New Camera Lets You Change a Photo's Focus at Any Time
If you took photos before digital cameras, you remember the pain of throwing away blurry print after blurry print. Then came LCDs on the back of digital cameras, which let you confirm whether the photo you just took was sharp... as long as the LCD wasn't in bright light and you weren't worried about fine details. If the shot was out of focus, you might be able to snap the scene again... unless the moment had passed.
For the lucky people whose first camera is a Lytro, those scenarios will be inconceivable. Using new technology that sounds like it came out of Harry Potter's world, the Lytro simultaneously captures multiple planes of light with a fixed f/2 lens. That means the resulting digital files contain enough information to enable you to change a photo's focus after you shoot it. After! And more than once! By anyone with the special (free) software!
Sorry for all the exclamation points, but this is the first time in years that the overused tech term "revolutionary" truly fits.
The Lytro measures just 1.61" x 1.61" x 4.41". And you better hope your eyesight's good, because the LCD is only 1.46" across.
Despite its amazing technology, the Lytro is definitely aimed at the casual shooter—no endless tweaking of manual controls here. You can zoom in up to 8x using a slider and set exposure via the tiny touchscreen. There's also a power button and a shutter button, but that's it as far as controls go.
Even if you're a pro, the low prices of the Lytro may tempt you to try it. The most expensive model costs $499 and can store 750 shots on its 16GB internal flash drive. The $399 Lytro stores 350 images.
Lytro files are a proprietary format, .lfp. You'll need a free app to process .lfp files, and right now that software is Mac-only, although Lytro says that a Windows version is in the works.
If the focus-after-the-fact concept is hard to grasp, watch the video below: