With each new iteration of their hardware and software, Lytro is becoming more and more compelling. Perhaps that’s because when they release an update, it’s less of a baby step as it is an Olympic long jump. The Lytro Illum arrived at just about the right time for an Internet age, but has still failed to see major early adoption. However, as each day passes, minds of photographers seem to change from dismissal to curiosity, and with the latest release of their desktop photo editing software, curiosity is bound to get the better of many.
One of the major advantages and selling points of Lytro has been the capability of the light field cameras to capture a scene and allow points of interest to be focused on, after the fact. The new software update really allows for that ability to be exploited with its new feature ‘Focus Spread.’ Using the laws of physics and a dash of witchcraft, the update allows for choosing just where focus starts and stops in an image.
The advantages and applications of this should be immediately recognizeable for the most part. Now you are able to have more than one ‘subject’ in a frame and have them both be in focus, and everything right before and just after be out of focus. Yes, you may say this is possible without the use of a light field camera, and you’d be right – focus stacking using multiple images blended with Photoshop is an option, but it’s a damn sight more time consuming and effort intensive. With Lytro? It’s as easy as using a slider.
What’s also so brilliant about this is that it allows you to have maximum sharpness even with a minimum f number defocused area – say f/16, but keeping the defocused area of f/1. It’s highly impressive, and as Lytro develops, it seems to be gunning to have us all re-think the need for multiple lenses in photography, and the direction the industry as a whole. What use would you get from this? Is Lytro still ahead of its time, or are catching up now?You can get Lytro Dekstop 4.1 from their site.