The Lytro camera, famous for after-the-fact refocussing, is getting a few new features just in time for Christmas, including filters that make it look like Instagram on steroids and a perspective shift ability, which means you can move a still image after the fact now, too.
Perspective shift is the idea of grabbing a light-field image with your mouse (or a tap on a smartphone) and moving up, down, or side-to-side to watch the scene move around your focal point as if it were a 3D scene rather than a 2D image.
It works because the Lytro light field camera records every direction in which light travels in front of the lens in, meaning perspective shift is just a matter of telling the desktop software suite (for Mac and PC) to display this light data on the image. Voilá: perspective shift.
Perspective shift is really powerful when it’s viewed on a 3D-enabled screen. The Lytro software will pull out the image in the foreground while blurring what’s in the background. Super impressive stuff from one of the most futuristic cameras around.
Filters are also rolling out shortly, too. These aren’t just any old Instagram filters though, these filters are built for Lytro cameras. You can apply filters to the whole image, or select just the foreground or background of an image. That’s normally something you’d have to use Photoshop masking and layers for.
The filters also work with perspective shift, so if you choose a film noir filter, for example, your filter will change as you move around the image.
Both the perspective shift and the filters will work when the photos are shared to Facebook, Twitter and Google+, too, so your friends can refocus and shift your images on their own Facebook walls, for example.
The most interesting thing about these new features is that they apply retroactively to any Lytro camera and any Lytro photo. The Lytro camera captures so much light-field data that it has no use for just yet. Who knows what we’ll see from Lytro next. These changes will roll-out in the form of a desktop software update for both Mac and PC on December 4.