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Daily Archives: July 5, 2011

A Start-Up’s Camera Lets You Take Shots First and Focus Later

With an innovative camera due out later this year from a company called Lytro, photographers will have one less excuse for having missed that perfect shot. Lytro’s camera produces files where a user can click on an area to bring it into focus.
But is Lytro’s technology just a neat feature, or is it the next big thing in cameras? The technology has won praise from computer scientists and raves from early users of its prototype camera.
“We see technology companies all the time, but it’s rare that someone comes along with something that is this much of a breakthrough,” said Ben Horowitz, co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz, a major investor in Lytro. “It’s superexciting.”
The Lytro camera captures far more light data, from many angles, than is possible with a conventional camera. It accomplishes that with a special sensor called a microlens array, which puts the equivalent of many lenses into a small space. “That is the heart of the breakthrough.”
The wealth of raw light data comes to life only with sophisticated software that lets a viewer switch points of focus. This allows still photographs to be explored as never before. “They become interactive, living pictures.”
For a photographer, whether amateur or professional, the Lytro technology means that the headaches of focusing a shot go away.
Among its other advantages, the new camera is much faster than conventional ones because there is no “shutter lag” — waiting for the autofocus device to work and the shot to be taken. Those fractions of a second, of course, are often when the dog darts off or the child’s smile becomes a frown.
Lytro cameras can also capture plenty of data for 3-D images, which can be viewed on a computer screen with 3-D glasses.

 
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Posted by on July 5, 2011 in Uncategorized