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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Lytro unveils radical new camera design | Deep Tech - CNET News

Lytro unveils radical new camera design


The three Lytro camera models sport a very different design on the outside, but their light-field technology inside is even more of a departure from conventional cameras.

(Credit: Lytro)

Get ready for camera 3.0. Because next year, you might have to decide whether an 11-megaray sensor is enough for your new light-field camera.

Lytro, a Silicon Valley start-up, today unveiled its radical new camera--also called the Lytro. With it, the company hopes to rewrite the rules with a technology called light-field photography, but the scale of the company's ambition is matched by the scale of its challenge.

On the outside, the Lytro looks different--a smooth, two-tone elongated box 4.4 inches long and 1.6 inches square. At one end is the lens and at the other is an LCD touch-screen display; along the sides are power and shutter buttons, a USB port, and a touch-sensitive strip to move the F2 lens through its 8X zoom range.

There are three models--the $399 cameras with "electric blue" and "graphite" exteriors whose 8GB of built-in memory is enough for about 350 shots and the "red hot," 16GB camera that can record 750 shots. They'll go on sale, through Lytro's Web site only, in the first quarter of 2012, Chief Executive Ren Ng told CNET in an interview today.

It's a striking industrial design for those accustomed to cameras festooned with buttons, protruding lenses, scroll wheels, and knobs. But the biggest differences are on the inside.

Conventional digital cameras uses lenses to focus a subject so it's sharp on the image sensor. That means that for an in-focus part of the image, light from only one direction reaches the sensor. For light-field photography, though, light from multiple directions hits each patch of the sensor; the camera records this directional information, and after-the-shot computing converts it into something a human eye can understand.

The result that a Lytro camera image is a 3D map of whatever was photographed, and that means people can literally decide what to focus on after they've taken the photo.

"Camera 1.0 was film. Camera 2.0 was digital," said Ng, who worked on the technology at Stanford University before founding Lytro, originally called Refocus Imaging, in 2006. "3.0 is a light-field camera that opens all these new possibilities for your picture taking."

Lytro's camera lets a single shot be refocused on different subjects.

(Credit: Eric Cheng)

The biggest such possibility Ng points to is that an image becomes more dynamic. With the camera, a photographer looking at the screen can change the focus point. In one demonstration, the image shows the droplets of water on the window at one moment and the New York skyline from the same image at the next moment.


This Camera sounds Pretty Cool!:) But, $400 Bucks is a very steep price. Just to try out something new...



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