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Lytro's light field camera starts shipping
Wednesday, February 29, 2012 @ 6:10pm

Lytro kicked off spring early on Wednesday by shipping its promised light field camera. The genuinely unique camera costs $399 in its 8GB blue and gray variants and $499 for the 16GB red edition. Using one currently requires a Mac to process the final shots; Lytro has so far only developed an OS X version of the editing app used to pick the focus point and process final shots.

Every version has an 8X zoom, f2 aperture lens and a back 1.46-inch touchscreen for the interface. Light field shooting works by considering all the light in the scene, not just the rays directly facing the sensor. The strategy gives an effectively infinite choice of focal points and could end out-of-focus shooting. As a consequence, though, the final shots are lower resolution than on conventional digital cameras, and it's not necessarily possible to narrow the aperture to get multiple subjects in focus. While limited, Lytro might be expanding its usefulness later. FCC breakdowns have shown inactive wireless features. It may even expand to the iPhone, although the need for smaller and more advanced light field sensors could put smartphones years away.

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  • Reader reaction
    Found 9 comments
    Marketing.. 344673
    "Light field shooting works by considering all the light in the scene, not just the rays directly facing the sensor"

    How come people buy this sentence? Have everybody forgot basic science you where thought in school?
    It the light rays do not reach the sensor, the sensor CAN'T see them!! End of story!
    If they had technology as they claim, they where making HOLOGRAMS! So please stop this nonsense crap [marketing]!
    Comment posted by: Marook
    Talk to Lytro, then 344674
    The reason why it's innovative is precisely because it's doing what you think is impossible (clearly, it's possible). You can't explain the infinite focus through traditional approach.
    Comment posted by: Commodus
    Re: Have everybody forgot 344675
    No more so than you've forgotten basic syntax and sentence structure. ;)
    Comment posted by: Flying Meat
    Read a bit more carefully 344677
    It doesn't say that it can capture light that doesn't reach the sensor, it says that it can capture the rays even if they are not "directly facing the sensor", admittedly a poor way to describe what's happening. With a traditional sensor, any given pixel on the sensor simply measures the light on that pixel, which is the sum of many different rays of light coming from different angles. With their sensor, it can capture and distinguish the different angles and record them separately. They them use algorithms to piece together the image but they can them move the focal point back and forth algorithmically and know how to treat the differently angled rays.

    So no, it doesn't defy basic science. It's an innovative way to catch more information and then process it to achieve a very unique effect.
    Comment posted by: bitwrangler
    A little basic research... 344678
    would help before blasting away on your keyboard when you don't know what you're talking about. This is a plenoptic camera, and the basic theory behind it was introduced back in the early 90s. Go look it up on Wikipedia and educate yourself on the subject.
    Comment posted by: cmdahler
    Nicely done... 344679
    Marook. Or maybe you should change your handle to Moron?
    Comment posted by: slboett
    I'll bite 344696
    But a new order says it won't ship until "April-May, 2012"

    Comment posted by: pottymouth
    read up on Light Fields 344712
    the wikipedia article is a good place to start.
    Comment posted by: bdmarsh
    comment title 349825
    For the record, I got mine last week.

    It's...interesting. Didn't fully realize it was just a toy for web-shared photos. I thought it would allow you to pick a focus for print purposes, but it's just not hi-res enough.
    Comment posted by: pottymouth
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