The photo above isn’t just any photo. It was taken with Lytro, the first consumer light-field camera, and when you click on different parts of the photo, it will refocus. For instance, click on the guitar fret and it will come into focus; click on the lovely girl in the background and she will be in focus.
That ability to refocus isn’t new — you’ve been able to do that with the Lytro since it came out in March — but what is new is the ability to shift the perspective or angle of the photo. Hold down your mouse on the guitar and drag it around to change the perspective of the photo.
The new feature, called Perspective Shift, is being announced today and will come as an update to anyone who has the Lytro software for Macs or PCs. Taking photos that can be refocused or re-angled after the fact requires the $399 Lytro camera. This particular update just involves the computer software that goes with it, not the hardware of the camera itself. And that’s something that’s actually pretty revolutionary in the business of cameras.
“Interactive living pictures and software has been as big and important for us as the camera itself,” Ren Ng, the founder and CEO of Lytro, told ABC News when he demoed the new feature. The company has been able to keep adding features to the camera because of the special mix of hardware and software inside.
But the software update, which will be released early next month, will bring another popular photography feature — filters. After you take a photo you will be able to apply new filters in the software. They aren’t just like the filters in Instagram — they are interactive. For instance, in the photo below, which uses Lytro’s “crayon” filter, the in-focus object can be in color while the out of focus part of the photo can be changed to black and white. Click around and you’ll see what we’re talking about.
Lytro is also adding some new retail partners ahead of the holidays. You will be able to get the camera from Amazon.com, Bestbuy.com, and select Target retail locations. The company is now able to ship the camera in two days to customers too. Ng wouldn’t comment on the sales numbers since launch, but did say that most users who have bought the camera have downloaded the software updates.
These new software updates will be available on Dec. 4 for free. But even if you don’t have the camera you can enjoy refocusing and moving around the photos in this post and on Lytro’s website.