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\"light field camera\" - A new era in photography?
Old 11-22-2005, 11:10 AM   #1 (permalink)
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http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,69594,00.html?tw=wn_story_mailer

A prototype camera made by a Stanford University graduate student could
> herald the end of fuzzy, poorly lit photos.
>
> A computer science Ph.D. student at Stanford University has outfitted a
> 16-megapixel camera with a bevy of micro lenses that allows users to
> take photos and later refocus them on a computer using software he
> wrote.
>
> The student, Ren Ng, ran out of patience with taking pictures the
> traditional way -- adjusting the distance between the camera lens and
> sensor or film before snapping each shot. So he created something that
> far surpasses Photoshop. A photograph can be modified after the fact
> even if nothing is in focus, he said.
>
> "We just think it'll lead to better cameras that make it easier to take
> pictures that are in focus and look good," said Ng's adviser, Stanford
> computer science professor Pat Hanrahan.
>
> Ng calls his creation the "light field camera" because of its ability
> to capture the quantity of light moving in all directions in an open
> space. It stems from early-20th-century work on integral photography,
> which experimented with using lens arrays in front of film, and an
> early-1990s plenoptic camera developed at MIT and used for range
> finding. By building upon these ideas, Ng hopes to improve commercial
> cameras' focusing abilities.
>
> Traditionally, light rays filter through a camera's lens and converge
> at one point on film or a digital sensor, then the camera summarizes
> incoming light without capturing much information about where it came
> from. Ng's camera pits about 90,000 micro lenses between the main lens
> and sensor. The mini lenses measure all the rays of incoming light and
> their directions of origin. The software later adds up the rays,
> according to how the picture is being refocused.
>
> The technology could help snap-happy amateurs and professional
> photographers, as well as aid security cameras in capturing sharper
> information.
>
> Turning Ng's invention into a commercial product poses a few
> challenges. First, it works best with expensive high-resolution
> cameras, and when you add the price of Ng's device, the cost could be
> prohibitive (Ng declined to estimate a cost). A photographer could get
> pretty good results by modifying an 8-megapixel camera with Ng's
> invention, but it wouldn't be possible to refocus over as wide a range.
>
>
> On the other hand, the invention could make cameras simpler in some
> ways. A camera equipped with Ng's device wouldn't need the motors that
> focus lenses, so the camera would have fewer moving parts.
>
> Amateurs might embrace the camera, but some professional photographers
> may not, said Ken Light, a photographer and director of the Center for
> Photography at UC Berkeley.
>
> Photojournalists and news photographers, especially, are strict about
> what can be done to an image after it's shot, he said. For some,
> tweaking a photo after the fact, even if only to refocus, might not
> fly, he said.
>
> "Some people might find it over the line," he said, "because it's not
> being done by a person, so to speak -- it's being done by the
> computer."
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Re: \"light field camera\" - A new era in photography?
Old 11-22-2005, 01:59 PM   #2 (permalink)
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[ QUOTE ]

Ng's camera pits about 90,000 micro lenses between the main lens
> and sensor. The mini lenses measure all the rays of incoming light and
> their directions of origin. The software later adds up the rays,
> according to how the picture is being refocused.

[/ QUOTE ]

On one hand, I can't imagine the processing power this must require on the software end. Running "smart sharpen" is almost enough to send me for a nap as things are now.

On the other hand, now many potentially great shots have been messed up because the focus plane is a bit off? How cool would it be to be able to adjust that later.
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Re: \"light field camera\" - A new era in photography?
Old 11-22-2005, 02:41 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I'm sorry, but this kinda stuff freaks me out. How long will it be 'til any GWC can take a photo that looks just as good as the professionals who've worked so hard to get where they are?

Sometimes I think technology can make things too easy.

Sam
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Re: \"light field camera\" - A new era in photography?
Old 11-22-2005, 02:46 PM   #4 (permalink)
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[ QUOTE ]
How long will it be 'til any GWC can take a photo that looks just as good as the professionals who've worked so hard to get where they are?


[/ QUOTE ]

It won't happen. The camera may be able to re-focus, but that won't account for poor composition and lighting. Focus is only one of many requirements for a good photo.
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Re: \"light field camera\" - A new era in photography?
Old 11-22-2005, 04:15 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Well, I guess you're right, but call me completely nutso, but I guess it's just weird to me when things are TOO easy, ya know? If it's so easy to do, I won't feel like I've accomplished anything! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif[/img] But no, you're definitely right about composition and lighting.

Yeah, I know, I'm gonna be the only guy even slightly complaining about this. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/crazy.gif[/img]

Sam
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Re: \"light field camera\" - A new era in photography?
Old 11-23-2005, 08:40 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I truly agree with you.
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Re: \"light field camera\" - A new era in photography?
Old 11-23-2005, 09:14 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Or welcome to the Microsoft/Intel world of photography.
Time to upgrade [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]
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Re: \"light field camera\" - A new era in photography?
Old 11-23-2005, 11:34 AM   #8 (permalink)
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This is the end and the beginning. I had the idea awhile back for a non lensed image sensor camera. I am not smart enough to build it of course but the principle is the same.

You are right and wrong that this is the end of photography as we know it. We will have image sensor devices to gather images and the photographer/artist will be the one who can focus and chose the shot from the information. We already do it a bit with Photoshop and digital and have always done it when we cropped a photo in the lab. This is just the next logical step. Huges amount of raw data that is post processed to be a great image. But data where there is no need for lighting, focus, or lenses because our image sensor and processing power is so great that we can record virtually all the raw data available.

In fact it means the 'photographer' has no excuse. You won't be able to blame the bad lighting, failed strobe, frickin camera, or auto focus. LOL
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Re: \"light field camera\" - A new era in photography?
Old 11-23-2005, 04:06 PM   #9 (permalink)
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This is no more then infinity focus. It can actually turn professional photographers into GWC's and work backwards. If I read things correctly, everything will be in focus.

The time will come when we don't need light at all to take a decent photograph as well. Now more then ever we need to pay attention to style, design, direction, composition, make up, emotion/mood, and lifestyle. Those are the things that seperate GWC's from the leading pro's.

J T

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Re: \"light field camera\" - a new era? not by a long shot...
Old 11-23-2005, 09:23 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Now then, a camera that takes 3 dimensional full color holograms and stores them instantly on a microdisc capable of terrabytes of memory with near atomic level resolution would get my attention!




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