Lytro Company, founded by Ren Ng from Stanford University, is commercializing plenoptic photography. It’s a photo of the light field when matrix with the help of micro lens system fixes not a 2D image but full information of the scene light field — you can focus such images right after the shooting, and photos taken by this camera allow you to get a stereo image. The first Lytro camera looked more like a cute toy and shots quality was not that high. After rendering it into a 2D image its resolution was just a few mega pixels. The second generation camera, named Lytro Illym, looks much more like a real camera in both appearance and features. The size of the sensor has been increased from 1⁄3” to 1”, images resolution is 40 Megaray (it’s the measurement for plenoptic cameras) compared to 11 in the first Lytro. 2D images of Lytro Illym can now have the resolution of up to 4 MP; focus accuracy has also proportionally risen. Zoom lens takes the most part of the camera, with equivalent focal distance 30-250 mm and constant F2 aperture. The camera has a 4’’ swivel viewfinder touch screen with a resolution of 800х480. Its retail price is USD 1,600. The first shipments are expected in July 2014.
The camera’s weight is 2.07 lbs. and its dimensions are 86x145x166 mm. The minimum shutter speed is 1⁄4000 sec, macro photography is possible. The lens consists of 13 optic elements. According to CEO of Lytro Jason Rosenthal, the unique pleontic camera sensor allows not only focusing the shots after the shooting and getting a 3D image, but also simplifies fixes of lens aberrations with the help of the installed software.
In theory, light-field cameras can have serious advantages over ordinary ones. Besides the already mentioned post focusing and stereo images, they can operate much faster than ordinary cameras as they don’t need to waste time on focusing. And possibility of refocusing minimizes problems with the low depth with max open aperture, which can be an advantage in poor lighting. The developers of the Lytro camera think that plenoptic cameras can prospectively make the same revolution as digital ones did.
P.S. To run the Illum Light Field Camera, Lytro chose a customized version of Google’s Android operating system.