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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

Comments

Total comments: 101
12
Photomonkey
By Photomonkey (Jul 25, 2011)

Sounds like a photographic version of the Dale automobile.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twentieth_Century_Motor_Car_Corporation

1 upvote
Boomz
By Boomz (Jul 25, 2011)

It feels really gimmicky right now.

2 upvotes
Alistair Simpson
By Alistair Simpson (Jul 25, 2011)

Can anyone suggest what applications this camera could be used for? I'm struggling to think of one. And as the Lytro website lacks any kind of detail about the device, even an image of the camera itself, I can't say I'm particularly impressed.

0 upvotes
Robert Hoy
By Robert Hoy (Jul 25, 2011)

Sports. Action came up fast and camera didn't focus on the subject properly, easy to re-focus later. Or again with sport DOF was too shallow and subject is a little out of focus. That is if this isn't just a software gimmick starting from a photo with extremely large DOF to begin with.

And you never have taken a photo where focusing wasn't perfect? Never had a front or back focused shot? :)

0 upvotes
Alistair Simpson
By Alistair Simpson (Jul 25, 2011)

I guess you're right, and it's early days yet. It could develop into useful technology, but the website just doesn't convince me, and my suspicion is that it's a fixed focus lens and fancy software.

1 upvote
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Jul 29, 2011)

The problem with most sports photography is blur due to action and insufficient light, which plenoptics would not cure. Shots from a conventional camera with large DOF can be selecitvely de-focused, as needed. Whether plenoptics would be compatible with long zoom is another matter.

0 upvotes
Lobalobo
By Lobalobo (Jul 25, 2011)

Most of these posts are missing the point. In theory, you can choose your depth of field after the fact (and not only the point of focus) because enough information is recorded to provide focus anywhere, everywhere, or nowhere. There is a penalty in resolution, but with 18 MP crammed into tiny sensors this may not be a problem. The real question to my mind is whether the principle of choosing depth of field after choosing the focus point can occur in practice--it may just require too much computing power.

0 upvotes
kenw
By kenw (Jul 25, 2011)

The resolution penalty is severe. Even with a native 18MP imager you are getting less than 1MP out.

2 upvotes
Robert Hoy
By Robert Hoy (Jul 25, 2011)

Could this simply be a software gimmick? Recording large DOF and using software to simulate a different DOF based upon which point you want to be in focus? I had an issue with the fact that it had to "load" each image as if there were several recorded images to choose from and it wasn't really re-imaging the picture based upon my chosen point in focus.

0 upvotes
Jogger
By Jogger (Jul 25, 2011)

actually, if you think about it, this is the only way it can possibly work. the camera isnt actually changing the focus in the lens and certainly not changing the aperture. it needs everything to be in focus (due to large DOF), then it simulates selective focus by blurring things out using the depth map.. it does this on a pixel level and its based on depth information, so its more advanced than photoshopping.

0 upvotes
Jen Yates
By Jen Yates (Jul 25, 2011)

It could be, but it isn't. It's in the hardware, and that's why there's a serious drop in resolution captured. Sensor pixel to image pixel mapping isn't 1:1 in this system.

It's as if the sensor has many many lenses embedded on it. Think Matrix style "Bullet" time on the nano scale.

0 upvotes
Allan Gendelman
By Allan Gendelman (Jul 25, 2011)

Cool idea but the depth of field is aweful. Sometimes I want everything in focus. The image quality is also extremely bad. A professional photographer would not use this camera. This is point and shooty quality. And an amateur photographer is definitely not going to spend time refocusing their photography. I feel like this technology will not be used because the camera has no audience or market.

2 upvotes
Robert Hoy
By Robert Hoy (Jul 25, 2011)

This is said to be new technology, so 500x500 pixels is working with a minimal setup. If it is a valid process, more money I"m sure would be spent with sensor manufacturers to put it into real production. Prototypes are often conservative at first!

4 upvotes
Xon_Fedaa
By Xon_Fedaa (Jul 25, 2011)

While I read about this a while ago, I had no idea it was as far along as it appears to be. I'm wondering, is it also possible to make everything "in focus" all at once?

