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Technology in photography   Measuring the angle of light as it comes through

Spectacular Lytro Illum stereoscopic 3D camera

Lytro IllumMost cameras capture light rays while creating photos but the Lytro Illum camera records the direction of these rays, generating images you can later refocus, change perspective within, or view in 3D.

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Lytro IllumYou can essentially revisit the scene of the photo, meaning you’ll never miss snapping the perfect shot again. The Lytro Illum is a'light field camera that lets you pick the point of focus in your photos after you've taken them and it's some jaw-dropping effects. And at $399.99 it's a steal for everything it offers and effects on your pictures no other camera can do. The point is that Illum doesn’t use a standard sensor.

Lytro IllumAs well as capturing normal image data about color as any other "normal" camera, the Lytro Illum sensor calculates the angle of light as it comes into contact with the sensor. This gives it information about the position of objects within the field of view, letting it map out a 3D model of a photo. Its images aren’t really flat in the way standard photos are. The camera itself consists of a large lens barrel attached to a slanted camera body with a big rubberized grip that allows for conventional handling.

Lytro IllumWhile the Lytro Illum lets you refocus post-shooting, you still need to pick an original focus point just as you would with a normal camera. There are some limits to the number of areas you’ll have access to in post-production. The most familiar approach to shooting is to use the standard AF mode, which lets you use the touchscreen to pick a subject. Or you can use a Lytro button which uses a multi-colored focus peaking effect to show you the various zones you’ll be able to re-focus on.

Lytro IllumThe camera captures proprietary LRF format that holds all the data. Once your LRF files are opened in its editing software, you can pick the area you want in-focus, and fiddle with the depth of field by switching the aperture between f/1 and f/16. You can go even wider than the native aperture of the lens, giving you huge creative control. The effects on offer can be beautiful and you can produce stereoscopic 3D JPS files. The Lytro Illum is the most interesting device we saw in a long time and the only limit when using it is literally your imagination.

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