When you take a picture, the focus is usually set in stone. Lytro is attempting to change that by announcing a new camera tht lets you refocus pictures after taking them.
One of the tough parts about photography has always been getting the focus right. Professional photographers know how to do this manually. Autofocus works pretty well, but it can be frustrating when the camera focuses on the wrong thing simply because it’s closer.
Lytro’s camera, which is still secret, works by using a technology called Light Field Photography. This means that the camera captures the entire field of light in any direction in the scene and can calculate what the picture would be like if the camera was focused a certain way.
This means that when you look at the picture, you can adjust the depth of field to focus on the foreground, or the background instead if the element you want to focus on is there instead. This means that instead of making your focusing decisions when you take the picture, you can play with the focus long after you’ve gotten that perfect shot, or at least thought you did until you actually started looking at your photo.
The camera, which Lytro says will be released later this year and will be “competitively priced” with other models, will be able to shoot under low-light conditions, and the pictures will also have a 3D effect, even on 2D screens. You can get an idea of what the camera can do by visiting the photo gallery and playing with all the pictures.
In the past, photographers were taught to “bracket” their focus, composition, and exposures meaning that they took lots of photos with various settings of the same thing. This was because film cameras were imprecise and it took a while to develop the film. If you got any of these elements wrong in your photos, you were pretty much screwed. With the Lytro, it might take the pressure off shutterbugs having to get the perfect shot, and allow them to focus on interesting subjects instead.