Lytro formally unveiled its innovative focus later camera, called Lytro light field camera, as a potential game changer that will bring photography to a new level.
The Silicon Valley startup company's CEO Ren Ng revealed Lytro's stunning design and revolutionary technology at an event in San Francisco, Calif. on Wednesday.
A Lytro camera looks more like a kaleidoscope at a glance: a two-toned box 4.4 inches long and 1.6 inches square with a lens on one end and an LCD touch-screen display on the other. The device is revolutionary in its technology called light-field photography, which allows you to decide what to focus on any part of a photo after it's taken.
Before we go into details, click and experience Lytro for yourself.
Simply click on different spots on the pictures, and watch - the focus will automatically change.
Moreover, the Lytro camera has an instant shutter, which a regular camera cannot offer. You can take a photo the very moment you press the shutter, and worry about the focus later. As a digital and software-powered instrument, Lytro can snap pictures faster than traditional cameras that are hampered by the lag of shutters.
Here is the trick:
The core science behind the camera is called the light field, the amount of light traveling in every direction through every point in space.
While traditional cameras add all the light rays and record them as a single amount of light, the light field sensor in Letro captures the color, intensity and vector direction of the rays of light. Lytro cameras can capture all the light rays flowing in its direction -- 11 million rays for every shot -- in four dimensions as Ng described it.
Then with sophisticated algorithms, the technology converts the directional information to make new images visible to the human eye.
Lytro is giving Mac users the first privilege to play with the interactive living photos taken by Lytro. Once shared on Facebook, Twitter or blogs, viewers of the photos can explore the scenes like you just did.
Lytro will roll out a Windows version in the future, as well as viewer apps for mobile phones.
The Lytro cameras can be ordered on its website, to be shipped in early 2012. It will be available at $399 for 8GB models and $499 for 16GB models. The former gives color options between Electric Blue or Graphite, while the latter comes only in Red Hot.
According to the Press Release, Lytro's features are:
Form follows function: The Lytro's unique compact design is driven by its 8x optical zoom lens, which features a constant f/2 aperture. The Lytro's anodized aluminum body is lightweight yet sturdy. At less than eight ounces, the Lytro puts remarkable power in a pocket-sized camera.
Proprietary light field science: The Lytro is the only camera that captures life in living pictures. Its innovative light field sensor captures 11 million light rays of data (or 11 megarays), including the direction of each ray, something conventional cameras don't do. The light field engine then processes the data into a picture that is displayed in HD quality.
Unparalleled speed: The Lytro's speed ensures that people never miss a moment. It turns on instantly and has an instant shutter. With no need to auto-focus, the Lytro has no shutter delays.
Low-light sensitivity: By using all of the available light in a scene, the Lytro performs well in lowlight environments without the use of a flash.
Significant storage: The Lytro is available in both 8GB and 16GB models, storing 350 and 750 pictures respectively. In addition, our first camera owners will enjoy free storage for the light field pictures they've uploaded to Lytro.com.
Seeing in 3D: Coming soon! Captured as a full light field, all pictures taken with the Lytro are inherently 3D. Special light field algorithms, available in 2012, will be applied to the light field pictures to enable viewing on any 3D display and to enable viewers to shift the perspective of the scene.