Yes, Lytro will revolutionize photography but…

Lytro, a startup funded with $51 million in venture capital, was revealed to the public Tuesday and garnered wild enthusiasm from anyone who is even semi-serious about photography.

So what is Lytro? As they state on their site, “Unlike regular digital or film cameras, which can only record a scene in two-dimensions, light field cameras captures all of the light rays traveling in every direction through a scene. This means that some aspects of a picture can be manipulated after the fact. To acquire this additional data, Lytro cameras include an innovative new light field sensor that captures the color, intensity and vector direction of light rays.

Translation: Light field cameras unleash the power of the light, so you don’t have to go through the pain of taking 50 pictures to get that really great one.

Lytro in action: Captured image allows the photographer to click on “Mom” and she’s the focus…or click on the toddler & he’s in focus. All with the same data captured.

Since I haven’t had a lot of time to discover much more than the dozens of articles written about this breakthrough, I saw Lee Stranahan’s post this morning with some great videos like the one below as well as embedded image demos which you can view several of here.

As someone reasonably adept at capturing depth-of-field like this with conventional cameras and lenses, I don’t think I’d throw out my Nikon gear and buy a new camera. If Lytro licenses this technology to Nikon, Canon, Olympus, et al, it will revolutionize photography and be quite interesting, but a startup is going to have a helluva time competing camera-to-camera even with this sort of innovation in focus.

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