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Light Field Camera Revolutionizes the Smart Handheld Photography

Published: Nov 06,2013

Compared to traditional cameras, the information of the entering light stored by the light field camera includes not only color (wavelength) and intensity but also the direction of the light. This allows users to reconstruct the three dimensional space of the scene in the post-production process and deliver the visual effect that cannot be achieved by traditional cameras such as digital refocusing and the support of stereoscopic display to present a stereoscopic image.

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A traditional camera relies on a lens to store a clear picture with focus whereas a light field camera uses thousands of miniature lenses to store the scene into several small images with clear focus points. As a result, light field cameras have relatively low image resolutions and the number of photos that can be saved to the memory is also relatively few.

In the future, if the volume of a light field sensor can be shrunk further and its image resolution can be refined, along with the improvements in image compression, decompression, and post-production performance, the likelihood of the light field technology entering the image capture and display application market is high.

To examine core-technology patents hold by three major players using HHI, Senior Analyst David Chen at MIC (Market Intelligence and Consulting Institute), an ICT industry research institute based in Taipei, found 71.4% of patents owned by Lytro, Raytrix, and Pelican Imaging had patent originality score over 0.9, representing high correlation between patents hold by key manufacturers and their future values.

Major Light Field Camera Companies

Name of Company

Corporate Characteristics

Lytro

Light field camera branded vendors, microlens array-based light field sensor developers, developers of post-production image processing software

Raytrix

Light field camera branded vendors, microlens array-based light field sensor developers, developers of post-production image processing software

Pelican Imaging

Pinhole array-based light field sensor developers, developers of post-production image processing software

Toshiba

Microlens array-based light field sensor developers, developers of post-production image processing software

Adobe Systems

Developers of post-production image processing software, microlens array-based light field sensor developers

ITRI

Light field camera research body (Electronics and Optoelectronics Research Laboratories)

Source: respective companies, compiled by MIC, October 2013

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