

    DPReview gave a nice video review of it. Generally its a pretty impressive technical achievement; but at only 1080x1080 the pictures sacrifice quite a bit in resolution, and I find its ergonomics to be lacking.

    http://www.dpreview.com/news/2012/02/29/Lytro-Hands-On-Review-and-Video
     
  14. Re: Lytro camera: camera that allows for changes in focus after the image was acquire

    I think one of the real highlights of this camera is speed at which it captures images and the lack of moving parts. Also, I think there may be potential to have a limitless (or near-limitless) focus for these pictures.

    Anyway, a very neat concept. In it's infancy there are certainyl some drawbacks (resolution, namely), but there is a lot of potential. I fear the need for them to make this stand out from the traditional camera did lead them to design what appears to be a brightly coloured wooden block.
     
  15. Moonbear

    Moonbear 12,265
    Staff Emeritus
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    Re: Lytro camera: camera that allows for changes in focus *after* the image was acqui

    I don't think it looks that clunky, at least not compared to a DSLR. The shape is needed because of the way the lenses need to work down the length of the camera. I bugged that retired staff member with a bunch of questions when it first hit the news last Fall. At least at the time, the limitation from my view is in the post processing software, but he assured me they're busy working on software to do what I want to do, which is to focus on more than one area of the photo at once, or get it all in focus, and to export as something other than jpeg. Right now, it's best if you do a lot of online photo sharing. It's really fun playing with the photos it takes. :biggrin:
     
  16. turbo

    turbo 7,366
    Gold Member

    Re: Lytro camera: camera that allows for changes in focus *after* the image was acqui

    Yay! Let's see what happens.
     
  17. Ryan_m_b

    Staff: Mentor

    Re: Lytro camera: camera that allows for changes in focus after the image was acquire

    I thought that at first but I've since changed my mind (perhaps I'll change again if I ever get one in my hands). It's nice and compact so could easily fit in a bag or jacket pocket without worry and seems quick to be able to grab, point and shoot. The advantage of course being that it doesn't matter if your pic is out of focus.
     
  18. Re: Lytro camera: camera that allows for changes in focus after the image was acquire

    The DPReview commentary is spot-on, in my opinion. Keep in mind that the first digital cameras 15 years ago had crappy resolitions like 1.2MP. This is a technology to watch, but it is not quite ready for the mass market yet. Can't wait to get in-browser support for dynamical refocussing on photo sites like Flickr.
     
  19. Andy Resnick

    Andy Resnick 6,020
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    Re: Lytro camera: camera that allows for changes in focus after the image was acquire

    Something I can't figure out is if the processing will work with volume scatterers- rain, fog, inclusions in a glass object, (ahem) shower curtains... can it be used to remove atmospheric turbulence?
     
  20. Re: Lytro camera: camera that allows for changes in focus after the image was acquire

    Good question. How do you focus a random wave front?

    In telescopes they can do that because they know the object is far far away, therefore the "corrected" wave front has to be flat.

    I guess if you knew at what distance to focus you could calculate the curvature the wave front should have and correct for that. So you might be able to get a sharp image of a point source in fog. If you have several sources in the fog that give overlapping wave fronts on the camera's sensor.... good luck.
     
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