Sunday, 8 September 2013

Lytro Camera; many points of focus


The Lytro is an interesting camera on many planes.  Unlike conventional cameras the Lytro doesn't have a single point of focus but many.  It captures the ‘entire light field’.  As a photographer i find new inventions and ways of looking at objects interesting but i am struggling to see a purpose for this camera other than a fun gimmick.

Lytro Camera
As with most new gadgets and games it is fun to play with them, pressing all the buttons to make it perform for us.  After this initial frivolity has occurred the object becomes tiresome.  I found this with in two pictures on the Lytro website.  The focus point could be changed, then I was able to alter the view point slightly with the background seeming able to dance behind the main subject.  Great.  Now what?

When a photographer takes a photograph they are usually capable of selecting their own focus point.  This forms part of the images composition and inform the viewer where to focus their attention.  If they are able to alter the focus point then i have little control of how the image is portrayed.  With newer lenses and cameras being the developed, rumours of Pelican and Nokia’s 16 array lens is again interesting and may have some practical uses.  Are we not add more gadgets to a craft that is already become deskilled.  Do we really need and want cameras that compose, focus, expose and tell us at which point to take the photograph, or chose some from the 100 it has taken for you?  The fun in photography is learning to achieve this yourself.  The pleasure you receive from being able to expose correctly, then focus accurately is amazing, then to able to produce decent compositions is just superb. Other people start liking you pictures then. You made that image happen, no one else, they were your decisions.

Inside Lytro Camera
Looking at some of the reviews and this camera does have it’s downsides, DPReview mention the lack of controls, the small screen and awkward shape.  The image is not the best quality either.  With new designs and product alterations the first incarnations are often lacking.  If this camera does take off and new companies design their own models the quality and functionality will improve. This happened when phones started to include low resolution cameras and the internet!
Right now it doesn’t seem to have an application, we need to find a problem for it to solve.  What these cameras need are lots of people to play with them and find a use.  Until the advent of social media, 3G, mobile Wifi the camera and internet were useless on phones, now it is all people really use them for.  Multi array lens camera need someone to develop a platform for them. One aspect is teaching, especially demonstrations were it would be handy to look at different aspects of an image without changing slides or making videos.  
Teaching students surgery for example, or even crash investigations.  Who knows?

James Wilson - V&A, talks about looking at your business and leadership from many points of view using the Lytro camera and the Posters as an metaphor. The film is made for the VLRC at Ashridge.

Many View Points; Lytro Camera
James Wilson - V&A