Light Field Photos with the Lytro

LytroThe emergence of the digital camera led to a surge in the number of people who could touch up and edit their images once they have been taken, giving the user a bit more wiggle room with their camera set up accuracy. We are pretty good at showing how to do this with our range of Photoshop Training Courses, but here are some things even Photoshop can’t sort out. If the right subject is not in focus, there’s very little you can do about it in Photoshop.

With the newly released Lytro camera this wiggle room is about to become a vast canyon which has the potential to greatly change the way by which photos are taken in the future.

At the moment to get that perfectly balanced shot, where your camera is accurately adjusted to your intended target’s lighting conditions, much time, care and photographic knowledge is required to set up and prepare your camera, hopefully in time to catch that decisive moment.

This concept was conceived by Henri Cartier-Bresson, whose photographic style and popularity means that an original version of his book, The Decisive Moment, can be purchased on Amazon for not so reasonable sum of £1450.

Lytro image

Focus on the front of the image

However, the Lytro offers a new method of capturing that perfect image, but without the set up time that is required at the moment.
Traditional camera sensors capture colour and intensity to make an image, where the point of focus has to be set on a fixed point in the frame.

The Lytro differs from this by using a light field sensor, which also captures the vector direction of light as well as colour and intensity. This means that you get a true representation of how the scene actually appeared and not a static perspective that a regular camera would capture.


Focus on the back of the image

By capturing the light field it allows you to choose your point of focus after you have taken your photo. For example, look at the images to the right. These show the same image but with different points of focus selected; one at the back and the other in the foreground. This focus can be shifted to anywhere in the image, which can turn your quick snaps into professional looking masterpieces in a matter of clicks, creating a “shoot now, focus later” option for photographers.

As well as this fancy new way of capturing images the Lytro is also fitted with a 8x optical zoom lens with constant f/2 aperture, allowing the small and portable camera to capture as much light as possible, while also improving quality of low-light shots.

The images themselves come in a .lfp (light-field picture) format, which while not supported by major image sharing sites as of yet, can be uploaded to the Lytro website and then embedded into other sites, including social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, for friends and enthusiasts to view, share and change the image’s focus.

This technology also has great implications for capturing 3D images and even full light field video, something that the camera can’t do at the moment but is being developed.

So with this living picture capturer now available through Lytro’s website we could well be seeing a shift in the way images are captured, stored and viewed. However, just because this camera gives you so much more flexibility with your image capturing, it doesn’t mean that you will necessarily get photos of the highest quality straight away.

Take a look at this blog post that should give you a few tips to improve your photography skills. Why not book onto one of our Photoshop Courses, we provide beginners and advanced training courses here in Brighton.

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Aaron Charlie

Aaron Charlie is a Creative Design & IT expert at Silicon Beach Training. Connect with Aaron on Google+

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