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Lytro says future of smartphone photography is about more than just refocusing

News by Andrew Kameka on Monday June 16, 2014.

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Lytro is best known for its quirky light-field cameras that refocus photos after an image is taken, a technology that several smartphone makers like Nokia, Samsung, and HTC have sought to reproduce. Lytro plans to become more directly involved in bringing its technology to smartphones, and once it does, things will be about much more than changing the focus.

In an interview with Business Insider, Lytro CEO Jason Rosenthal promises that Lytro brings a "fundamental new technology in photography." Its cameras are unique in that they capture light from various directions faster than conventional cameras, which enable photos that can be refocused later or look better when taken in low-light situations. Nokia, HTC, and Samsung have used software tricks, and in HTC's case a second camera with depth sensors, in order to replicate the effects, but Lytro plans come to smartphones at some point, though exactly when is unclear.

Rosenthal says that when light-field technology finally makes its way to smartphones, in 2 to 3 years, it will increase performance and reduce costs.

"Going forward we'll be able to do things like make smartphones thinner, lighter, and cheaper by reducing the size of the camera module in smartphones, while driving up resolution of the picture. We'll be able to make shots on smartphones work in 3-D, and we'll over time have that capability for video. So I guess that's a long- winded way of saying there's just a ton more that light field technology can do in cameras of every form factor than simply refocusing."

According to Rosenthal, the toughest parts of good photography is focus and lighting. Lytro's technology could potentially remove that as an issue because it captures as much information on a scene as possible and then uses software to deal with those two features. Lytro is currently working on developing its technology for Android phones, but there's nothing preventing it from working on iOS or Windows Phone either. It's merely a matter of getting companies on board to participate. If the refocusing trend of the past year is any sign of what's to come, it shouldn't be difficult to gain support.

source: Business Insider

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Andrew Kameka
Andrew is based in Miami, Florida.

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