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.
Every now and then a new technology comes that threatens to shake the existing paradigm of how photography is done. Mirrorless has done this to a certain extent, removing a significant element form the Camera’s body. But an even bigger step would be the move to computational photography. This is where several small optical and electrical elements use an algorithm to create a photo. Lytro, of course, was a pioneer in that field, but failing to deliver I am sure many are now skeptical about the place such technologies have in the photography market.
Today, Light announced their new camera – L16 – which is claimed to deliver DSLR quality image with a smartphone form factor. The camera boasts 16 lenses of 3 focal lengths which deliver an astounding 52 megapixel image. Depth of field (or bokeh) will be set in post production.