Lytro light field camera

New retro-looking camera puts the focus on taking photos

This new camera captures light in a tube. What? Sounds retro, right? Does it come with a black hood you drape over your head? Um, no. The newest camera on the market is completely different than anything most of us have ever used. Ever. And this is the new thing about this camera: You take the photo now, and you focus the photo later. What? This new camera was developed by Ren Ng. Ng is a young Stanford Ph.D and the inventor of the Lytro camera. With the Lytro you take pour photos and you don’t even think about focusing. The technology is a little hocus-pocus, and all science.

The Lytro is a light field camera. This means it’s worlds apart than your standard digital shooter. Instead of capturing light from one angle, or one lighting effect, or one plane of focus, it captures everything about the light in front of it, all at the same time, in one file for one photo of one place in time.

So, you take your photos and you don’t focus. Then what? Well, then you import the file to your computer, and then the image can then be manipulated. By clicking around you can change the focus of the photo from an element in the foreground to an element in the background instantly. You can keep clicking and changing the focus. Sounds awesome. The demos confirmed this. The Lytro is now available and it goes for $399 for an 8GB model and $499 for a 16 GB model.

Check out the awesome interactive demos of beautiful samples here. Note: May be slow to load because there are a lot of these samples. For each example, click on one part of the image and watch it shift. Then click somewhere else in the opposite end (background to foreground or vice versa). Be impressed. Be very impressed.

[NPR, , GizmodoLytro, TechCrunch and Mashable]

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