Wired’s “Say Sayonara to Blurry Pics” says that out-of-focus and blurry photographs might be a thing of the past in the future:
Ren 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.
I’m not sure about a camera that does the thinking for me, but one that does all the focusing for me, too? Hmm. I love closeup and macro photography and having control over the background, so I’m a little leery of this.
For the amateur, I’m thrilled if this technology gets going. I’m so tired of enthusiastic people showing me their photographs once they know I’m a photographer, and my eyes ache with the out-of-focus blur. This would make more photographs keepers, though I’m not sure they should be. ;-)
And the idea of giving up my tripod…hmm, I could find a lot of reasons to like this new technology. I’ll just have to wait and see. What about you?