Shoot now, Focus later

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What would you say if you could shoot your image first and then choose the focus later? Wouldn’t that be a great feature?

It is probably not so useful for P&S cameras since for most P&S cameras, the Depth of Field (DoF) is so great that almost everything is in focus anyway, unless you shoot something close.

For DSLR, the camera sensor is 9 times bigger compare to P&S for DX format and 20 times bigger for FX format. Therefore you can expect the DoF produced by DSLR is much shallower so accurate focusing becomes more relevant. With DSLR, you can still capture almost everything in acceptable focus by setting your focus at the hyperfocal distance. For example, with Nikon 20mm f/2.8 at f/8, the hyperfocal distance is 1.69m. If you set your focus to 1.69m then everything from half of the focus to infinity will be in an acceptable focus i.e. 0.84m – infinity.

Ren Ng, CEO and founder of Lytro, announced Lytro’s new development on Light Field Camera and Photography where you can shoot now and focus later, a technology that captures the entire light field. For more information on how it works, check it out here.

Shoot now and focus later, sounds like an interesting development, but would it become an important aspect when it comes to choosing a camera? Or would other aspects like high ISO performance,  lens and accessories line up, build quality and ergonomic design dictat?

Presumably, you will still need to focus first to see the composition properly in the viewfinder before taking the image. So somehow you will still need to focus.

One question I am interested is how does this light field sensor compare to  the typical DSLR sensor in terms of ISO performance, MP count and most importantly price?

Would it become a  feature like the smile shutter or face detection, something innovative and interesting, but certainly not important to everyone. Will we see it being implemented as micro focus adjustment for photojournalism and sports photographer?

What are your thoughts ? Here are some samples of what you can do with " Shoot now and focus later"

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About Kent Yu

Kent is a professional wedding and portrait photographer based in Wellington, New Zealand. He and his team specialise in modern and contemporary weddings. Kent has his work published in international magazines and is a regular author to a number of photographic publication. He is fascinated by photographic equipment and enjoys showcasing the gear used in creating his images. You can find him on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Google+
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