Lytro might be the company most synonymous with light field photography, but the reality is it’s been around for almost almost 25 years now.
Lytro just announced the first ever Light field virtual reality camera. This is an interesting shift in direction for a company that on one really got what they were doing. While their previous cameras were somewhat gimiky, this new camera may actually have real application in the emerging VR production world.
Immerge, a spherical camera captures light coming from every direction, creating a representation of the world outside the sphere. Unlike other spherical capture devices that we’ve seen, Immerge not only captures an image of its surrounding, but also records the depth information of each object around it.
We’ve seen previous unveilings of post-focusing cameras, such as the Lytro Illum, which allow the user to change the focus of the image after it’s already captured. And, a year ago, Sony even jumped on the bandwagon by acquiring their own patent for similar technology.
Now, according to reports, all Panasonic 4K-compatible cameras released in the next year will have built-in focus adjustment capabilities. Booyah.
I’ve been quietly rooting for Lytro since they introduced their field camera, but the young, innovative camera company has never really been able to raise the kind of interest and momentum needed to make a name for itself as one of the leading camera manufacturers. But, that doesn’t mean the company is ready to give up just yet. Early this week, Lytro made an announcement to their staff that the company has recently secured $50M in new funding to further develop the brand. [Read more…]
Lytro’s one of the few companies out there that are pioneering in what’s called “light field” technology; their light field sensors basically take in massive amounts of data and process them into a small picture that you can interact with. The final result helps achieve a sort of post-focusing effect you’d find in Google Camera’s Lens Blur or the HTC One M8’s double-sensor camera. Back about two months ago, Lytro announced a camera called the Illum – one of the first major steps in making a camera like that reality while keeping the specs a bit up to date.
But right now, the technology’s still in its growing stages. The Illum is a first, but at the same time it’s retaining a hefty price tag of around $1500. It’s needless to say that there’s still a lot left to be done with this technology before it can actually be that profitable. Just recently, Sony took a big step for the future of light field sensors by grabbing their own patent for light field sensors. According to the patent [warning, geeky read], apparently Sony has a way to get past some of the limitations that light field sensors bring to the rest of the technology implemented in. Put that together with the fact that this is Sony we’re talking about, which both has the tech power and the market interest, and you’ve got a pretty promising look at what the future might hold for these new sensors.
Post-production focusing is something that’s gotten a good amount of attention in the past two months, thanks to the new HTC One and Google’s latest Camera update. But those guys weren’t the first to mess with the technology. Two years ago, a company named Lytro introduced the world’s first light-field camera, which allowed the refocusing of pictures after they’ve been shot already. Their first camera, however, was nothing more that a nice gadget with no real use. Today, the company announced their second entry into the game, and it’s absolutely nothing like what they released back in 2012.