Light field company Lytro has announced a new digital camera and software platform which it says should "redefine the way we portray the world around us".
Dubbed the Lytro Illum, the new camera is capable of capturing what the company refers to as “living pictures”, although to me and you that means 3D pictures which can later be manipulated.
The original Lytro camera was an interesting idea, but the new Lytro Illum steps things up to the next level, offering a "40-megaray sensor" as well as more traditional features, like a constant f/2.0 aperture across its 8x (30-250mm) zoom lens range.
Light field cameras don't capture an image in the same way that a conventional sensor does, instead the camera uses an array of tiny lenses to collect information about the scene in a way that isn't possible with a normal camera. This allows for the image to be manipulated on a computer later.
In this way, it's possible to change the perspective of a photo, as well as re-focus images, to blur the foreground or background depending on what you want in your finished photos.
On the downside, to do this you need special software, and images can only be shared with others using a special embeddable player on the internet. That said, images can be flattened into a JPG file once you're happy with them.
Although it's not easy to compare a "megaray" to a "megapixel" the flat output files from the Lytro Illum should come in at about 5-megapixels.
While still a long way off a modern SLR, the applications for light field cameras are different, and one shouldn't buy one to replace a traditional camera.
The Lytro Illum release date has been set for July this year, and will cost $1,599, which converts to about £950 at today's rate.
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