Technology is advancing at an unmitigated rate; there’s no denying that. Long gone are the days when pinhole cameras were held dear by every photography (generally scientists; people had to create a camera to own it back then) enthusiast. Nowadays, a DSLR is the nominal (but prime) gadget required to woo anyone taking pictures, isn’t that correct?
A revolution is always around the corner, for every generation. To serve this purpose, Lytro, a San Francisco based virtual reality company, decided to invent a light field camera and make it commercially available.
What’s A Light Field Camera?
Now, we know that cameras have seen an unprecedented growth (figuratively speaking) in a time span of only 200 years.
Cameras have gone from bulky to petite, and back to bulky but fashionable. They’ve gone from analog to digital, from back to front and even risked extinction as a separate entity because of the evolution of smartphones!
But, there’s one thing a photographer always handles – focusing. No matter how hard the camera tries to take credit
for a great photo, the taker is always lurking behind the lens, controlling what it does.
That’s why a light field camera got developed, to reduce the job of a photographer. A light field camera contains specifically programmed lenses that can “visualize” a particular scene from different aspects (focal length, exposure, position, etc.) and can allow the camera to capture light from different angles, thereby, giving one a “picture perfect”.
Lytro’s VR Using Light Capture
Lytro believes that light field cameras don’t exactly cut the mark of supremacy in optoelectronics. So, their new venture was to create a VR experience of a music concert using an array of light field cameras and naming the system as “Immerge”.
Now, you might question the feasibility of such a project because there is one apparent downfall. A picture taken by a camera is generally 2 dimensional whereas VR requires another dimension.
The principle behind light-field cameras hinders this discrepancy from causing mayhem. The technology is built upon the fact that light is actually an electromagnetic field, that is, it’s travelling every direction in space.
So, the light field camera doesn’t only capture the initial 2D image of the light but also the direction from which it enters the camera, thereby, giving us a third dimension.
Lytro’s Not The Only One
Computational photography (a fancy word for the topic which enables a camera to have a mind of its own) has been a dark horse in the world of academia for some time now, as a researcher from University of Arizona confirms. People from different parts of the world have shown an interest in making and possessing light field cameras.
One such company, called Raytrix, is based in Germany. They’ve created a similar camera but guised it under the name “plenoptic cameras”. But one of the setbacks of releasing such cameras into the market has been demonstrated by the fact that they cost way too much. Raytrix’s cameras range from $2,318 to $21,549.
Lytro claims to work behind ensuring get the price decremented and make the camera a little more economical. Nonetheless, excitement might just play a higher role than stinginess for photographers when see light field cameras in the market.