A prototype for a new DSLR add-on is poised to bring plenoptic capabilities to consumer cameras. The KaleidoCamera is designed to sit between a standard DSLR's sensor and lens. A diffuser splits light passing through the lens into nine different beams, each passing through a filter before it reaches the camera's sensor. 

Depending on the configuration, each beam of light can be filtered to isolate particular colors, or capture a scene with nine different tone curves to create an HDR image in post-processing. With a slight adjustment, the KaleidoCamera is capable of light-field imaging. Lytro cameras have already made this capability available to consumers, but the KaleidoCamera would be the first device to work with a consumer's existing camera. 

This is a picture showing the prototype KaleidoCamera fitted to a Leica medium-format DSLR. 

Plenoptic cameras split the incoming light based on the angle it arrived from, meaning depth information is captured about the scene. The more images the scene is split into, the greater the depth information captured, but the lower the resolution of the final image.

Two configurations of the KaleidoCamera - the uppermost uses filters for selective color or HDR photography, and the lower configuration uses a light field design to enable plenoptic photography. 

Applications extend beyond interesting photo experiments and post-capture focusing - the KaleidoCamera could see use in "scientific imaging, industrial quality control, remote sensing, computer vision and computer graphics," according to a paper published by the prototypes creators. 


Video: KaleidoCamera for HDR, Multi-spectral, Polarization & Light Field Imaging