The camera market has become a confusing place with the broad shift to digital and growing competition from phones. CNET reports that Lytro, a start-up hoping to break into the field, recently announced a new camera that looks to change one of the fundamental aspects photography: focusing.
Lytro, founded several years ago by Stanford doctoral graduate Ren Ng, introduces a workable model of a long-awaited technology known as light-field photography. This approach differs from traditional photography by gathering light from multiple directions with no need to focus the shot. Using computer algorithms to process the light, these pictures can then be focused after the fact to emphasize any aspect of the picture.
CNET suggests that the company faces a tough challenge beating the dominant players in the market. Given the limitations light-field photography imposes on resolution and the need to focus a picture after the fact, some consumers might be reluctant to adopt the technology. The company faces a particular challenge in that these pictures cannot be conveyed as simple, universal JPEG files and cannot be adjusted on devices like iPads that lack Flash.
Nevertheless, The New York Times notes this is one of the biggest shifts in photography technology in recent memory.
“The big camera makers are mostly polishing existing technology, and we didn’t want to do this in an incremental way,” Ng told The Times.