June 22, 2011

The Lytro camera lets you take a photograph and then focus it.

"The Lytro camera [has] a special sensor called a microlens array, which puts the equivalent of many lenses into a small space.... [It has] sophisticated software that lets a viewer switch points of focus.... '[Photographs] become interactive, living pictures,' [Ren] Ng said. He thinks a popular use may be families and friends roaming through different perspectives on pictures of, say, vacations and parties posted on Facebook (Lytro will have a Facebook app)."

Digital cameras already let you see what part of the image is the focus point, but you don't always have time to look at the display, and in bright light it may be hard to see. Also, when you get your images uploaded into the computer and start to work with them, you might see details that you'd like to crop and focus on, perhaps things that you didn't even realize were in the shot... like in the movie "Blow-Up," when David Hemmings sees what may be evidence of murder in the blurry background shrubberies photographed with a film camera. I can't find the scene where he's blowing up the blowups of the blowups, so here's the scene with The Yardbirds:

32 comments:

Carol_Herman said...

I remember that movie, Blow Up. But what's really fascinating is that back then people paid good money to see great detective fiction.

Sherlock Holmes also taught this lesson, well. LaStrad, and all the other police ... were thought to be dunderheads.

View didn't change all that much over time.

Carol_Herman said...

Amazon doesn't have the Lytro yet.

While most people will probably just want to take pictures with their cell phones. Gone are the days a photographer would be multi-draped in camera equipment.

And, plenty of women will still complain about how their pictures look. While babies never complain.

But if they get close enough to your camera, they'll reach up. And, it should be interesting to see what the Lytro lense does with drool.

Original Mike said...

The x-ray machine we have developed does a similar thing. Acquire one x-ray and use the data to retrospectively produce focus at any desired plane. The technique is called (you'll get a kick out of this, Althouse) TOMOSYNTHESIS. Too funny, I know.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Hearing they're targeting the consumer market makes me think the picture quality isn't that great. I also get that feeling from looking at the images they have on their website.

When I see the price I'll decide if I really want one.

Coketown said...

Remember the camera they developed for blind people? I suspect this idea will pan out just as well--which is to say, not at all.

Michael K said...

I am a fan of that movie and watched it again the other night. It is a bit sad to see how David Hemmings turned out. He is the repulsive gladiator impresario in Gladiator. Awfully stout and tallowy.

Sixty Grit said...

That was the calmest rock and roll scene I have ever seen - come on people - we're talking Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page - on the same stage! Act like you have a pulse or are freakin' out or something.

Wait, maybe they were all sedated. Yeah, that's it - they were all on downers. Is Jimi Hendrix in there somewhere?

T J Sawyer said...

Ah, Blow-Up!

First pubic hair ever in a U.S. movie if I recall correctly!

A real shocker.

edutcher said...

Photoshop on the fly. The camera is the computer.

Small wonder anyone as tech-savvy as Ann is intrigued by it.

T J Sawyer said...

Ah, Blow-Up!

First pubic hair ever in a U.S. movie if I recall correctly!

A real shocker.


If memory serves, it was the first major movie with nudity, period.

Lem said...

That reminds me of Blade Runner's - Photo Analysis Scene

Lem said...

Another YouTube cut says..

Scene close to the end of the movie. David Hemmings returns to the park, kneels down and finds that the corpse he projected in the blow-ups of his pictures is not there. He looks up, and we see a shot of tree branches. The camera moves down, and suddenly Hemmings steps into the frame.
Were we fooled, or is Antonioni pointing out that Hemmings' assumptions, as well as our own, did not agree with what is actually there?

yashu said...

The scene where he blows up the blowups of the blowups is here.

Doug Wright said...

Travolta made a movie about a similar experience only his took place in NYC, I think. Much better although Hemming's Blowup was first and kind of kook. Saw it in a theater and recall something about gorilla costumes. A strange flick back then.

John Burgess said...

The Travolta film was 'Blow Out' and, instead of film, had audio tape as the device. Was that sound he captured a tire blow-out or was it a gunshot!?

Not a bad film at the time, but as I've not since it since it opened, I don't know if it's held up.

yashu said...

