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Lytro plenoptic camera used for fashion shoot

By dpreview staff on Jul 25, 2011 at 19:33 GMT

Following the extensive press coverage of Lytro's 'light field' camera, the company's Director of Photography, Eric Cheng, was invited to photograph a fashion shoot. The results, visible on Canadian model Coco Rocha's website, show a similar level of control over the focus point as exhibited in the sample we posted previously (and, perhaps tellingly, are the same 494 x 494 pixel resolution). They are accompanied by a behind-the-scenes video of the shoot that shows Cheng using the (blurred-out) camera. Despite the blurring, it suggests the camera is around the size of a conventional compact.

Click here for the Lytro fashion shoot sample images


Total comments: 101
didier Tickell
By didier Tickell (Oct 30, 2011)

for high end cameras ?

Current aesthetic trend in digital photography is to push DOF to extremes -, stretch the old rules of focus to it's limit. Extreme blur and sharpness; toy town fx - large areas of unfocus now acceptable even in tv and cinema imagery. Currently, the new Lytro plays into this trend.
But Lytro has potential where multiple planes of focus may be present without the need to carry equiv. lenses (extreme wide/ zoom travel lenses).
Lytro could also be developed where one could select in pp, multiple focal plains AT THE SAME TIME and set parameters for each plain. This could introduce a new aesthetic of working towards images with extreme subtleties of sharpness over multiple plains. It would also bypass current PS mask, selections, unsharp mask & blur filter work required to create the same kind of fx.
What one ends up with is a new set of possible parameters. I don't think they guarantee quality without complexity.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 5 minutes after posting
Peter iNova
By Peter iNova (Aug 3, 2011)

These images, as do other samples I've seen, seem to have 2 or three focus zones at maximum. The most I've seen in a sample is 4 focus zones.

By Evgehni (Jul 30, 2011)

Nice thig

what is the usage?

By rakita (Jul 30, 2011)

Well, it just OK for fun. Very interesting!

dale thorn
By dale thorn (Jul 30, 2011)

Dynamic tomography - just like airport scanners.

Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (Jul 29, 2011)

@GordonAtWork. The real thing - if it exists - can do much more than this. It will have an infinite number of focus planes and it will be able to have an arbitrary DOF. These demos are just lame. If they are fake or not I dont know. But I am quite sure there are no real camera. Its probably a lab prototype based on a FF Sony camera or Canon 5D connected to a laptop computer.

Craig K Lewis
By Craig K Lewis (Jul 29, 2011)

For me, all of the hoopla now is just that--PR hoopla and puffery. I'll believe that the product really does what its company says that it does when they make a sample of the shipping product available to dpreview.

By GordonAtWork (Jul 27, 2011)

I'd like to see some images with a lot of focal planes rather than what seems to be just two.

By ccarrier (Jul 27, 2011)

These are note real pictures!
Look at the picture of the girl with the city behind her!
You click on the girl, the city becomes blur. OK. But you click on the handrail, at the bottom right, which is obviously closer to the camera than the girl. The handrail becomes clear, but so does the city behind and the girl becomes blur. This make no sense! So it is obvious that the flash player animation presentend on this site are not real images!

By falconeyes (Jul 27, 2011)

The handrail is behind the girl.
I agree that the Flash animation most likely selects from a few prerendered images. But there is no reason why the refocus shouldn't have been done after the shot. For this low resolution, this is very old technology.

By TheLastMan (Jul 27, 2011)

Lots of problems with this, despite the wizzy demonstration. Looking between the lines Lytro suffers from:
- Huge data files but very low resolution
- The need to post-process to produce a useable file or print
- Even the in-focus bits are blurry!
- Not a patch on even basic P&S cameras

Most P&S users take most of their pictures of friends and family. Their major fruatration has, in the past, been missing focus on people's faces. Despite being derided as a "gimmic" in these forums, I know lots of people who think face recognition in compact cameras has massively increased their number of usable and printable shots.

Fundamentally the biggest market this camera has, reducing the number of out of focus shots of people, has been solved with face recognition. Sure you get a faux artistic background bokeh blur, but photographers looking for that "artistic" shot won't be prepared to put up with the camera's other sever limitations.

