I remember first reading about the (at that time) Lytro camera and was excited about being able to change a picture's Depth of Field after the picture was taken. It meant less shots would get wasted and you could snap a picture almost instantly (since there is no focusing).
The $400 photography revolution that isn't
I am convinced Light Field Technology will revolutionize the consumer photography market in a couple of years. What we have now is first generation and therefore there is plenty of room for improvement.
Although the technology is awesome, I can't justify spending $400 on something I will rarely use. I know people who bought a Lytro hoping to move away from their traditional dSLR but after a short test period came back.
The biggest complaint I heard about Lytro was the picture resolution, high price and low light capabilities.
Get the same effect for free
OK well not for free but using the dSLR you already have. The very cool folks over at Chaos Collective explain how this is done and provide the free tool on their site.
In simple terms, you use your dSLR to take a manual-focus video using the largest aperture possible. Then slowly change the focus for a couple of seconds and save your clips.
How the magic is accomplished
Their software performs the magic by detecting the various focus areas in your video and breaking it down into 20x20 grids than can be clicked. You can upload your photos to their site and get a freely shareable embed code.
Lytro is simpler
Lytro is simpler since all you have to do is press the button and use their software but this solution just saved you $400. If Lytro released v2 with the improvements the market is asking for then I may fork over the money because the tech is great. Until that time, I can play with this little technique.