The viewable area of the flash widget is 540x540. You can zoom in 2x. There's plenty of sensor artefacting at that zoom, (even in these carefully chosen press-kit photos, which is worrying) so lets assume it's 1:1... which makes the image size 1080x1080. 1.16 megapixels, for $400? Ouch. For that much money, two ounces more weight, and a much more conventional form factor, you can get a DMC-LX5, which is probably the best single-lens digital camera on the market. (Full disclosure: I bought a LX3 with my own money back in 2009)
Poking around with Chrome's network tools will tell you that the LFP file is between 900 and 1100 kilobytes, about four times bigger than a JPEG of the same dimensions.
Edit: Yup here it is: http://blog.lytro.com/news/it-gets-better-lytro-3d-demo/ They can do more though; with a proper holographic display you could actually focus on different parts of the image (with your eyes) and "see around" objects to a limited extent. (Their field-of-view-to-depth-of-field ratio is limited by the size of the lens though.)
So can we reconstruct 3D image data if Lytro record some kind of RAW data?
This is just their fairly simple compressed format for web display. I imagine the camera itself is storing much more interesting information in its ~20 megabyte files, though perhaps also ultimately for 1080x1080 2D display.
And the LX5 is good but for my money I'd want a P5000 or XZ-1.
The Fuji X100 is the only large-sensor prosumer camera that has a built-in viewfinder (attachable viewfinder is out of the question as it doesn't give you a true enough preview), and so it's the only one I'd be willing to switch to. Come to think of it, the new Sony NEX-5N has an electronic viewfinder that might work, actually.
This is quite amazing.
Fun times. Too bad the science requires a deep back... would be awesome to have this technology in your cellphone... hopefully we're just a few years away. Technology is amazing.
Nokia once had a cellphone with the camera on the side, mounted in the clamshell hinge. With smaller lenses it could be a side-facing camera.
I think this lightfield tech might have a lot more applications for video, where focus can be troublesome due to movement.
Of course, for shooting in the wild, some of their shots would just never ever get taken correctly by an autofocus system and would disappear before even a pro managed to manually focus. And many of us never print a single photo today, so being stuck with a beautiful 3mp image may be enough. They have a stunning image in the gallery of a woman standing outside of a shop, taken through the shop glass. https://www.lytro.com/living-pictures/152 Imagine if she was walking by, not just posing. You would never have time to capture it if you were using a traditional camera.
If there are multiple points of interest then there are surely going to be multiple points of focus that are interesting either because they focus or because they defocus the point of interest.
Take the rocket behind a water fountain image. I think it works well both as is and as a water fountain in front of a rocket.
I presume it takes hundreds of smaller pictures and merges it into one picture, allowing you to zoom anywhere after the event but that makes me wonder on the end quality of the picture?
I have been following these cameras since they were demonstrated on their site earlier this year and got a bit excited then.
A photosensor is (roughly speaking) sensitive only to the intensity of light falling on it, and not the angle the light comes from. A plenoptic camera (this is what Lytro are selling) trades off resolution against the ability to discriminate between angles.
Take an ordinary camera sensor, with (let's say) 16MP in a 4000x4000 array. Group them into (let's say) 8x8 blocks, of which there are 500x500. Now put a little lens in front of each block, with focal length equal to the distance from lens to sensor.
A light ray reaching one of those blocks will end up on one of the block's pixels; which ray depends on (not the exact position at which the ray meets the array of lenses, but) the angle at which it's travelling.
Now, imagine an image that's not quite focused correctly on the camera sensor. What that means is that for each point of the object you're imaging, you get a cone of light rays that are converging towards some point either in front of the sensor or behind it. With an ordinary camera, that just gives you a circular blur and you're screwed. With a plenoptic camera, you can tell what angle the light in that circular blur was coming in at, which means you can determine where it would have gone if the sensor had been further back or further forward, which means you can reconstruct what you'd have got if the focus had been different. (What if it is focused perfectly? Well, you still get to know the distribution of angles from which the light is reaching the sensor, which means you can work out how the image would have been blurred out with a different focus.)
The main price you pay for all this is a severe loss of resolution: your output "pixels" are the blocks of pixels on the sensor. So the physical size and noise level of the sensor, and the size of your raw image files, are those of (in my example) a 16MP sensor, while the final image is (in my example) only 1/4 MP.
This explains how it works in a bit more viceral way: http://graphics.stanford.edu/papers/lfcamera/
I do love the concept of them but if all I am ever going to get out of them is a 6x4" pic to print at the end of the day then it's only really useful for "playing" with?
The post-hoc refocusing feature is neat but I can't think of many practical or artistic purposes for which it would actually be more useful than having way more pixels. But I'm not an expert photographer and could easily be wrong. One kind of situation in which it might be useful is where an object is moving rapidly towards or away from the camera, but not moving much laterally. Then the freedom not to worry about rapid and accurate focusing might be useful. As soon as your object is moving laterally too, though, the limited resolution is going to bite you: you've avoided having to locate the object accurately in z at the cost of needing to get x,y right, so to speak.
There may be non-gimmicky applications for which Lytro is The Right Thing. Right now, I can't think what they'd be. Depth measurement, perhaps.
I think they are on to something
Still has the cool factor.