By dmanthree (Jul 27, 2011)

Hi, I'm the "snake oil" commenter. I'm not freaked out about this, I welcome it. But when all you see is a few very low res images, no images of the camera, and no details on how the pix were captured it makes me suspicious. How long does it take to capture an image? Will the camera use "standard" shutter speeds, or is something else required? What will it cost? Can you change lenses? I love the concept, but right now we all know next to nothing about the camera and its capabilities. Still vaporware, and I've been around long enough to not get excited at vaporware, no matter what the promises.

By falconeyes (Jul 27, 2011)

There is nothing magical with the Lytro. Plenoptics is century-old physics. Also, it isn't (necessarily) expensive and has the same ISO or shutter-speed capabilities as SLRs with a big lens. It just doesn't make a lot of sense outside some niches.

The most promising niche actually would be cell phone cameras which cannot embedd big lenses except via lens array technology. But that doesn't seem to be Lytro's approach.

1 upvote
By sportyaccordy (Jul 27, 2011)

If they can get the resolution of the final images up to 6MP it should be good. I am curious as to how the low light & burst performance on this will be. Raytrix cameras use Nikon's F-mount which is also awesome.

I don't get why people are so freaked out about change, this seems to have all the upsides of DSLRs, plus the added bonus of not having to worry about focusing, with none of the downsides. People crying about how it will "kill the art of photography" are dumb, you still have to compose & process the pictures which is the most important part. I am certain people were this freaked out when DSLRs came out... "$5000 for 2MP? No thanks I will keep processing photos in the $10,000 darkroom shed I built on the side of my house"...

Purists ruin every hobby I am in to. You guys can continue with your manual focus lenses & film... that's fine... but don't knock everyone else for transitioning into the 21st century.

By falconeyes (Jul 27, 2011)

> with none of the downsides
My point was that people (incl. journalists) don't understand the physics behind all this. It's the Heisenberg uncertainty principle (applied to photons) at work and it is fundamental enough to have no work-around. So, the downsides are huge: You are confined to *VERY* low resolutions. Some like Raytrix explain this. Others like Lytro don't.

By mrahmo (Jul 27, 2011)

great idea, can be a great toy

but i still like my normal SLR

By falconeyes (Jul 27, 2011)

At 1:26 in the video, I think you have an unblurred (though tiny) sight of the camera. It seems to use a lens with rather large diameter.

494x494 (or 0.24 MP) would be a typical resolution for conventional Plenoptics refocus. Technology and market leader Raytrix from Germany (read more about the market here: ) hold all the patents to push this higher up (currently up to 3 MP with their R11 camera), cf. page 27 and compare with the red line for a standard plenoptic camera which goes thru approx. 0.2MP.

So, the Lytro is easy to do and what is first is that somebody now thought it would actually make sense. But only America can turn this into a hype ;)

inevitable crafts studio
By inevitable crafts studio (Jul 27, 2011)

whaaaat? a camera that stores the photos on a flash memory?? people will never buy this hehe

By Ikari120378 (Jul 27, 2011)

A trick of 60 FPS Casio, with focus bracketing...?

By diversal (Jul 27, 2011)

gimme a proper lens with manual control any day.
i will never be interested in this.

Michael Uschold
By Michael Uschold (Jul 27, 2011)

It is a pretty cute trick, but if all it can do is show photos on a screen that are mostly out of focus - no thanks, it is no more than a gimick (albeit a spectacularly impressive one). If it can be used to make exactly what I want to be sharp, or everything sharp at the same time, that is much more interesting and worthwhile. It must be true, but I'm surprised this has not been mentioned yet.

1 upvote
By waxwaine (Jul 27, 2011)

I guess it´s similar technology that will come with Pentax Q for DOF effect

By mhike (Jul 27, 2011)

No, the Q will have the same miniature effect that cams have had for years now.

By BaliPeter (Jul 27, 2011)

To all the skeptics, see you in 5 years from now. If it was a public company I would like to buy a pice of it.

Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Jul 29, 2011)

Very likely, the Lytro demonstrations are foreplay to a public offering. Maybe $100k has been invested in the promo and a prototype Lytro won't even let anyone see from the outside or submit for any review. The stock offering might raise $20m or more from wishful speculators. The founders and their venture capital sponsors will make a killing. Later, if the camera proves to be impractical, too expensive, or a hoax, so what?

Have you ordered your Tesla yet? 3D is probably a more dynamic gimmick, without producing any 3D tycoons or hot stocks.

