BRIEFS: October 20

‘Light field’ camera sees light of day

We covered the fascinating Lytro ‘light field’ technology back in June with a sneaking suspicion that it all might have been ‘vapourware’ – so it’s with some relief we can report the company has now shown some actual Lytro cameras!

Light field cameras capture all of the light rays travelling in every direction through a scene via a light field sensor, which captures the colour, intensity and vector direction of light rays. In basic terms, this is achieved by adding an array of microlenses between the image and a sensor to boost the amount of information captured. Given this massive amount of image data, some aspects of a picture – such as depth of field – can then be manipulated after the fact.

The result is images with which, in soft display, you can in effect ‘pull focus’ to any area in the field of view. When you click on a point on any picture, this becomes the point of focus. Ltyro calls this ‘living pictures’ You can change the point of focus at will after taking the picture.

Because the camera captures the entire light field, there is no need to focus ahead of time. You can simply capture the picture and adjust the focus later.
Lytro says this also adds the benefit of speed, as there is no focussing lag before the shot is taken. The company also claims dramatically superior low-light performance for its technology. Other benefits are the ability to switch from 2D to 3D at will, or shift the perspective of the scene

Lytro’s new camera has a fixed-iris f2 lens, an 8X optical zoom, weighs under 250 grams, and its aluminum body comes in three colours. It has only two controls – power and shutter – along with a touchscreen display on which shots can be manipulated.

Buyers will be able to choose between 8GB and 16GB models, which store 350 and 750 shots respectively. Lytro says 3D capability – presumably via a firmware upgrade – will be available some time next year.

The camera can be preordered now on Lytro’s website, at a price of US$399 for the 8GB model, or $499 for the 16GB for shipping ‘early next year’.

They’re giving ’em away!

This week is apparently ‘Free Kodak Prints Week’ in the US, with Kodak offering customers free prints from Kodak Picture Kiosks.

The promotion is aimed at demonstrating the ease with which people can print photos from their (and worryingly, their friends!) Facebook accounts. By ‘liking’ Kodak on Facebook until October 23 and volunteering to receive emails from Kodak in the future, Facebook users will be able to download a coupon to print up to 20 free 4×6 instant prints.

– What a brilliant bit of marketing for a cash-strapped corporation – giving your stuff away via your customers to build a database for yourself!

Lifepics tees up new business

Photo Direct has announced an upgraded T-shirt printing service for Lifepics.

The upgrade enables customers to order both landscape and portrait orientations, the T-shirt preview is improved, and text and graphics can be added.
There are now close to 100 T-shirt variations available with full capability to moving, crop rotate and otherwise enhance images.

News from Nikon

(Unedited press release): October 
20
 
marks
 the
 start
 of 
Nikon’s
 exciting 
partnership
 with 
distinctive 
fashion 
label,
 sass &
 bide.

The 
dedicated
 sass 
& bide 
page 
on 
the
 My
Nikon
Life
 website
 will
 showcase 
exclusive 
content 
from 
the
 brand,
 such
 as
 behind-
the-
scenes 
glimpses 
of
 London 
Fashion
 Week
 and
 also 
Nikon 
exclusive
 shopping
 events.

Sarah Jane-Clarke and Heidi
 Middleton 
from 
sass 
& 
bide [said]: 
’We 
gather 
so 
much 
inspiration 
for 
our 
brand 
on 
our 
travels 
and
 we
 believe 
in 
using 
the 
best 
equipment
 in 
the 
industry 
to
 capture
 these
 special
 moments ‐ that’s
 why 
we
 are 
really 
excited 
about 
partnering 
with Nikon.’

(One wonders whether they made this simultaneous comment in unison, or perhaps with Sarah-Jane enunciating the first word and Heidi the second, Sarah the third, etc, etc. We may never know, but wish we had been there when it happened – Ed.)

Nikon 
have
 also 
today
 launched 
a 
new 
app 
Picturetown 
Pad
 for 
iPads
 and 
iPhones,
 which 
is available
 for 
download 
from 
Apple’s 
app 
store.

Nikon’s 
My 
Picturetown 
Pad 
app 
will 
allow users 
to 
share 
images 
online 
and 
will 
act 
as 
a 
storage 
service 
for 
images
 on 
their 
iPads
 and iPhones.


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