A new image-capturing device introduced Wednesday by a group of Stanford University-educated tech-heads changes everything we know about taking pictures.

The photographer using a Lytro camera focuses the shot after taking the picture, not before.

Ever since Louis Daguerre began taking pictures by focusing a beam of light on a receptive surface, cameras have behaved like our own eyes, capturing a unified image in a moment of time.

Instead of capturing a single image, the Lytro camera records 11 million light rays, which translate into light, colour and depth in the viewfinder’s range. A powerful processor, placed behind the viewing screen, embeds that information into what Lytro developers call a “living image.”


Whoever is looking at the picture can refocus elements within that image to highlight whatever they want to see. Coming soon is the ability to view in 3D.

Lytro is taking preorders on the device for $399 US, with shipping promised in early 2012. Canadians need to be patient, because orders can only come from within the United States.

Blue and black models come with 8GB of storage, enough for 350 images. For $100 US more, buyers will get a red camera with 16GB of storage. The images use a proprietary file format that is not compatible with current photo-manipulation software.

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