The idea of cameras and lenses that let you refocus your photos after shooting has been around for a while. But after Lytro, another one seems to have failed. K|Lens One, a light field lens that captures depth information, has canceled its Kickstarter campaign and it won’t be launched after all.
The whole “light field” thing caused a bit of a buzz a few years back when Lytro started announcing light field cameras. They looked like the kind of futuristic photography tech we’d see in Blade Runner or Minority Report, allowing us to shift focus after the fact and look at a true 3D scene. After shifting their focus from photography to video, killing off their sharing platforms, and ultimately selling out to Google, not much has been said about the tech since.
Now, though, the K|Llens One lens, teased earlier this year by German company K|Lens, is finally about to release on Kickstarter. They say that this is the world’s first light field lens that can be used with regular DSLR and mirrorless cameras – and it works for both stills and video. Designed for full-frame cameras, the lens is a “ground-breaking mix of state-of-the-art lens and software technology” which K|Lens says will open up new worlds of creativity to users.
Although the idea’s been around for a while, it wasn’t until Lytro came along with their whole “this camera lets you refocus in post” talk that the whole Light Field Photography thing really hit the popular consciousness. Now, it’s been around for a little bit, and while Lytro switched from photography to Hollywood, ditched their previous customers and sold out to Google, they weren’t the only player in the game.
The new K|Lens One, which appears to be launching via Kickstarter soon, makes similar claims to those of the Lytro cameras of old, capturing both image and depth information simultaneously in a single image. Except, this isn’t a whole camera system. It’s just a lens and it goes straight onto the camera you already own.
Sony Alpha Rumours just spotted a patent (although they didn’t link to it so we can all have a read) showing a new “light field” lens for the Sony E Mount. Sony teamed up with the folks at Light (of Light L16 fame) just over a year ago with a deal that, at the time, appeared to primarily focus on Light’s multi-camera technology in smartphones.
It seems that this technology might be also coming to Sony mirrorless bodies, though, thanks to a new lens design.
Google, it seems, is acquiring Lytro. Yes, the company that made that crazy light field camera and then got out of photography to move into VR and cinema is being snapped up. In a deal which TechCrunch report to be worth either $40mil or $25mil, depending on who you ask, Google will pick up the company in an “asset sale”. Presumably, this will include the 59 patents related to light-field and imaging technology which Lytro owns.
It’s been a while since Lytro decided to abandon the world of photography and focus on the video solutions. But their latest announcement is another step towards exiting the consumer photography market. As of this month, they are discontinuing their pictures.lytro.com image sharing platform. This means their users won’t be able to share the native refocusable light-field photos online. Also, if your “living” images are embedded somewhere, they won’t be viewable any longer.
The Light L16 is a unique oddity amongst cameras. If you’ve never heard of it before, it uses an array of 16 cameras and lenses to create “DSLR quality in the palm of your hand”. Whether that claim is true or not remains to be seen. But see we will, and quite soon now. First announced in October 2015, Light L16 will enter into its Expanded Beta phase in May, with pre-orders starting to be shipped in July.
Thanks to our friends at Light Rumors, we also get to see the first product images of the final production camera. It’s had a little bit of a redesign from the original shown in 2015, and more closely resembles the prototypes we saw in a video last July.
We first mentioned Lytro’s Immerge virtual reality camera last year. Incorporating their light field technology at its core, it has a very unique appearance resembling something more suited to the set of a sci-fi movie. In the original concept video introducing us to Immerge, the demons shown were mockups.
Now, Lytro have released live action VR footage of the system working, and they’re taking us to the moon. One of the technologies that Lytro showed off with its cinema camera was keying out subjects without the need for a green screen. This is also being applied here to separate the foreground from the background.
Since debuting the Light L16 last October, it’s a product that many have been following with interest. Some see it as an interesting concept that’ll probably end up being vaporware, while others can’t wait to get their hands on it and see what it may hold for the future of photography.
The latest round of announcements from Light show that the L16 is well on its way, and will actually feature a couple of improvements over its initial spec sheet, including more storage and a wider focal range.
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.