Taking and making of pictures

There have been a lot of posts around on the new consumer lightfield camera from Lytro – which is impressive: 8X optical zoom with a f/2 aperture and it is a lightfield camera for under USD 400!

Waves within an ocean of glass
Waves within an ocean of glass

And there has been a lot of talk on the new era of photography. Hmmmm… I wouldn’t see it like that. The question is if you take and/or make a picture. If you just take pictures it is simple. That’s a camera for you. Light, best for travel, no more deletable pictures because of a wrong focus. But wait: the specs say the output is comparable with a HD picture, so at best 1080×1080 (Full HD squared) and needs a player.

With the Lytro the act of taking the picture is still with the photographer but the act of making it goes to the beholder. This is new. This is a highly competitive feature against point and shoots. I wonder what the macro features of this camera are. How near can you be to the object? Wouldn’t this be a wonderful method to get pin sharp macros without focus stacking?

This is just the beginning. I remember my first digital camera: 1.4 Megapixel and 2x opical zoom. A great camera. But I still took my 500N with me on holidays because the technology wasn’t there…

So what do you think on taking and making pictures?


2 responses to “Taking and making of pictures”

  1. I agree with your views on the Lytro. A few friends have sent me the news release on the Lytro with the question “your new camera?” and I’ve responded in the negative. While the technology sounds interesting, I don’t know why I’d want to give my viewer control over the focus. Part of my artistic vision is where my focal point sits. Most of my images (and I expect most photographers) wouldn’t really tolerate flexing the focus point. For example, I can’t imagine a portrait needing a flexible focal-plane. This seems like an “isn’t that cool” kind of tech, but not a serious camera.

    BTW, nice image. I imagine you wouldn’t want anyone messing with where you put the focus ;-).

  2. I have to say I agree with you – not to mention the fact that it’s inane to require a flash player for people to be able to view your images and play with them. I’m sure an HTML5 version is in the works, but the fact remains, I don’t know if I want viewers messing with my images!

    However I personally like the idea that you – the artist – can play with your focus after the fact (similar to how you can edit your composition with selective cropping) and then generate a still exactly the way you want. Or a series. Perhaps going forward there’s room for this technology to even allow you to do selective re-lighting of a scene after the fact.

    Having access to such images on a stock basis might also be useful for designers, who might need more control over the images they buy, tailoring them after the purchase.

    And I imagine its potential applications in video are vast; No more rack focusing by hand, marking spots on focus rings, buying bulky gadgets to automate it, etc. You just shoot and then do all your selective DOF stuff in post production, This might or might not make editors happy, but I imagine that level of control would appeal to a DP or director.

    I’m not running out to buy one either (though I did get my invite since I signed up early), but I think it’s going to be interesting to see where this goes.

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