‘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.