New Camera Allows Photos to Be Refocused After They Are Taken

Lytro Inc. unveiled plans to sell a new kind of still camera which generates a photo that can be refocused after it has been created. They say the technology will allow benefits including, eliminating focus issues in taking pictures and allowing users to generate 3-D images with one rather than two cameras.

To get a feel for what it does play with the photos below. Click on the images to change the focus.

Wushu guru Rob Dull practices in Golden Gate Park. By Lytro / Eric Cheng

What would an Internet gallery be without a picture of a cat? Here, a portrait of Pixie and Clover. By Lytro / Eric Cheng

By Lytro / Richard Koci Hernandez

Siphoning coffee at Blue Bottle Coffee. By Lytro / Eric Cheng

Shore entry in Monterey Bay, California. By Lytro / Jason Bradley

Can you spot the king? By Lytro / Richard Koci Hernandez

Press Release:

The Journey
Today, I am proud to announce the launch of Lytro and share our plans to bring an amazing new kind of camera to the consumer market.

This journey started for me eight years ago when I was in the PhD program at Stanford University. I loved photography then as I do now, but I was frustrated and puzzled by the apparent limitations of cameras. For example, I remember trying to take photos of Mei-Ahn, the five-year-old daughter of a close friend, but because she was so full of life, it was nearly impossible to capture the fleeting moments of her smile or perfectly focus the light in her eyes.

That experience inspired me to start the research that became my dissertation on light field photography, which had capabilities beyond what I could have ever hoped for. The journey soon accelerated with a full-body plunge into the world of entrepreneurship, with a dream to share this new technology with the world.

Today
I am thrilled to finally draw back the curtain and introduce our new light field camera company, one that will forever change how everyone takes and experiences pictures. Lytro’s company launch is truly the start of a picture revolution.

What began in a lab at Stanford University has transformed into a world-class company, forty-four people strong, sparkling with talent, energy and inspiration. It has taken a lot of hard work, late nights and tireless dedication to get Lytro to this point. I want to thank the entire team for their remarkable contributions, spirit, and camaraderie. I want to especially thank the very first believers: Colvin, Tim and Alex, the original magic engine of the company, and Manu, Charles and Allen for personally doing so much to help build this company. Besides the Lytro team, I want to thank my family, and my fiancé Yi (pictured above) for their continued support, confidence, and love.

We have something special here. Our mission is to change photography forever, making conventional cameras a thing of the past. Humans have always had a fundamental need to share our stories visually, and from cave paintings to digital cameras we have been on a long search for ways to make a better picture. Light field cameras are the next big step in that picture revolution.

The Future
Today is a big day for Lytro, but I believe it is just the beginning of a bright and exciting future. Photographers and casual shooters alike will be able to create and share new living pictures. I believe that as people begin to use light field cameras, we will see an explosion in new kinds of photographic art. It will be another wonderful journey to see how people use light field cameras, see where these new living pictures travel, and discover how each person chooses to take this revolution.

Welcome to Lytro! I hope you’ll follow us on the Lytro Blog, so we can keep you updated about the introduction of our first Lytro camera.

Ren Ng
Founder and CEO of Lytro