Imaging scientist Ren Ng's years of research into capturing "light fields" using increasingly high-resolution digital imaging sensors have finally come to fruition. Ng's company, Lytro, unveiled its first consumer product on Wednesday—a digital camera capable of capturing "living images" that can be infinitely refocused after capture. While the new camera is designed to change the way we capture and share snapshots, the technology has the potential to radically alter how all photographs are made.
The new Lytro camera is a small rectangular tube of aluminum, with an f/2 lens on one end and a small 2" touchscreen on the other. The only controls are a power button, shutter button, and a slider to control the 8x zoom range of its lens. There are no controls for aperture, shutter speed, or focus—because the Lytro doesn't need them. The Lytro is probably the closest thing to "point-and-shoot" photography that has ever existed in the digital era.