Lytro Camera Gets Innovations Focus
By Greg Tarr On Nov 16 2011 - 5:01am
NEW YORK –
Among the more revolutionary new
products receiving Innovations Award consideration
at the Consumer Electronics Association’s recent International
CES 2012 Press
Preview was a digital camera
that allows adjusting focus
after the picture is taken.
The camera, called a light
ield camera ($399 suggested
retail for the entry model),
was developed by Silicon
Valley startup Lytro to let users
snap images quickly on
the fly and then go back and
set the focus on a specific
area of the picture in editing,
using special software tailored to the camera’s unique
Lytro uses a microlens array that fits in front of the
camera’s sensor. Light hits each patch of the sensor
from multiple directions when taking the shot. The
camera then records this directional information, and
from the image file converts it into a discernable subject.
In comparison, conventional digital cameras capture
in-focus images using light that hits the sensor from
The light field camera makes a 3D map of whatever
it photographs. The photographer then uses the map
file to select which aspect of the picture to bring into
focus within the depth of field range and which area
In addition, Lytro has said it expects future software
upgrades to enable cameras
using its technology
to create 3D images with a
For 3D photographs,
light field cameras can tell
the difference between the
image captured by the left
side and the right side of
the sensor, to offer a subtle
stereo image effect.
The Lytro camera looks
like an elongated box, measuring
4.4 inches long and 1.6 inches square. Its F2
lens is positioned at one end and an LCD touchscreen
display is positioned on the other end.
Power and shutter buttons are located along the
sides, as is a USB port, and there is a touch-sensitive
strip that controls the 8x zoom function.
Lytro offers three models of the camera, including
separate electric blue- and graphite-colored versions
containing 8GB of built-in memory each, and a third
“red hot” ($499) model offering 16GB of memory.
The cameras are slated to ship to retailers in the first
quarter of 2012, but consumers can purchase one now
directly through the Lytro website.