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Lytro Light Field Camera


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5 replies to this topic

#1 of 6 OFFLINE   Cameron Yee

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Posted October 20 2011 - 10:50 AM

I'm surprised this hasn't been mentioned here yet: http://news.cnet.com...-revolutionary/


Shipping in early 2012.


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#2 of 6 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted October 21 2011 - 01:27 AM

I've been following them for years. Interesting idea but a couple problems with v1: -This whole "embed the player code in the file" is a security disaster waiting to happen" -Noise -Low end consumer approach with limited control at capture vs. a fully user controllable experience. Seriously, the shots shown look like crap. I think it will improve over time but I'm not down for v1. Give me a shout when they have a working Macro version. Via ByThom.com

Enter the Light Field in 2012 Oct 20 (news and commentary)--Lytro continued their slow roll towards seeing the light of day, yesterday doing the traditional full Silicon Valley mega-announcement thing. If you haven't seen the news from that mediafest: two models of camera, one 8GB and one 16GB, both with an 8x f/2 zoom lens, both oddly shaped as a fat, rectangular tube with only three basic controls: the on/off button, the shutter release, and the zoom slider. The 8GB camera has a non-removable battery that lasts just long enough to take the 350 pictures its 8GB internal storage (no card) can handle. The 16GB ditto, but with 750 photos max. There are no dials, no modes, no tripod socket, no filter ring, and of course, no focus (Lytro is a Light Field camera and allows changing focus after the fact). The camera has a 1.5" LCD at the back of the box for reviewing composition and images, and apparently to also do a little exposure override, though this latter bit is unspecified in the materials I've gotten to date. A couple of details to note: you can order now, but it's Mac-only and you won't get your camera until 2012. What's missing in the details are a couple of things: angle of view of the lens, the number of focus zones, and the final pixel count of the images. What we get instead is a new marketing term: 11 Megarays. What that means in real pixels is currently unknown, but my best guess so far is something like 8 focus zones at a resolution of maybe 720x720 pixels. Wait a second, what's a focus zone? Well, the way a Light Field camera works is by collecting information about how the light gets to the final sensor. A microlens set far forward of the sensor is the primary manner in which that information is obtained. But it means that you have multiple photosites on the sensor that are getting information from a microlens. The number of photosites that collect a microlenses information determines how many light angles you capture, and that number will determine how many discrete focus positions you can mimic, what I'm calling focus zones. My 720x720 guess comes from looking at sample images and what was said at the announcement ("equivalent to HD"). The math says an 11mp sensor would have 16-20 photosites per microlens, and a 16-photosite Light Field array makes sense to me. But all that isn't overly important. The basic premise is that we're looking at relatively small final images (0.5mp) with the ability to post process focus. Lytro is obviously shooting for the "social camera." Part of that is evidenced by the lytro.com image player and the upcoming plug-ins for other sites, including Facebook. Lytro does have the Silicon Valley thing down to a science. Their announcement had all the key media players in attendance, the product has a lean, "think different" design, and all the right marketing buzzwords are in clear display. But don't forget to check out the Terms of Use. A couple of the legal bits are potentially an issue to me (emphasis is mine): "Modifications, derivative works and printing for non-personal use (for example, commercial or political) require our explicit prior consent." "Unlisted pictures can be viewed and shared by the user who uploaded them and by others who know the link to the pictures" "but only by using our light field picture player or another player approved by us." "Display the Lytro trademark with such content." Here's my problem: given a 1mp final image size, could I design a compact camera with virtually no controls that has some "focus magic" to it using a conventional design? Yes. So if there's a need for 1mp or smaller "social images" Lytro will end up with considerable competition. I'm actually surprised no one has gone there yet. I guess all that customer demand for more megapixels was a distraction ;~). Lytro continues to be an interesting experiment. I'm still not convinced it's an experiment that will work the way they expect it to, especially given how hard Lytro is working to keep you in their ecosystem (you have to use their software or software approved by them). In browsing through images on their Web site, refocusing isn't exactly something I find myself wanting to do more than once (e.g., get a focus point selected), nor does the image quality strike me as special. Would I have picked the Lytro over my iPhone to take any of those photos? Likely not. So Lytro better have something else up its sleeve. Right now, it feels gimmicky, at best.


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#3 of 6 OFFLINE   Cees Alons

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Posted October 21 2011 - 06:46 AM

Sam,


It's terribly vague. When I first saw it, it reminded me of certain April Fools pranks descriptions: nothing solid or even remotely technically clear.

Even those journalists, who obviously have not the slightest idea what the thing is doing, seem to write mostly about something else vaguely related.


In other words: from what we're presented with, I don't know what it is recording and how I would supposedly operate it. Or what I get from it.



Cees



#4 of 6 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted October 21 2011 - 11:18 AM

And yet it's selling right now for $399 to tons of rubes who will have to wait 6 months to try it out. No thanks.

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#5 of 6 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted April 22 2014 - 06:57 AM

V2 decloaks:

http://www.theverge....ew-illum-camera


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#6 of 6 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted April 22 2014 - 10:58 AM

More details:

http://www.theverge....ht-field-camera


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