Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

New camera revolutionary or just a gimmick?

  • Print

Its makers say it represents "the first major shift in photography since the invention of photography." But a skeptic might say it just sounds a little gimmicky.

It's called Lytro, a boxy digital camera that takes so-called "living pictures." Basically, photos can be refocused at any time after they're taken, so something in the foreground can be made sharp with the background blurred, or vice versa. Lytro photos can be shared online for friends and family to interact with.

The effect is possible because the Lytro is a light field camera, explains director of photography Eric Cheng.

"The light field is defined as all of the light travelling in every direction at every point in space -- and the key component there is direction," Cheng says.

"Light field is what travels through a traditional camera but (the camera) throws away most of the information, you have a bunch of different light rays hitting one point and they all get averaged into a colour. But if it were possible to separate those light rays out, the data you'd be capturing would be this rich light field data they've been talking about in computer graphics theory for decades."

The Lytro first went on sale in the U.S. about a year ago and was released in Canada last week, with an eight-gigabyte version selling for about $400 and a 16-gigabyte model going for $500.

The average consumer will probably have fun with its refocusing ability but the Lytro also has other notable features, Cheng says, including a powerful 8X zoom, a large aperture width to allow more light into the camera, and no appreciable shutter lag.

"You can pull the camera out, turn it on and take a shot instantly and not have to worry about missing focus," he says.

"Refocus won't necessarily hook everybody, of course -- some people will just say, 'Why don't you just focus to begin with?' -- and that's OK."

But there are some drawbacks to choosing the Lytro. The camera is print-unfriendly with a resolution of just 1.2 megapixels (consider even the cheapest of point-and-shoot cameras typically have 10 times the pixel depth). The photos are also square-shaped, so cropping of the already-small digital file is necessary if you want to print a photo.

Cheng explains that the Lytro was designed for the type of photographer who mostly views their photos on a screen and rarely prints. He does acknowledge that the company does want to increase photo quality in the future.

"We do think (more pixels) is important (but) this particular camera is really meant for screen sharing, (for) interactive pictures shared to the social web," he says.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 20, 2012 E2

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Exciting changes expected for Saturday's Santa Claus parade

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • June 25, 2013 - 130625  -  A storm lit up Winnipeg Tuesday, June 25, 2013. John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press - lightning
  • Susan and Gary Harrisonwalk their dog Emma on a peaceful foggy morning in Assiniboine Park – Standup photo– November 27, 2011   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Would you visit Dalnavert Museum if it reopened?

View Results

Ads by Google