The blowing up continues (after the sex romp) here.

Irene said...

Also, when you get your images uploaded into the computer and start to work with them, you might see details that you'd like to crop and focus on, perhaps things that you didn't even realize were in the shot."

That reminds me of the current Big Bear Lake yearbook photo scandal.

James said...

Quite interesting technology but I don't see how this takes market share from DSLR cameras. The article even seems to suggest as much in stating that their initial target is social media sites; the typical users on those sites are using P&S or camera phones. Most people who have invested in interchangeable lenses aren't going to give them up for a fixed lens camera.

But I can see an immediate application for the Lytro in shooting macros. Normally a photographer would take multiple photos and "stack" them in an image editor to simulate a narrow aperture and large depth of field.

I'd also be interested to see if they make the Raw files available for manipulation in a Raw converter and/or pixel editor. That would open up lots of avenues and even convince DSLR shooters to give this camera a try.

yashu said...

Along the lines of Blow Out (dealing with audio, inspired by Blow Up), I also love The Conversation.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

As far as movies go I like the High Anxiety version better.

And the Travolta movie Blow Out was in Philadelphia. I remember when they were filming it they had to partially dam up a stream to get the water deep enough to submerge a car.

Freeman Hunt said...

Blow Up is on Blogger profile in my favorite movies list.

Watched it with a big group. Everyone hated it while it was on, and yet, no one could stop talking about it for days.

Freeman Hunt said...

on >my< Blogger

Freeman Hunt said...

I think the camera would be useful for journalists covering unpredictable events.

Jose_K said...

The movie is not detective fiction. Is based on La baba del diablo by Julio Cortazar.And the tale is darker than the movie and without Veruskha or the other supermodels

Jose_K said...

If memory serves, it was the first major movie with nudity, period
Not really. Tarzan and his mate had nudity.

Pete said...

Oh, no - photographers still carry multiple cameras and equipment. I usually carry a Canon digital SLR, a Kodak pocket camera, and a little HD movie camera, and that doesn't count the filters, flash, tripod when needed, extra lights and so forth. And I'm an amateur.

Carol wrote " Gone are the days a photographer would be multi-draped in camera equipment."

wv: unchmact. You can't unsmack someone.

Chip Ahoy said...

Thank you, Jason, for the link.

So apparently one does this focus area selecting with its algorithmic calculating while the photo is still in the camera? Shirley, you can copy the photo right there in the camera and focus everything then compress all the copies into one, if that's what you wanted. But I like out of focus areas and bokeh. It's art. Otherwise the depth of field is expanded by stopping down, or another lens is used.

This must be intended for regular non-photographers.

JohnG said...

And let's not forget the seminal "Brady Bunch" episode "Click" where Greg captures the winning/losing reception in the background while photographing a cheerleader.

VanderDouchen said...

Deep Purple

WV: chals:

chals manson was all up into this scene.

Let's start a revolution!

Darrell said...

About the movie Blow-Up. The photographer goes to the park twice. The first time the body is there, yet he doesn't call police (even though he has a car radio phone). They don't explicitly tell you, but one gets the idea that he sees this whole thing (the assassination) as some kind of an art project and he wants to talk it over with his editor/publisher/friend. When he goes back to the park later, the body is gone. He realizes that he has nothing then--the negatives and the prints have already been stolen at that point.

Robert said...

I'm at loss as to what the point of this camera is. It takes a fraction of a second to focus so, you save, what? Or you'll just walk around randomly taking pictures and then decide later what to focus on? It all just seems pointless.

lgv said...

A friend and fellow underwater photographer works for them. He is an accomplished photographer whose work has adorned the Smithsonian. He also has an MS from Stanford.

He customized my wife's Macbook beyond what Apple would or could do.

I sat around a boat listening to these techies talk. They are on a different plane.

I'm sure it is going to work. Whatever "it" is.

Here's his site:

http://echeng.com/

bnoury said...

Does anyone else think that this camera will doom the cottage industry that is "blurry photographs of distant objects that are PROOF of bigfoot, UFO's, etc"?