Lytro Announces Pre-Orders On Shoot First, Focus Later Camera

Lytro camera
Lytro's shoot first, focus later light field camera - by Lytro

Apple users will get yet another reason to be happy about as the first Lytro shoot first, focus later cameras go on pre-order for $399-$499. The first models out the door will only work with Mac’s, the Windows version of the software won’t be available until later.

I’ve said before that I think this is an interesting concept that may, eventually make changes in the field of photography, but if the selective focus is the only advantage, I don’t think it’s all that. It will really depend on what other advances the technology brings to photography.  I’m not listing my Canon 7D on Craigslist just yet.

The camera itself is only 4.41 inches long and has a dinky 1.61 inch display on the back.

The models come in two flavors and three colors. A gray or blue 8 GB model for $399 or a red 16 GB model for $499. The 8 GB camera will be able to hold about 350 images, the 16 GB camera around 450.

Try as they might Lytro is going to miss the holiday season as the cameras won’t be shipping until next year. As mentioned above, Mac users only for right now and only those living in North America.

If you don’t have a Mac, you can still sign up to be notified when the Windows version becomes available.

While light field technology may have a big impact down the road, right now it’s an interesting novelty with limited applications.

Nikon shows off some new concept cameras

Earlier this year a video circulated around, showing off a new camera from the Consumer Electronics Show. The camera was called the WVIL camera, it turned out to be fake, but sometimes fiction is closer to reality.

This week Nikon is showing off a few concept cameras at the Hello Tomorrow exhibition in Paris, France, and one of them looks remarkably similar to the WVIL concept.

The Nikon Modular Camera appears to have a LCD screen that wirelessly connects an interchangeable lens and grip.

Some photos taken by montie_j:

The Nikon Multi-Ball appears to be a 360-degree panoramic camera, perhaps something similar to the Lytro Camera that we talked about last week.

Lastly is the Nikon i-Ball, we are not really sure what these are for, but it reminds me of the GoPro HS helmet cameras that have become very popular as of late.
What do you think, are these just fun prototypes or the future of photography?

Lytro cameras lets you focus after you have taken the photo

Lytro, a new camera start up, is trying to make the biggest change in the photography world since the 1800s. Instead of taking a traditional photo that just captures one plane of light their camera captures the entire light field in one shot, this allows you to adjust the focus after a photo is taken. The camera is built on research from the mid-1990s called light field technology, where 100 cameras were required in the same room to produce the same type of photo, Lytro is able to recreate that effect and fit it into your pocket.

The Lytro camera uses a microlens array sensor which captures more light data, from many different angles. Then that data if sent through powerful software that allows you to switch the focus point. In addition the camera is much faster than traditional cameras, there is no shutter lag or autofocusing device, this allows you to take photos faster.
(click the image to set your focus point)

The camera also gives you the feeling of 3D, by reorienting a photo after it is taken. You are also able to take photos in much lower light than regular cameras. When you take a traditional photo you have one opportunity to set the depth of field, while light field camera takes a lot of photos from different locations and angle which allows it to produce this type of image.

The company has raised $50 million to bring their new light field camera to the market. There is a big risk that this might be too much innovation and that consumers will not buy the camera if the price is too high. There is no word on how much the camera will sell for, but they say it will be priced for the “Consumer market” and should be out by the end of the year.

What do you think, is this just a neat feature, or the next innovation in cameras?

(Via NYT and TechCrunch)