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  1. #1
    cliveh's Avatar
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    Lytro Photography

    I was fascinated by this concept and perhaps this is fanciful thinking, but wondered if it would ever be possible to develop a spin off programme that could do a similar or limited job to old photographs with only limited planes of focus.

    http://www.lytro.com/living-pictures.../282?&_suid=47

  2. #2
    nhemann's Avatar
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    while I am certaily no expert on the camera, I have been following these (i'm on the pre-order list for the PC version actually) The camera works by somehow capturing the vector field of the light entering the sensors and then being able to refocus anywhere within the "cube" of information it took. Being that an existing photo is already a plane, I don't think that what you want to do would work. But then I barely understand how the camera works itself, who knows? - would be awful cool if it did though. lol
    "There is no such thing as objective reality in a photograph"

    My flickr and (gasp!) dpug photos - take a look if you like.

  3. #3
    Maris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cliveh View Post
    I was fascinated by this concept and perhaps this is fanciful thinking, but wondered if it would ever be possible to develop a spin off programme that could do a similar or limited job to old photographs with only limited planes of focus.

    http://www.lytro.com/living-pictures.../282?&_suid=47
    Lytro is another computer based way of making pictures that may (or may not) map things in the real world. It could indeed be possible to synthesise "sharp" images from "out of focus" images but basic information theory (can't distil more from less) indicates that any appearance thus gained would be strongly fictional.
    Like all systems that fabricate pictures from data Lytro has nothing to do with photography in its true sense.
    Photography, the word itself, invented and defined by its author Sir John.F.W.Herschel, 14 March 1839 at the Royal Society, Somerset House, London. Quote "...Photography or the application of the Chemical rays of light to the purpose of pictorial representation,..". unquote.

  4. #4
    nhemann's Avatar
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    Hi Maris, its a well trod path (and admittedly off thread) but I can't help it.

    How do you define "photography in its true sense"? I'm here because I am a traditionalist when it comes to photography but neither am I a Luddite (not saying that you are either, btw) Data processing aside - of which I have no clue - if you knew the vector data of all the differential elements of the photo then its a fairly easy jump to the idea that at any given depth from the sensor you would know what virtual focal length it would take to bring that plane into focus - so I am not sure what you mean when you say it may (or may not) map the real world. Short of being manipulated, I would say of course it maps the real world, just as much as one of our silver prints does.

    I think its analogous in some ways to a movie camera, instead of taking many pictures that vary with time, this Lytro camera has the ability to take many pictures that vary with distance. I think its a pretty interesting concept. Am I going to sell off all my trad gear? Heck no - but I'd sure like to give this thing a whirl.

    Thoughts?
    N
    "There is no such thing as objective reality in a photograph"

    My flickr and (gasp!) dpug photos - take a look if you like.

  5. #5
    Newt_on_Swings's Avatar
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    Whats the difference between this, versus a image captured on a small sensor at a small aperture for deep dof, and using current selective focus post software?

    Company sounds like a lot of hype to me.

  6. #6
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    Lytro has the founder's PhD thesis on their website, which explains the process and is worth a quick read[1]. It relies on an array of microlenses in the camera to produce an image on the sensor that you won't really recognise as the scene in question, and then they apply a bunch of maths to extract the scene information at any particular DOF or focus point.

    You can't apply it to an older photograph that wasn't taken with the array of microlenses.

    It's also worth noting that the approach is a tradeoff between planar image resolution and depth resolution. The prototype had a microlens size of 12x12 pixels, which means total image resolution was 144x lower than that of the sensor, in exchange for 12 steps of depth information. There's a reason all the demonstration images on their website are only a couple hundred pixels across and still blurry; it's all the technology can manage.

    I suspect that application of this microlens technology and processing to a large-format image (probably with a scanning back) could yield enough information to make it worthwhile. Of course, the huge sensor means natural DOF is even smaller, so you probably have a commensurately greater resolution-loss factor to obtain the same depth information... but I ain't sure of that.


    [1] in fact, please read and understand it before making uneducated guesses about what they're doing. This really is a new technique that really does work, but it has tradeoffs.

  7. #7
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    It's not hubub.. it's a fundamentally different way to take pictures!

    If you can't belly up to the bar & accept the development of technology as a positive thing, then you're a luddite.

    Like polyglot explains, it's a plenoptic camera and has some analogs to integral imaging with fly's eyes arrays, an idea first proposed by Gabriel Lippmann at the turn of the century (not the more recent one, mind you).

    Maris, your assumption that the information is somehow fictionalized and that it may or may not map things in the real world is wrong. This kind of camera technology is an outgrowth of brilliant analog photography experimenters from over 110 years ago and your berating of non "traditional" analog techniques is an afront to their legacy.

  8. #8
    cliveh's Avatar
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    Lytro Photography

    The original post was not intended to raise debate about its photographic validity, but merely to promote discussion as to whether this type of technology may one day provide a stepping stone to reveal guesses about out of focus areas in historic chemical based prints.

  9. #9
    holmburgers's Avatar
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    Sorry, I think most of the contention was raised by Maris' claim.

    The answer is no, it's impossible. There is no guessing involved; the Lytro camera captures the original 3D scene in a fundamentally different way in the first place. Starting from a 2D print, there's no way to regain that infromation that was never captured in the first place. If there was some way to make sense of out of focus information, it would be of an entirely different nature altogether.

  10. #10
    cliveh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by holmburgers View Post
    Sorry, I think most of the contention was raised by Maris' claim.

    The answer is no, it's impossible. There is no guessing involved; the Lytro camera captures the original 3D scene in a fundamentally different way in the first place. Starting from a 2D print, there's no way to regain that infromation that was never captured in the first place. If there was some way to make sense of out of focus information, it would be of an entirely different nature altogether.
    50 years ago we would have thought mobile phones impossible. I am not suggesting that the Lytro technology provides the solution. However, if a multiple focus depth of picture is possible, is it not possible that some time in the future an inverse concept of this programme could be possible?

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