Mashable’s posted a demo of the Lytro light field camera, which will allow even the worst photographers to take amazing photographs. To me, it might be the single greatest advancement to photography since the camera itself.
Lytro’s technology allows you to focus on everything at once, then change focus later. Because it records the light field instead of the picture, it’s simple to switch between 2D and 3D. To see the 3D, you need anaglyph glasses, the kind you might have worn when you saw Shrek or Avatar. But you can view 3D photos without glasses on an HTC EVO 3D phone or anything that renders 3D.
The science behind the camera is about how the camera gathers light, or more specifically light fields — the amount of light traveling in every direction through every point in space. Conventional cameras can’t record them. Instead, they simply add up all the light rays and record them as a single amount of light.
While the technology isn’t new, the camera’s portability is. It’s expected to be the size of a regular point and shoot, will create a file about as big as a typical 2D camera’s, and although it creates a proprietary file type, images can be saved to jpeg.
Updated with Mashable demo.
Originally posted Aug. 15, 2011.