Roger Knight
By Roger Knight (Jul 27, 2011)

Given a little time and an ability to produce full screen 1:1 size images I can see a phenominal aplication environment in security and forensic fields of photography and video closed circuit recording. It was fun playing with what is there already though.

Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Jul 29, 2011)

Surveillance video cameras tend to be too low resolution anyway. What would be wrong with HD photos shot with deep focus, with everything beyond 15' clear?

By pcardo (Jul 26, 2011)

Eventually having depth information for each pixel, in addition to color, will really enhance selections and manipulations in Photoshop. It should make selecting complex foregrounds or backgrounds that much quicker and cleaner.

dale thorn
By dale thorn (Jul 26, 2011)

This technology has been around for decades in some forms. In 1984 I worked to computerize a Dynamic Tomography process that could take a few simple xrays of an object from certain angles, then with special processing, put the slides together on a viewer and dial down through the object with very detailed resolution in all 3 dimensions. That program led to the scanners used in airports today. Getting all that muscle into a small camera is a trick....

Klaus dk
By Klaus dk (Jul 26, 2011)

As applied mathematics, this is awesome. As a practical way of producing digital images, it does not seem marketable yet. Interesting to see how long it will take before we can, and will want to, buy it.

By Geniet (Jul 26, 2011)

In the YouTube video: ' Karl Pribram: The Holographic Brain...'* Karl Pribram states that the defocused area of a photographic image (bokeh) is a hologram. (At about 1:20 of the video).
This blur area contains all the information. It is a matter of shifting the focus in the blur area to have the image re-appear.


1 upvote
By LukeS (Jul 26, 2011)

0.25 mega pixels, Is this a joke?

1 upvote
By jtsmith (Jul 26, 2011)

After reading a bit of responses, it is like reading people who commented on the first digital camera technology, back in the day...

By Michaelr205 (Jul 26, 2011)

What's a plenoptic camera?

By Zamac (Jul 26, 2011)

The plenoptic approach has an advantage over focus bracketing in that it will not be affected by moving subjects in the way that multi-exposures are.

However, I don't think there is much of a market for it. Most serious photographers can focus anyway, and for those shooting in situations where it might be useful want better resolution. P&S owners just want everything in focus. Sure, there will be some who will be seduced by the marketing and buy one, play with it for 15 minutes and decide it is too much trouble and go back to their old camera. But not only that, cyberspace will soon be flooded with twitters expressing their disappointment - and the bottom falls out of the market.

By Greentrees (Jul 26, 2011)

snake oil is the best description yet!!!

Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Jul 26, 2011)

Eric Cheng may indeed have developed some sort of plenoptic device. However, the equivalent effect could be achieved by means of:

1) A single camera with focus bracketing.
2) Multiple cameras or a single device with three or four lenses and sensors set to different depths.
3) A a deep focus camera with gaussian blur applied to the pictures.

#3 would be cheap and allow the greatest customization.

Any one of the options could be embedded in a device, and sold under the label of "plenoptic camera," without the buyer knowing any difference from the theoretical "real deal" described in Cheng's dissertation.

3D photography or video has more "wow" impact, but hasn't yet excited masses to buy 3D.

Eric Cheng is smart. If he applies his mind to create a 4 x 1/2.3" sensor camera that, with four lenses, allows a "spider-eye" cell phone to take pictures on par with a DSLR, he could make a fortune.

By ksdoug (Jul 26, 2011)

All of the Lytro pictures i've seen only seem to have 2 or 3 levels that it focuses at. I don't see how this gives any kind of advantage over a traditional camera with focus bracketing.

By Hynee (Jul 26, 2011)

Good snooping DPR, I hope to find out more. 0.25 MP isn't that bad either ;)

By dmanthree (Jul 26, 2011)

Spam? Really?

OK, here's my take on the Lytro:

Still no images of the camera: why?
Still no hi-res pix: why?

I remain very skeptical. This seems to fall into the old category that if something is too good to be true, it isn't. Until I see a working camera and some full resolution pictures, this is snake oil.

By JasperD (Jul 26, 2011)

This is brilliant! Provided the final picture quality satisfies at least actual prosumer DSLRs, I can see myself wanting one; instead of! Just need to hold it first and see the output IQ after manipulation. Hope it will be affordable, too...

By photonius (Jul 26, 2011)

Well, you can build your own plenotic camera, here it's shown how: using an existing camera

Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (Jul 26, 2011)

Nowhere on the lytro site there is an image of a lytro camera. This means that there is no camera yet. The images are probably taken with some kind of prototype that looks like some optical and electronic experiment. I assume all software still is executed in a laptop. The conversion in software on this laptop may take minutes for all we know. There is not even a mock up concept camera built. All this tells that they are in a very early state regarding coming to market.

That fact does not say it is uninteresting. There are today actually cameras that do panorama stitching in software in the camera in real time. So - tomorrow will show.

Pavel Eskenazi
By Pavel Eskenazi (Jul 26, 2011)

Well ... the whole idea is great!
It will be interesting to view some comments on an article where photographers were discussing the first digital consumer camera.

By HeadshotChooser (Jul 26, 2011)

I go into some depth about the ramifications of the Lytro technology here:

(and while I'm at it, predict what the back of a new iPhone will look like :-)

1 upvote
By Boomz (Jul 26, 2011)

I wonder how do you copyright your image? Hmm .... can you even put a watermark? Embed copyright matadata? You know, just some very basic practical things you do before going 'live' online, if this is for social media.

By CBAlexQ (Jul 26, 2011)

So any chance putting this in the 7D Mark II? L-O-L!

1 upvote
By Boomz (Jul 26, 2011)

You know your kid is going to want to use it after, haha!

photo perzon
By photo perzon (Jul 26, 2011)

What's the point. Use a $ 100 P&S at f8 and everything will be in focus anyway.

1 upvote
By Boomz (Jul 26, 2011)

Yah, but with this you don't need to know how to use Photoshop :P Plus they can do it online live, do a screen print and save it for their FaceBook, MySpace, Twitter, etc.

By NineFace (Jul 26, 2011)

it still long way to go but this will make p&s and phone camera users very happy.

1 upvote
By Jogger (Jul 26, 2011)

first they need at least 16mp.. on a pinhead sensor (!!).. and then youre left with a .3 mp picture. i say, choose your af point propoerly in the first place

1 upvote
Ron Scubadiver
By Ron Scubadiver (Jul 26, 2011)

Too many secrets. A blurred out camera...

1 upvote
By JGPavlov (Jul 26, 2011)

Am I missing something? It seems to me all you would need to achieve this is a binocular image (with a large DOF) and software. Depth information is encoded in the binocular displacement.

By micahmedia (Jul 26, 2011)

...check the bokeh. There's an odd (but subtle in these pics) diagonal banding in the bokeh. For example, the shot through the bike spokes, if you look at the channels in the concrete wall behind the model. It's not the spokes causing issues either, since I see the same in the one in front of the Flatiron building.

By Octane (Jul 26, 2011)

Yes there are all kinds of artifacts in all their sample photos and the edge from in-focus to blurry is bad also. All at less than 500 pixel? I highly doubt it will be a success.

By ZorSy (Jul 25, 2011)

Almost any current DSLR manufacturer could introduce this system, albeit only with limited choice of fast focusing lenses and some smart programming, so the camera does not have to use focusing system while taking the burst of shots.
For this type of photography (static fashion) it would be relativelly easy to take quick burst ofintelligently focused shots, if the camera has the ability to recognise extreme focus points (some later cameras using intelligent system already do this for their "DOF priority"), leaving final file "unflattened". The same as with focus stacking technique some photographers already use, just in camera.
IMO, nothing that radical and new - at at such smallish resolution, not a surprise (boils down to Casio's 1000 frames/sec with incremental focus shift - even if this slows down to 100 frames to allow marginal focus shift, there would be 100 shots covering from .5m to infinity in 1 second. With that, you can really refocus later).
Lukewarm water.

1 upvote
By fmian (Jul 25, 2011)

Can't we already achieve better results like this using focus bracketing techniques? I know some of the Ricoh CX range of compact cameras have focus bracketing.
Am I missing something?

By brkl (Jul 25, 2011)

This would make a lovely gadget for a smart fone, but not a photographic tool.

For now, that is. Still, it's interesting to see some of the possibilities of new technology.

1 upvote
Button Pusher
By Button Pusher (Jul 25, 2011)

The more I see of the results, the less I'm impressed.

One of the touted features of this camera was it's low light ability, but they had all sorts of reflected and other(?) light on the models. The making of video was far more impressive than the actual shots.

Someday, this may be the thing, but until they can produce something that isn't a postage stamp size, I'll pass and it will come and go.

Total comments: 101