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The end of focus?

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  1. #1

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    The end of focus?

    A Camera That Couldn’t Care Less About Focus: Introducing Lytro

    The camera is different from those on the market in that it doesn't need to focus, you can adjust the focus after taking the picture.

    Frankly, I'm not impressed. I don't think any photographer worth his salt would not want to focus, but I guess this is targetted at mainly the point-and-shoot market.
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  2. #2

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    Interesting. I would love to know the mechanics behind this. Presumably the lens is like a barrel.

    This will obviously not be for the purist photographers but for the point and shoot photographers. I do think they have missed a trick though. Most P+S photographers don't do post-processing and on this basis, I am unsure of how popular this will be to its target market.

    If you have an image which contains enough data to focus on any part of the image, that will involve combining a large number of "normal" photos. If the file size is comparable to normal photos currently being produced, then quality is going to seriously suffer.

    Last edited by luckycat; 23-06-2011 at 09:08 AM.

  3. #3

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    That's what I thought. It seems a great idea in theory, but the bulk of the P+S market is teenagers taking "kawaii" pictures or vacationers. I doubt they'll have the inclination to do a whole lot of post-processing in order to get something a P+S provides immediately.


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    yeah...Adobe has been in the works for some time on their own version of this too, using a special add-on lens and some fancy software. i can not wait. it will really revolutionize the camera experience, for better or worse.


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    excusing the quality comment, as there is not enough details (pun intended) on that and in my head im thinking similar to gigapixel type photos.

    but assuming quality is not an issue, why wouldn't "any photographer worth his salt" care about this? No matter how skilled of a photographer you are, sometimes you miss that perfect focus due to various reasons. Or perhaps during your edits you realize it would have been so much better if focus was adjusted slightly.

    a good photograph still requires a skilled photographer with an eye for composition, but this just helps make the capturing job one step easier to achieve what that photographer is seeing in his mind.

    Last edited by BenderBends; 23-06-2011 at 09:22 AM.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by vinyljunky:
    Frankly, I'm not impressed. I don't think any photographer worth his salt would not want to focus
    10 or so years ago, people were saying:

    Frankly, I'm not impressed. I don't think any photographer worth his salt would use a digital camera
    Then all of a sudden Kodak and Fuji died almost overnight.

    Times change.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by BenderBends:
    a good photograph still requires a skilled photographer with an eye for composition, but this just helps make the capturing job one step easier to achieve what that photographer is seeing in his mind.
    I agree that composition is one of the most important aspects of a photo. However (personally speaking), I like full control over every aspect of my camera - it's imperative towards me achieving a good picture. Focusing is both an art and science, I would never hand it over to a piece of software.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by bdw:
    Then all of a sudden Kodak and Fuji died almost overnight.

    Times change.
    Well, not so long ago Betamax was the next best thing. Let's not forget 8 track tapes. Or MiniDiscs. Even more recently, HD DVD. And the jury's still out on 3D TV.

    For every one technological "breakthrough" that makes it, there are others that don't.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by vinyljunky:
    That's what I thought. It seems a great idea in theory, but the bulk of the P+S market is teenagers taking "kawaii" pictures or vacationers. I doubt they'll have the inclination to do a whole lot of post-processing in order to get something a P+S provides immediately.
    Presumably there's no reason once you establish the system that you couldn't have automatic, in-camera post processing for focus just as you do for sharpening, colour saturation etc. I.e. the in-camera software would select a suggested focus just like auto-focus on the lens does now so you don't have to post process, but you would have the option to adjust focus afterwards if you wanted to.

    For 'photographers' there's also presumably no reason why they couldn't allow the photographer to 'focus' in camera whilst shooting through software either using focusing points or manually, again just like they would with a lens but software controlled. This would set a focus point in the file but you could adjust it afterward in post if necessary.

    So basically you could have 'point and shoot' and 'pro' cameras working in much the same way as they do now but with the software doing the focusing work instead of the lens and the option to adjust focus afterwards in post. Depends on trade-offs with other quality considerations, speed of 'virtual focus', workflow and how the costs work whether it's worth it for this I guess.

    Of course there are implications for metering and exposure if there's no focus point but presumably they can put software based metering in too.
    Last edited by dipper; 23-06-2011 at 09:47 AM.

  10. #10

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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.

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