Have you ever dreamed of the possibility that camera technology could one day be so advanced that it allows you to only worry about the moment of the capture and the composition, but not focus? Well, according to this New York Times article, it is definitely within reach.

The camera that will allow users to determine the focus of the photograph after the fact, is being developed by Lytro, a Silicon Valley start-up technology company. Actually prototype machines that “was the size of a standard point-and-shoot camera”, are being tested now. The picture resolution, as claimed by someone who tested it, was “indistinguishable from that of his other point-and-shoots, a Canon and a Nikon.”

The concept (light field camera) was developed by Lytro’s founder and chief executive Ren Ng for his Ph.D. thesis at Stanford University. Detailed working principle of the camera is not provided other than that the camera captures far more data using “micro lens array” from multiple angles and sophisticated software takes cares of the focus switching later. The idea was later refined with the support of venture capitals.

Without the need to focus when taking a photo, the Lytro camera can be faster than conventional cameras by eliminating shutter lag. The camera is said to be 3D capable and targeting consumer markets.

Lytro is developing and marketing the camera itself, rather than licensing it to big name companies such as Nikon or Canon. If all goes well, we may see the camera on the market later this year, according to the article.

An interactive demo of the technology is also available.

You may also want to check out the Lytro’s website for more information (make sure to check out the gallery for many cool examples) and to reserve a camera. A Wall Street Journal article for the same story is here.

Posted in: Digital photography, News on June 22nd, 2011. Trackback URI

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