My other thought is, while I can see this tech being useful in certain, limited photographic situations, I think it may eventually find a niche in (digital) moviemaking. Would probably take lots of computing power, though.

0 upvotes
Steven Noyes
By Steven Noyes (Jul 25, 2011)

The technology is impressive overall but still has work to be done before it will ever see wide acceptance. Quality wise, these are not much different than you see on social web sharing sites like Facebook and the like. The ability to fix the #1 error of most snap shooters might prove to be a good marketing angle.

I don't see these being used for fine art but, hey, people still do amazing work with Poloraid so who is to say.

0 upvotes
Jogger
By Jogger (Jul 25, 2011)

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/doubts-about-lytros-focus-later-camera/2011/07/23/gIQAj1lSVI_story.html

Here is a very good write up on the technology. Some interesting things, the blurred out image you see is NOT due to the optics of the camera. The prototype uses a point and shoot sized sensor and lens (i.e. infinite DOF). Whats happening is the camera knows the depth of each pixel (pretty amazing), and when you tell it to (focus) on that point, it renders that point sharp.. all other points are digitally blurred according to the depth map.. pixels that are further away, are blurred more... yea, so this isnt going to replace your 85/1.4 for portraits.

2 upvotes
Robert Hoy
By Robert Hoy (Jul 25, 2011)

So this is a software gimmick not "redirecting" light as has been reported on Dpreview before?

2 upvotes
kenw
By kenw (Jul 25, 2011)

No, not a software gimmick but a lot of software involved. The camera does have special optics in front of the sensor that allow for a depth map to be captured. A consequence of this is an extreme reduction in spatial resolution. Like from 16MP to 0.25MP.

1 upvote
Nate21
By Nate21 (Jul 25, 2011)

interesting technology it could change are understanding of DOF and it could impact the 3D photography, but the lower resolution maybe a deal breaker but it looks like fun for niche camera segment. The images will work well for social networks and Flickr.

1 upvote
customminds
By customminds (Jul 25, 2011)

and then the AC under her armpit of the second photo. still blurry.

0 upvotes
Robert Hoy
By Robert Hoy (Jul 25, 2011)

Not blurry when I'm interracting with that photo. Click more than once if it doesn't refocus on one click.

0 upvotes
customminds
By customminds (Jul 27, 2011)

i think you mean it does not 'attempt' to focus. i get the attempted focus. and yes. its still blurry. when i focus on the AC under the armpit, the window to the right of her face is the main 'in-focus' item. the AC is most definitely OOF.

0 upvotes
customminds
By customminds (Jul 25, 2011)

i don't get it. i click on the blurry trees in the background of their top image... and they stay blurry. go figure.

0 upvotes
Jogger
By Jogger (Jul 25, 2011)

seems like the focus point adjustment is in a number of fixed increments, not continuous. i still dont see the point of this other than the novelty factor. you cant even use this camera to produce prints.

1 upvote
Shorthand
By Shorthand (Jul 25, 2011)

It seems like they're sacraficing WAAAY too much resolution to get lots of 3D data. I would rather see a more moderate solution that has mabye 4 DoFs at 1/4 resolution so that you can fix bad focus and play with DoF but not this low-res silliness.

2 upvotes
aardvark7
By aardvark7 (Jul 25, 2011)

Carefully selected shots which are both low resolution and seem to only have two distinct focus planes (rather than many) do nothing to suggest that this will have any use other than a curiosity for the foreseeable future.
Also, as I have mentioned before, the nature of moving the decison about focus and depth of field to part of post-processing risks the artistic process.
I'm far from convinced and this demonstration does nothing to cahnge that view.

2 upvotes
Doug Frost
By Doug Frost (Jul 25, 2011)

User-selectable focus is a gimmick. And why on earth would I want someone to be able to change the focus on a shot I've created for a fashion client? Commercial photography is for selling products, and the setup and focus are carefully designed to emphasize the things the client wants emphasized. Allowing anyone to change that after the fact makes no sense at all.

