Description image

Mystical Lytro Light Field Camera Now Allows for Equally Magical Perspective Shift, Plus Living Filters

Lytro cameras already allow us to do something that, while (apparently) scientifically possible, seems to invoke more Gandalf than optical physics — which is to manipulate focus, dynamically and after the fact. By sampling the whole ‘light field’ within the field of view, they are truly fascinating iterations of the tools we use daily. This has some pretty interesting implications for the future of photography, not to mention videography — but Lytro isn’t stopping there. In fact, you can not only interactively shift your focal point, as you could before – but you can now, to an extent, alter the actual perspective of your shot as well, in real time — not to mention apply filters which also react in line with the company’s “living picture” aesthetic. For a demo video and some interactive examples, read on.

Now, clearly the company is on to something rather novel here — I mean, this is literally taking the way we understand how to physically actualize imagery, shaking that to its core, and rebuilding it from the ground up. While it may be true that certain technological constraints inherent here take us back quite a ways in terms of the resolution we’ve (rather greedily, perhaps) come to expect, this stuff is only going to get better, higher res, and more affordable. The gravity this could exert upon the social photo-sharing crowd is enormous, and I wouldn’t lightly discount that demographic — because anyone can share and appreciate even a low-res, spatially-manipulable photograph, especially of a loved one.

Here are some living, breathing examples of Lytro’s latest and most major innovation — click at any point to change focus, click-and-hold to engage the new perspective shift ability:


In addition to the perspective shift ability, Lytro has also brought a rather organic filters option, which like any other photograph sampled by its system, has the ability to be retroactively face-lifted (again, click to engage the mysticism) :


This type of thinking in technology clearly could have serious affects on the way we think of our visual arts, especially if something like this is able to be implemented in motion — and from the sounds of things, this is also a possibility — even despite the likely crippling data throughput such an option would bare with it. Now, this is not (and would never be) to say that any sort of technology could take the place of solid, good old classic storytelling prowess. It is to say, however, that technology may be able to push the visual arts forward in its own right, and give us the ability to express things in a new way. It’s just an option, and again, it will never fill the storytelling well in and of itself — but the visual flavors technology can add to our arsenal is undeniable, and I think, something that should be embraced.

What do you think about this type of visual manipulability, and the impact it could have on the way in which we visually tell our stories? Though it may be quite a ways off from being used practically in a motion picture context, do you think it may become something of a tool for filmmakers to do what we do?

Link: Lytro Light Field Camera

[via The Verge]


We’re all here for the same reason: to better ourselves as writers, directors, cinematographers, producers, photographers... whatever our creative pursuit. Criticism is valuable as long as it is constructive, but personal attacks are grounds for deletion; you don't have to agree with us to learn something. We’re all here to help each other, so thank you for adding to the conversation!

Description image 28 COMMENTS

  • Wow ! Amazing ! So now, it’s possible to create 3D pictures from shots taken with the Lytro ? I want one. Now.

  • holy cow. That is so amazing!

  • The water fountain shot is my favorite. Really amazing results.

  • But unless they’ve solved this appalling low resolution, crushingly poor dynamic range and generally crap usability, this is still a gimmick camera and simply not applicable to actual photography or video… yet. From the reviews and test of their first camera, it looks like it will be a long while before anyone will use this beyond gimmick phase. But they sure know how to get press as it’s cool, but the huge limitations are not mentioned. Just look at the size of these preview. My guess is the actually usable native rez is not that different from these.

    • I guess comments like this are inevitable. You are completely, utterly missing the point. Photography is more than specs, and innovation isn’t always be measured in dynamic range or megapixels.

    • Please, crawl back into your cave and die quietly you dumbwitted idiot.

      You’ve looked at the point and just decided to take a giant crap on it.


      Of COURSE new technology wont be at it’s most efficient when it’s released. Just please, learn to grow and be humbled by these absolutely beautiful and innovative though processes.

      • Clearly, no one here has read reviews of this camera or actually tried to use one. The technology behind it is very cool – the actual camera is too limited for anything but gimmick photos.

      • And your name calling clearly proves your intellectual superiority. Obviously, everything you say must be right.

        • So I guess nothing is ever allowed to be just plain cool anymore. Have fun with your always-the-most-advanced-at-all-times camera equipment. We’ll have fun with our open minds :)

      • “Please, crawl back into your cave and die quietly you dumbwitted idiot.”

        Why do you have to be so obnoxious David? I would actually agree with your point if you hadn’t decided to show off how amazingly “well” you can insult people. Stephen made his points respectfully; you decided you didn’t agree and the only way to express that dissatisfaction was to take a verbaldump on his head? How does that work. Grow up!

    • This would have been the same guy bashing the first digital cameras for how shitty they were…

  • Really, this is just a new piece of software leveraging the same information they got out of the same camera. They have exchanged shallow DOF for the ability to move the camera a few millimeters around.

    The camera itself is still impressive, but its going to have to get a lot larger in size (literally) before this “looking around corners” thing gets more dramatic results.

  • Christian Anderson on 11.16.12 @ 1:08PM

    Why are some of these comments treating the Lytro like it’s attempting to be a professional imaging device? It’s just a really, really cool toy. Lytro didn’t invent the plenoptic lens but they figured out how to market it to a wide audience.

  • I’m open to the idea that this could pave the way for some interesting forays into new-ish forms of storytelling, but for the moment, I can’t see past the Lytro’s gimmicky qualities.

    Someone discovered new tricks made possible by capturing more light with a box and pushing pixels. Am I missing something?

    I’m not asking rhetorically. For those who find it amazing, what specifically do you see as groundbreaking? What do you think are the implications for the future of visual art?

  • Primarily, I see it as another solid piece of the old “fix it in post” puzzle. If your focus is a little soft, the fix will be simple. Adjust the angle a touch? Easy. Could this make for some seriously sloppy craftsmanship? Sure. But I can imagine this being a feature on some future SLR, along with 1 press HDR in both still and video (as in processed in the camera). I’m sure there’s some other stuff that will be added to SLRs that is in the pipeline now.

  • the focusing stuff on the samples looks more like a unsharpenmask. I’m sure thats all fake.

  • JD Holloway on 11.16.12 @ 2:04PM

    The perspective shift concept is the same used by Canadian company isee3D to generate their single camera 3D imagery. They use a fast switching Left/Right polarizer in front of the front element of the lens to get the IO. Effectively, it makes one lens, act like its in two places.

  • I was amazed by most of the pics, until I tried the one with the sunflowers … setting focus on the flower in the foreground, creates the most artificial and horrible “bokeh” in the background I’ve ever seen.

    It’s a nice toy/gadget, but they need to up resolution and colour reproduction a lot before this becomes a viable tool. Most smartphone cameras give nicer results than this.

  • *cough* Esper Photo Analysis *cough*

  • Edward Martinez on 11.17.12 @ 1:42AM

    Dang I guess were getting rid of 1st Ac in the next couple of years lol!! What next cinematographer? “dont worry we will light it in post” wow lol