Camera start up Lytro announced today they have developed a new technology that allows you to focus your shots after the image is taken. Please take the time to read the article, because the way this is being presented is significant in terms of plain old fashion salesmanship/showmanship.

Lytro’s New Post Focusing Camera

My initial reaction to this claim was one of suspicion, after reading the article I am even more so. If they have truly proprietary hardware, the CEO could have gone a little deeper in explaining why it is different.

This much I do know:
1. It’s impossible to take a truly out of focus JPEG image and sharpen it in post.
2. It is very easy to take a completely focused picture and select what you want blurry in post, using a filter.

It sounds like there is some new hardware technology being developed with this camera system, but its as if the camera is essentially taking an image with a very deep DOF, and then, I assume using their proprietary software, you “Select where you want to focus” when actually, you are just selecting what you want blurry. If this is the case, then there is absolutely nothing novel about the results and we can already do it.

Some readers will ask: “How in the world can you get such a deep DOF that everything is in focus?”
Answer: “Use a very, very small sensor size.”

The size of the media effects DOF. If the sensor is teeny, tiny, this would pretty much explain how this works. Most cell phone cameras have sensors so small and wide, that no focusing is required at all. The article explains that the cameras will be the size of a regular Point and Shoot, also cost about the same, with about the same resolution. More suspicion.

In any event, I will say no one would be more interested in learning about and understanding how the sensor works and how it is different if this is as innovative as they are claiming. Hope to get my hands on one to test and then spread the word!