These things will stand out like an iPod in 2003.
If they put a touch sensitive screen on the back you could even re-focus on the fly!
Sure, it makes the thing look like a gun. But there's a reason guns have pistol grips. They work well for the intended application. They're functional.
Without any kind of grip, this thing is an awkward tube that takes pictures. Perhaps it could work as a spyglass, but because of the touch screen you can't raise it directly to your eye. So you have to fumble it between two hands trying to aim and shoot. Have you ever tried to point a 10ft. pole at something with just two hands? It's very difficult. I'm envisioning the same difficulty trying to take a picture with any level of zoom on this thing.
Also I don't think a big screen is that necessary on a camera like this, it's uses seem pretty minimal, it's essentially only used as a viewfinder as any other adjustments to the image—focus included—are done in software.
I can't wait to actually use one, though. From what I've heard, it's something photographers who love the old methods (like myself) sort of "get" once they've used it for a while. And of course it can live in peace alongside the Canons and Sonys of the world.
You really seemed to miss the point here. The Lytro camera captures all possible focus settings, allowing the photographer to choose one later...or combine multiple settings together in a single image. This isn't the machine taking over the photographer's job, it's the machine increasing the choices available to the photographer. Similarly, you might not like images which have been heavily dodged/burned, but it certainly was a victory for artists when that technique was developed, allowing them to choose differing levels of exposure in the same image.
There's a reason photographers prefer certain lenses for sharpness, which can be measured in lp/mm and I wonder how the Lytro compares there. The f/2 glass is probably decent for portraits and exhibits high levels of diffraction when shooting landscape images at f/22. If light field photography solves these problems then that would be very interesting to me. For $399 and shooting at 3-4 megapixels now, it will be a few years before this reaches the 18+ megapixel pro-am level and deals with pro-am criticism.
My thought here is that the finished work would always be a picture, not the fancy widget, otherwise the comparison would not even stand.
At the end of every issue there was a thing called a fold in - it was one image with one caption which, when folded in a certain way, created a new image with an entirely contrasting message.
Imagine an image which, depending on the focus, changes the mood and message completely. I'm sure they will emerge.
Right now the images on the site are mainly tech demos but in the hands of someone able to think outside the box I'm sure we will see some striking new art.
The microlens array bins several sensor pixels into single image pixels. Depending on the incident angle of the light on the microlens, the light will go to a different sensor pixel. This means you can adjust the aperture, as well as focus in post-processing, since a narrower aperture just means a pixel is illuminated by light from a narrower possible number of incident angles.
If I had a whiteboard, I'd draw you a diagram, but you sound like a knowledgeable photographer so you probably "get it" if not, just look at the ray-diagrams in the depth of field section of a photography book.
Was taken at f/3.2 so there is no reason you couldn't get this shot with a f/2 shot from a plenoptic camera with a 35mm lens and a APS-C sized sensor (you would actually have to use some of their software to increase the depth of field to get that picture).
Lytro doesn't give specs on the focal length or sensor size; I think we can assume it's probably closer to a point-and-shoot than an SLR, and everybody already knows it's hard to do shallow depth of field with a point-and-shoot, it's not anything specific to Lytro's camera. The majority of point-and-shoots have a fixed aperture (if you "stop-down" for outdoors shooting they just use an NDF filter).
If they come out with an pro-quality exchangable lens large-sensor plenoptic, you ought to be able to do the same sorts of things you can do with a pro-quality non-plenoptic camera, only you'll be able to do it e.g. with moving subjects that you otherwise would not be able to focus on with such a narrow depth of field (and as a sacrifice you would have many fewer pixels).
So my guess is that this will be proprietary and limited to proprietary systems. (Which disappoints me, as I have a preorder code and my credit card ready to buy, but I'm not going to change OSes to use their camera.)
(In holography, each "pixel" captures along the 3rd dimension of angle of incidence. The image is reconstructed simply by each pixel reflecting/emanating light as a function of its angle of incidence.)
However, letting the photographer set the focus post-facto, "print" that image into a jpeg, and finally share that jpeg in the standard fashion ... that seems like the real benefit ("take a picture super fast, and get it right later!").
Lytro alludes to this benefit, but they talk about "getting it right later" in the context of the end audience interacting with the Living Picture (TM) ... which I think is a gimmick that the audience will tire of. But the original photographer will love it for the generation of final product (once the resolution issue is solved), by moving the fiddly "get the focus etc right" effort from "in the moment, time-sensitive" to "post-production, leisurely".
as a a photographer myself, i'm wondering why people actually buy this though? how many photos do people take that they wish they could refocus later?
There's a big disadvantage in having to carry an extra device.
I hope they make lightfield data available for tinkering -- this could be an awesome research toy.
If he actually gets this to market, I imagine it won't be too long before it, or similar tech, is available in high end dslrs and video cameras. This is going to be freakin revolutionary and so, so, so cool.
Kudos, Ren Ng, and thanks! Hope you get real rich off this.
I think they will receive your Amazon package, for example, unpack‡, and repackage and relabel to your JP address.
‡I think that's to ensure nothing banned by the destination country gets sent (and get the shipper in trouble). Anyhow, buyer beware.
And it looked something straight out of a sci-fi movie.