Image: Lytro

The future of the camera is here, and it allows you to shoot now, focus later.

Mountain View, Calif.-based startup Lytro unveiled its new light-field camera Wednesday to much fanfare, even making waves at the AllThingsD conference in Hong Kong.

Enter Camera 3.0.

“Camera 1.0 was film. Camera 2.0 was digital,” said Ng, reported CNET. “3.0 is a light-field camera that opens all these new possibilities for your picture taking.”

Image: Lytro

With these new cameras, get ready to learn at least one new term. We’re no longer talking about megapixels. We’re dealing with megarays here. Lytro’s light-field cameras gather 11 megarays, or million rays of light at each shot. But this is an entirely new concept and right now, most people have little idea what this translates to. Still, the amount of information captured is amazing. In addition to the focus-later feature, the camera captures depth information, meaning photos taken can be viewed in 3D. But viewing them will require an upgrade of the computer software, currently available only for Apple machines.

Image: Lytro

The first thing you’ll notice about Camera 3.0 is its shape. It’s an elongated box measuring 4.4 inches long and 1.6 inches square. At less than eight ounces, the camera on one end features an 8x optical zoom lens with f2 aperture while the other contains a vibrant LCD touchscreen display. On the sides, there is a USB port, buttons for power and shutter, and a touch-sensitive strip used for zoom.

These cameras are chic too. The 8-gigabyte cameras that can hold 350 photos come in electric blue and graphic, selling for $399. The 16-gigabyte camera that can hold 750 images comes in red hot for $499. All are sold exclusively on Lytro’s website.

Image: Lytro

The ability to take photos now and focus later allows photographers to shoot without worrying about missing the shot. Here’s how it works, from CNET:

Conventional digital cameras use lenses to focus a subject so it’s sharp on the image sensor. That means that for an in-focus part of the image, light from only one direction reaches the sensor. For light-field photography, though, light from multiple directions hits each patch of the sensor; the camera records this directional information, and after-the-shot computing converts it into something a human eye can understand.



The above interactive gallery from Lytro allows you to see instantly the focus shifting based on the part of the image you click. You can also see a demonstration in the video below.


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