Lytro, who recently launched the world’s first consumer light field camera, reveals some of its long term plans with 3D Focus.
The most famous feature of Lytro’s camera is the ability to post adjust the focus and depth of field but 3D photographers will be interested to hear that, via an update available later this year, special light field algorithms will be applied to the light field pictures to enable 3D viewing on any 3D display including glasses free 3D tablets. Lytro told 3D Focus that video is definitely possible within the light field and it's on the company’s long-term roadmap. Lytro also plan to explore licensing out the technology to mobile phone companies as megapixel counts become less relevant (although Nokia might argue otherwise with its 41 megapixel cameraphone).
Here is the full interview
3D Focus: Some say that similar post re-focussing can be achieved in a photo editing package. What is Lytro’s response to that?
Lytro: Traditional cameras capture colour and intensity of light, the Lytro cameras captures that information as well as the position of light. The Lytro camera captures a richer set of data than any other camera allowing you to not only to change the focal point, but over time will have the ability to view pictures in 3D, shift the perspective, etc. Photoshop allows an editor to manipulate a 2D picture – with Lytro you capture the full, 4D light field of a scene and can create living pictures that invite both the photographer and viewer to explore.
3D Focus: Do megapixel counts become irrelevant with light field cameras? Is there a megapixel count for the Lytro camera?
Lytro: As you know, megapixels can be thought of as the smallest single component of a digital image. To refer to megapixels when talking about light field technology where there is no digital image, is kind of like talking about what kind of film is used in a digital camera. Traditional camera terms are not translatable to this new type of picture. Light field pictures render a different form of measurement. The Lytro captures a scene in megarays, a unit of measure for what a light field camera captures. The Lytro camera captures 11 megarays of the light field. When living pictures are shared, they are displayed on a variety of devices in HD quality.
3D Focus: We are very interested in the 3D capabilities of the Lytro camera. When is the 3D update due? What will the update offer?
Lytro: Captured as a full light field, all pictures taken with the Lytro are inherently 3D. Through a software update available later this year, special light field algorithms will be applied to the light field pictures to enable 3D viewing on any 3D display and to enable viewers to shift the perspective of the scene.
3D Focus: Could the existing Lytro camera be updated to record video?
Lytro: Video is definitely possible within the light field and it's on our long-term roadmap. As of now, we are focusing on still pictures.
3D Focus: Do you ever intend to offer the Lytro cameras in the UK? Are you seeking distribution partners?
Lytro: The Lytro is only available for purchase and delivery within the USA. You can sign up at this link to be notified via email when we are ready to start delivery of the Lytro Camera to your country. http://support.lytro.com/entries/20566151-can-i-buy-a-lytro-camera-even-if-i-don-t-live-in-the-usa
3D Focus: Do you think there could ever be a time when your technology is licensed to cell phone companies?
Lytro: There is vast potential to light field technology, which can ultimately be applied to any type of image capture device – from microscopes, to smart phones to professional cameras. We plan to drive that exploration over time.
3D Focus: We understand plenoptic/light field cameras are good for following moving objects. Can you elaborate on this?
Lytro: Lytro has an instant shutter which allows you to capture moments, with no auto-focus delays. Light field technology does not solve for motion blur. Like any camera, the Lytro camera should be held steady to capture light effectively. To see an example of a living picture with a subject in motion, a skateboarder in mid-jump, click here.
3D Focus: How does the Lytro compare to the Adobe prototype light field camera?
Lytro: Lytro is the first company to deliver a light field camera for consumers, designed especially for everyday usage at an affordable price. We have a significant lead in making this technology available to consumers and firmly believe that Lytro will forever change how we all take and experience pictures. There is vast potential to light field technology, and we welcome others to this space as we believe this is the future direction that all photography will take.
3D Focus: Could the Lytro camera be used to create 3D lenticular images?
Lytro: Yes, in time the Lytro camera will be able to capture pictures than can be presented using 3D lenticular displays.
FREE WEEKLY 3D NEWS BULLETIN – SUBSCRIBEFollow @3dfocuslive