Refocusing the Light Field

June 24, 2011 at 9:58 am (photography, technology, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Imagine being able to truly refocus your pictures after they have been taken. Imagine a day when you never have to complain that the auto focus captured the wrong part of a picture. Imagine a single image where everything is simultaneously in focus and out of focus. You probably won’t have to image for much longer.

Mountain View, California based Lytro is claiming to refocus the photography market with cutting edge light field technology. This new technology captures the entire light field upon snapping a photo allowing the photographer or viewer to manipulate the focus and other dynamics of the photo after the picture has been taken.

I’ll be interested to see how the technology progresses and what the consumer response is. The interactive samples that they have on the website are fun to play with, but I see a little bit of odd artifacting between the in focus parts of the images and the bokeh. This is something that the everyday consumer may not mind or even notice, but for professional applications it could be a problem. I’m sure this is an issue that will be worked out in subsequent generations of the technology.

I definitely see potential for this technology not only in the civilian market, but also in the military, intelligence, and police sectors. Nearly every CSI type of cop show has the squints manipulate some ridiculously out-of-focus or damaged photo into some crystal clear image. Being a design professional with nearly 8 years of professional digital image manipulation experience I used to scoff at the ability to enhance a photo that much with so little information, but now it seems possible in the not so distant future. If security and surveillance systems were outfitted with the technology they could really analyze the subject matter to it’s fullest. The technology of this camera may even go a step further from the omni-focus video cameras introduced last year.

This will be an interesting camera system to watch. I can guarantee I won’t be trading in my Nikon anytime soon, but I might pick up a Lytro lens if one comes out with a Nikon mount.

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He Shoots. He Projects?! – Nikon CoolPix S1000pj

September 4, 2009 at 3:11 pm (Design, News, photography) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Do you like being able to show off your photos immediately to your friends? Are you a creative professional who needs to go from inspiration to presentation seamlessly? Nikon might be able to help.

The new Nikon Coolpix s1000pj is both a camera and a projector! That’s right you can show off your photos (and video) instantly with this new Compact Digital Camera – the projected image size ranges from 5” to 40”! Not only does it function as a camera and projector, but it also comes packed with the features you’ve come to expect from Nikon.

Here’s a breakdown of some key features within the camera:

  • 12.1 Megapixels
  • 5x Wide-angle Zoom-Nikkor Glass Lens
  • World’s first camera with an ultra-small, built-in projector
  • 5-way VR Image Stabilization System
  • Incredible, Bright 2.7-inch High Resolution LCD
  • Scene Auto Selector
  • Nikon’s Smart Portrait System
  • Quick Retouch
  • 16 Scene Modes
  • Record movies
  • Macro shooting

You can even purchase a projector stand and remote control for easy viewing.

I won’t be abandoning my D90 for this little ditty anytime soon, but this is yet another example of Nikon’s forward thinking in design and innovation. A special thanks to @Tracydesigns for tweeting about it!

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Blending Cameras – From Point & Shoot to DSLR

July 31, 2009 at 5:06 pm (Design, News, photography) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Like the compactness of a point-and-shoot camera, but want the visual punch of a DSLR? In the past we’ve seen point-and-shoots with various attachment options – for example the Sony Cyber-shot  series of point-and-shoot cameras has been offering attachments like a wide angle lens, telephoto lens, photo filter set, and underwater camera case for years – but none have offered the true versatility of a real DSLR.

The gap between these two realms is shrinking fast. Some define the new kid on the digital photo block as a “hybrid camera,” while others call it a “power point-and-shoot”. So what makes this new category of camera so special? Compared to traditional P&S cameras these new cameras allow for better ISO (light sensitivity), smaller lens aperture (the amount of light allowed into the lens), and some even boast compatibility with the Micro Four Thirds System (allowing for changeable lenses). Olympus recently released a statement about the E-P1 camera saying it is: “…The world’s smallest 12.3-megapixel interchangeable lens system camera that blends the high-quality still images of a DSLR with HD video, stereo Linear PCM audio recording and In-Camera Creativity within an ultra-portable body.”

These cameras are smaller and lighter than their DSLR counterparts, mainly due to the camera’s lack of a mirror box in favor of an ultra-precise electronic viewfinder. The cameras are expected to provide point-and-shoot enthusiasts with control over depth of field and other areas lacking from the P&S platform while maintaining the flexibility of a small camera. In fact the CEO of Samsung Digital Imaging Company, Sang-jin Park, said: “We estimate that the hybrid digital camera market will be over 20 percent of the global digital still-camera market by 2012.”

We’ll see some versions of the new high-end point-and-shoots on the market later this year and they are expected to be in the $600+ price range. Companies planning to be in the first wave of power point-and-shoot manufacturers include: Panasonic, Samsung, Olympus, Leica, and Sigma. It will be interesting to see where this new genre takes us.

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