Imagine a camera that looks like more like a kaleidoscope than anything else. That’s just the form factor. Visualise, if you can, the concept of a camera that allows you to take pictures now and “focus later”.
If you find it hard to do this, maybe you should invest $399 in acquiring an 8GB Lytro camera. You could also pay $499 and get a version with 16GB storage built in.
Ren Ng, CEO of Lytro recently showed the camera at an event in San Francisco. The concept is truly revolutionary, because the focus can be adjusted even after the picture is taken. The Lytro camera works by breaking up the image from the main lens using an array of micro lens.
By analysing how light enters each micro lens, a depth map is created along with the colour and light intensity maps that are part of conventional digital photography. The secret behind “focus later” is to clearly render only objects at a selected depth level; all other objects are relatively blurred.
The Lytro looks like a tube with a square cross-section, with a lens at one end and an LCD screen at the other. The F/2 lens comes with 8x zoom. The 1.46” LCD screen allows you to view images. Unlike even simple digital point-and-shoot cameras, the Lytro has only two buttons, one to control power and the other to control the shutter.
There is a slider for the zoom, though. The camera weighs only 8 oz and is only 4.4” in length. Lytro expects to ship its products in 2012, so you may not able to get it this Christmas.