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The end of focus?

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  1. #11

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    Digital point and shoot cameras and replaced film point and shoot cameras. Digital SLRs have replaced SLR cameras.

    This is not a film -v- digital debate. Focussing is key to good composition. It is critical for the photo to be able to tell its story. What this does is encourage the scattergun approach of most digital photogaphers these says, i.e. "If I take a hundred shots of the same subject, one is bound to be good". One photo taken can be viewed and interpreted a hundred different ways with this. It discourages the photographer to consider the subject and decide on what he wants the story to be. For me, it takes away a little bit of the artistry and magic.

    I don't know who this is marketed for, that is all. P+S photographers won't really care. Those more serious like me will probably laugh it off as a cheap gimmick. If I miss a shot due to poor focussing, that's my fault as a poor photographer (and I have missed more than I care to remember). It spurs me on to be more in control of the wonderful cameras I have.

    If you do like this innovation, can I ask you to do one thing? On your digital SLR, stick it in manual mode and spend a day taking a maximum of twelve photos. See how many turn out well. I can say for sure that I wouldn't get 12 perfect expsoures and perfectly focussed shots. If you also don't get perfect results, why not work on the key components to photography - shutter speed, aperture, focus, composition...

    Times change, bdw, you are right, but for my money, the innovations over the past ten years have not produced any better photographers than in the last 100.

    vinyljunky and dumbdonkey like this.

  2. #12

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    Thanx vinyljunky.
    The 'science' seems to be an big advance in photography in terms of capturing a field of light (including its vectors).
    Really too early to see the way it all plays out in terms of everyday photography as not only the photographer can select focus - but also the viewer - no application in print - but added interest for internet.
    It can be sold as a 'feature' of a P&S camera, but the lenses might be too bulky and very expensive - effectively killing that market.
    For professionals, I see advantages, especially in high speed sport photography.
    Also, it would seem to me they could later develop software that would render single shots in which all objects are in focus. I'm sure the big brands are looking closely at this.

    Samples here (click on area of pix to change focus):
    Picture Gallery | Lytro


  3. #13

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    I also see advantages. I would assume that the speed of taking photos would be enhanced greatly allowing for quick photos rather than slow auto focus features.

    We have all lost our ability to manual focus in the last 10-15 years, especially for the non enthusiasts.

    edit: actually, just having a quick play with that feature it looks pretty cool and you can get multiple photos with the one shot.

    Last edited by virago; 23-06-2011 at 10:21 AM.

  4. #14

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    Good point, TigerSun. I didn't think about the fact that the viewer can choose their focus as well. Essentially it's any number of pictures in one, depending on how you decide to view it. That does bring up a whole new argument of whether a photograph is from the photographers perspective or not, but will leave that for another thread.

    From the article, it doesn't appear that Lytro is going to license the technology - they are looking at developing their own camera. That might be the deciding factor here - we don't know how good they are at making cameras.


  5. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by luckycat
    Focussing is key to good composition.
    Well to put it more accurately, focussing (and its existing limitations) is a tool to good composition. Much of what you say is true in terms of creativity and control, but this new technology might offer an improved tool and more control. I think you have to put aside the articles unfortunate headline and examine the basic technologial advance in the way it captures light and light information (have a look at his dissertation). There are possibilities about this method of light capture that might have greater significance than the launch of their first camera.

  6. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by vinyljunky
    From the article, it doesn't appear that Lytro is going to license the technology - they are looking at developing their own camera. That might be the deciding factor here - we don't know how good they are at making cameras.
    I didn't pick that up... if that's true I think that's a huge mistake (remember polaroid?).
    The advance here is the science & methodolgy - not their little camera. Too bad.

  7. #17

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    I haven't read the dissertation but I will Tigersun.

    It is interesting from the perspective of the viewer, but that's not for me. Maybe I am selfish but I want to project what I see in a photo. :-)

    Virago - I don't see how it would speed the process up because you'll take more time post processing (either in camera or on your computer) than a conventional p+s autofocussing.


  8. #18

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    An interesting thing I just noticed is that there's essentially just 2 planes of focus - foreground and background. If you look at the example in the story and you click on the fence, the background goes out of focus (as expected). Click on the girl serving (extreme left), and the fence goes out of focus (again, as expected).

    However, if you click on any other point in the background, say for example the girl in the no. 9 jersey closest to the net, the focus stays the same! Click on the ceiling lights or the net itself, and nothing changes.

    Tried this with the other sample pictures as well, and it's pretty much the same.


  9. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by vinyljunky
    An interesting thing I just noticed is that there's essentially just 2 planes of focus - foreground and background. If you look at the example in the story and you click on the fence, the background goes out of focus (as expected). Click on the girl serving (extreme left), and the fence goes out of focus (again, as expected).

    However, if you click on any other point in the background, say for example the girl in the no. 9 jersey closest to the net, the focus stays the same! Click on the ceiling lights or the net itself, and nothing changes.

    Tried this with the other sample pictures as well, and it's pretty much the same.
    I thought so at first too, but if you check carefully other pictures, such as the 4 girls, you will see there are intermediary focus changes too. I suspect that the levels are a factor of the 'reading' software, and like a manual camera, focus changes little from 30' to infinity.

    Picture Gallery | Lytro
    Last edited by TigerSun; 23-06-2011 at 03:13 PM.

  10. #20

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    This technology is fantastic !



    The Lytro camera captures the entire light field, all of the light travelling in every dimension. Seriously clever was one of the photos on their website of a row of vacuum tubed filament numerals, how you could change the position of focus at either end of the frame and zoom in on each filament, with razor sharpness...

    Check the photo out below, from their link > Picture Gallery | Lytro and have a play around with it with your mouse cursor at different positions, I can really see major advantages with this.







    This is going to be very interesting, I am very keen on getting into this if prices are reasonable and the size/weight of the camera itself isn't bulky. A point and shoot that can produce image quality like this will seriously muller all the bulky gear fan bois....

    Lytro rocks and a welcome photographic development ... I want one lol bad....
    Last edited by Skyhook; 23-06-2011 at 03:47 PM.

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