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Panasonic’s Lightfield System Camera, Nikon to Sony Adapter, and a Trioplan Revival on Today’s Daily Roundup

By Anthony Thurston on July 13th 2015

Welcome to our roundup series where we will hit on several gear news and rumor topics each day. This gives you a chance to get caught up on all of the day’s news and rumors in one place. Make sure to check back daily for the latest gear news, rumors and announcements.

Panasonic Develops Lightfield System Camera


Panasonic, according to the latest rumor buzz, has developed a ‘Lytro-like’ lightfield camera with a very interesting twist. According to the report, this new camera would be different from the Lytro offering in one very major way – it will be a system camera.

This means you will be able to use different lenses, just as you would with your DSLR. There is no word yet on if this new camera will have a new mount of some kind, or if it may use a Micro 4/3 mount. That would likely be a pretty game changing camera if it were able to use existing Micro 4/3 lenses.

No word yet on specs, pricing, or anything like that, other than that the rumors suggest we could see this camera as soon as 2016.

Commlite Nikon G to Sony FE Adapters Nearing Completion


Canon to Sony converts have it easy. You can just buy the camera and use your old Canon lenses until you save up the money to invest in more native Sony glass. Nikon owners, while it is still possible to adapt, are stuck with manual control and manual focus only. But that will soon change.

The item you see pictured (and demoed below) is the upcoming Commlite Nikon G to Sony FE adapter, which is capable to full control and AF with Nikon’s ‘G’ series lenses. In the video,  you will see the adapter (and it is working) though it doesn’t appear to be the fastest thing in the world.

That said, the new adapters are still being developed. So performance will likely increase between now and the official launch. The rumors suggest that this adapter could be done and on the market come late August or early September.

Just a little longer Nikonians, just a little longer…

Trioplan 100mm F/2.8 To Return Thanks to Kickstarter


The Trioplan 100mm F/2.8 is a legendary lens known for its incredible Bokeh bubble effect, affectionately called ‘Soap Bubble Bokeh.’ The classic portrait lens will soon be returning to the market thanks to a highly successful Kickstarter campaign, which has seen Meyer-Optik-Gorlitz earn over $280,000, far surpassing their $50,000 goal.

There are still 12 days left to participate if you want to support the revival of this amazing lens. Get all the details over on Kickstarter, here.

What are your thoughts on today’s roundup? What news/rumors did we miss? What would you like to see covered in future roundups? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think!

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Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Craig Beasley

    Having a light field camera with interchangeable normal lenses would be quite handy because then you could have some control over the aperture. I have a Lytro Illum so I am fully aware that you can set “aperture” in processing, but it is not really aperture you are setting, it is depth of field. Actually, we use aperture for two different things: exposure and depth of field. Light field photography decouples these two. In fact, the Lytro Illum does not have any sort of aperture setting — you shoot everything at a constant f2.0 -which is usually great. You maximize the available light which lets you use a fast shutter speed, which is usually good but not always; you minimize ISO which is usually good but not such a big deal today as the sensors are quite good even at high ISO values and you have one less thing to think about, maybe two. But I miss the ability to control the amount of light with the Illum. A classic technique, especially in macro photography, and under water, in particular, is to stop down to a high f stop, illuminate the subject with a flash and rely on the high f stop to limit the light from the background. This can create a black negative space even in daytime and full lighting situations. No way that I know of to do this with the Illum except maybe to try an ND filter. They supply you one with the illum, but I think it is only 2 f stops. So that is one thing you might like in a light field camera.

    I am sure it is technically possible to use the micro lens type of light field sensor with normal lenses. However, the precise lens characteristics must be known and incorporated into the Lytro Desktop. The Lytro Illum has a standard lens, as far as I know, except it has not aperture control. And there is an auto focus feature on the Illum but it is for picture composition. That obviously has to be backed out to refocus in processing, so it is certainly possible to do the same with a normal lens except it would complicated by having to know the lens characteristics for each f stop seting. I expect that one issue might be ray sampling — if you put a wide angle lens on a light field camera, there are no oblique rays so there is very little difference in a light field image and a standard image in this case.

    This is very interesting — especially since I use a micro 4/rds for underwater. And probably you will be able to get underwater housings if Panasonic bring this out. Woo hoo, looking forward to it. Now, what will be the price tag?

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  2. adam sanford

    Lightfield with standard lenses? How would that work?

    For the ‘decide what your working DOF is later’ magic of a lightfield rig, wouldn’t you need to shoot those lenses at a pillowy soft f/25 or so just to capture everything first?

    I admittedly don’t get this at all. Paging Stan Rogers…

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    • Stan Rogers

      Might not be of much help here, Adam; I haven’t gone through the papers, and the abstracts don’t go into a lot of detail. (Everything interesting requires money or standing at a university that has a subscription.) As I (very vaguely) understand it, it’s more of a holographic sort of thing (probably a very bad analogy)–as long as you can get a good enough idea of where the light was coming from, you can get a good idea of where it would have wound up under various circumstances. There isn’t so much an image captured as the information required to reconstruct the image you would have captured if you were interested in capturing an image. There are some limitations in practice; you need to be within throwing distance of the focus point(s) you eventually want to reach, and I’d imagine that that depth of recoverable field diminishes significantly as the ordinary depth of field of the lens would. You can only capture light from so many angles. Eventually, you’d run into the same problems as trying to use a non-retrofocus wide-angle lens on a digital sensor, like weird colour shifts and vignetting caused by the light coming in too obliquely for the microlenses. I’d imagine that the acceptance angles are somewhat restricted, so your eventual depth of field would be somewhat restricted as well–but you should be able to choose focus anywhere inside those limits. If you’re shooting fast, long and close, that won’t leave you a lot of wiggle room, I don’t think. Then again, I could be so completely wrong that this could follow me into the Internet Hall of Pseudo-intellectual Shame.

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    • adam sanford

      I feel better now. Headache gone.


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    • Dave Haynie

      This one is kind of tricky. The basic idea is that the lightfield camera, also called the plenoptic camera, doesn’t just capture luminance information, but vector information — basically, the directional information behind many, many light rays. Once you have the intensity and direction of a light ray, you can make mathematical predictions about where it will focus, even if the image at the time of recording wasn’t in focus.

      This is mathematically modeled as an array of microlenses sitting well in front of an imaging sensor, and that’s one of the ways to build this. The focus shifting isn’t infinite, since your vector information will be of limited resolution, at least in the real world. There are also trade-offs in the design of these between how good your vectors are versus your amplitude (eg, the usual pixel values)… the better your refocus capability, the worse your effective pixel resolution, for the same sensor array. For example, the Lytro Illum captures what they describe as “40 megarays”, but the effective standard “flat” resolution is 4Mpixels.

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