Unwrapped: Lytro’s ‘infinite focus’ camera

Tech startup Lytro claims it has introduced “the first major change in photography since photography was invented.”


(Photo: Lytro Camera)

It’s a mighty bold proclamation for a startup to claim it has introduced “the first major change in photography since photography was invented,” but that’s just what Lytro did when it unveiled its camera earlier this year. What makes the Lytro different—aside from its distinct, minimalist cubic design—is its use of light-field technology. The Lytro captures all points of light in the frame and converts them to data (as opposed to the traditional grab of one point of light per scene). So instead of focusing your shot when you shoot, Lytro allows you to snap away and decide what to focus on later, via its software.

Tech specs: Up front is an anodized aluminum barrel, which houses an f/2.0 8x optical zoom lens. The back end is a rubber cube with shutter, zoom and 1.5-inch touchscreen display. Picture resolution is 1080 by 1080, good for 5-by-7-inch prints.

Now in Canada: The Lytro is for sale exclusively at Future Shop, where an 8 GB base model goes for $399, a 16 GB model, $499. A small selection of accessories and cases is also available.

Research to retail: Founder and CEO Ren Ng, 31, first introduced the Lytro concept in his 2006 PhD thesis at Stanford University—named the world’s best doctoral dissertation in computer science that year by the Association for Computing Machinery.

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