Sunday, August 21, 2011

Depth of Field Obsolete?

By the end of 2011 we could see the end of any need to think about depth of field when taking a photograph, in fact of even having to worry about focusing! Incredible as this may seem, it could well be a reality in the next few months.

A company has developed what its calling a 'Light Field Camera' that allows you to refocus your image after you have taken it. Now, throughout the history of photography one basic concept has remained unchanged, despite huge technological leaps forward (from plate photography to film and then to digital) - that of depth of field. Due to the physical constraints of lens technology, its been possible to only focus on part of a scene. The upside to this has been creativity, with the use of depth of field allowing the photographer to draw the viewer's eye into an image and blur other distracting elements. Also, with the use of small apertures we have been able to have greater depth of field for landscapes and the like.

However, most of us have take that 'once in a lifetime' image only to find out later that we got the focus wrong and the image is ruined. Now, that may well be a thing fo the past, with the ability to refocus the image long after we took it. So, what is this 'Light Field Camera' and how does it all work. Is it just a myth and will we really see what may turn out to be the most innovative change ever in photography?

The company behind all this is Lytro and you can read all about the technology on their website. I recommend visiting it because you can see for yourself the benefits of the technology by playing around with several images and adjusting the focus. They describe their technology as 'capturing life in living pictures' and they are not far wrong .

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