1 upvote
cdlm
By cdlm (Jul 25, 2011)

Who said the photographer can't flatten the image to a single focus after she picked/adjusted it? Also, not all photo is commercial or for selling products…

3 upvotes
Doug Frost
By Doug Frost (Jul 25, 2011)

I never said it was.

0 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (Jul 25, 2011)

> And why on earth would I want someone to be able to change the focus on a shot I've created for a fashion client?

Well it's pretty obvious really - novelty. Look how much extra attention (and web traffic) shooting with that camera has brought them.

After the novelty wears off? Yeah, I can't imagine many commercial jobs with the technology at present, but that's not the market they're aiming for anyway.

0 upvotes
Octane
By Octane (Jul 25, 2011)

500x500 pixel? I see the potential, but I fail to see who would buy a camera with such a low resolution. Being able to change the focus is fun and cool as a demo, but the reduced resolution is too much of a compromise. It makes it virtually useless for any use.

1 upvote
bkj216
By bkj216 (Jul 25, 2011)

Well you would expect the resolution to increase over time, similar to digital cameras and the Megapixel wars.

0 upvotes
cdlm
By cdlm (Jul 25, 2011)

The resolution makes some sense on Facebook and other places for social pictures. That's why they are targeting a compact camera as their 1st model IMHO

1 upvote
ManWithPentaxCamera
By ManWithPentaxCamera (Jul 26, 2011)

Most people don't print anymore. They only post to social media sites to share with friends and family.

This camera solves what I believe to be one of the major (if not THE major) frustration of the typical parent -- the main reason that many parents purchase a DSLR: "shutter lag"

Parents want to snap a photo of their children and they press the shutter button and the picture isn't captured until a few seconds later, because the autofocus is so slow on the typical point and shoot. Then, half the time, the grass is in focus, rather than the child.

This allows for the image to be captured instantly, focus can be done in post. I think this will be a VERY popular camera for parents.

0 upvotes
Ron Poelman
By Ron Poelman (Jul 26, 2011)

Take a perfectly good shot.
Store it.
Make a copy and fuzz it up.
Show it to the world.
Let the rubes press their buttons to do a simple cut and paste
and set their little techie tails aquiver.
Profit.

0 upvotes
dara2
By dara2 (Jul 26, 2011)

I could see this: Lytro license the web applet to Facebook. Facebook embed the applet on their pages. The kids shoot then upload the image from the sd card straight to facebook. The kids friends can click on facebook picture to focus anywhere.

0 upvotes
athst
By athst (Jul 26, 2011)

You guys are focusing too much on what it is today, and not what it will be in the future. It's a startup working on an entirely new technology - of course the resolution isn't going to match your DSLR. It's not about the selective focus gimmick - that's just demonstrating the technology. It feels like how people wrote off digital cameras when they first came out. Can you imagine where this will be in 5-10 years? It's going to be insanely good.

1 upvote
Steve Ives
By Steve Ives (Jul 26, 2011)

Fantastically forward-looking responses. Must have been similar to when someone invested a 'digital' camera than didn't need film. "What a gimmick", "Rubbish", "Never replace a REAL camera", "Look at the resolution" "Must be a trick - probably film inside it" etc etc and we know how that ended up.

1 upvote
Damovich
By Damovich (Jul 26, 2011)

This seemed to be a well hyped up new (hoax?) product but where's the/any technical preview ?

0 upvotes
John Driggers
By John Driggers (Jul 26, 2011)

It's a low-res prototype, so a lot of these comments are just silly. It's amazing how the general tone of the comments seem to show some sense of feeling threatened--a lot of it sounds like early reactions to auto focus and to digital.

0 upvotes
aniramca
By aniramca (Jul 27, 2011)

Considering the digital camera eye can capture images while the focusing mechanism is working to achieve the sharp object, I think this technique can work. When the camera focus on a subject, it can capture within that microsecond of the same image... except it captures on the spectrum or depth of field of the subject. Did not Olympus produce a camera a few years ago that capture object with plus and minus miliseconds before the shutter button clicks? I think this concept can be converted to create images while the camera is focusing the object.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 101
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