Snap First, Focus Later with New Digital Camera

Dennis Faas's picture

A Silicon Valley start-up company has released a new camera model that allows a user to snap first and focus later.

Dubbed 'Lytro', the camera is able to capture light data from many different angles using a specialized sensor. The sensor uses what is called a "microlens array", which packs the equivalent of many camera lenses into a very small space.

Images Become Living, Interactive Pictures

The light information captured by the Lytro is significantly more than a conventional camera and is later focused and refined using a computer.

Focal points of the image are navigated using a few mouse clicks, allowing the user to sharpen the image at certain points. (Source: The viewer can literally navigate through the image to get a semblance of different perspectives.

As Lytro founder and chief executive Ren Ng states, "They (the images) become interactive, living pictures."

"Shutter Lag" Removed Altogether

In addition to these innovative features, the camera itself is much faster than its conventional counterparts due to the removal of the "shutter lag" (the time it takes for the autofocus to kick in). These fractions of a second are often the times when an unsuspecting subject moves from their pose.

Furthermore, Lytro cameras are also able to capture 3D images, which can be viewed later on a computer screen with the aid of 3D glasses.

Lytro Set to Rival Camera Giants

Lytro has since decided to remain an independent entity and gamble with their innovation, rather than license their technology to a camera giant like Canon or Nikon. Investors have already put $50 million into the Lytro effort. (Source:

While the company is remaining tight-lipped about the price of the camera, they insist that it will be designed for the consumer market. The first batch of cameras will initially be sold through online retailers like and the Lytro website.

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