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Very good points. I especially like the macro aspect.

To qualify my remarks: I would not propose that anyone takes several images manually or a photographer moves the camera around physically as an alternative.

I'm suggesting that competitors (mainstream cameras) could take multiple pictures in rapid succession INTERNALLY (very feasible in lower resolutions). The canon 7D can take videos at 720p @ 60FPS. Higher framerates seem likely in the future. Once one reaches 120FPS, slight variations in the focus whilst shooting 1s of video would result in acceptable shutter speeds (1//120th) for most moving objects and (theoretically) a stack of 120 pictures with different focal points that could be "merged" into a "lytro-like" image through in-camera focus-stacking and some "hotspot" mechanism.

Similarly (but less likely) combined with a quick physical circular movement of the sensor, or a lens element (just imagine a "Lytro-lens" for your Canon) would allow us to emulate (match?) the other effect.

Perhaps no movement is needed at all if the Canon Lytro Lens had an internal "microlens" array that subdivided the existing sensor, or uses the "pattern filter" technique.

My point: Lytro is nice, but has limited usability (for me at least) and I see it merely as a stepping stone towards inclusion of similar features in the mainstream. As a company they will have a very tough time defending whatever patents they might have. Theory and technology go back many many years.

Let me call out this variation on which was included on the third link in my original response:


Also look at the site by the author of said video: http://www.tgeorgiev.net/

It does have limited usability... for now. One review of the Lytro commented that using one was "beta testing the future of photography" and that's really how I view it.

I bought one not for what the current camera could do at the time, but in the hopes that they'd be successful enough to come up with the Lytro 2 which did more.

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