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Viewing images should be an interactive experience. We already live in a world where more photos are seen on screens than on paper. And, as science fiction has taught us, there's no reason to think of pictures as static."

A Camera Uses Light Field Technology to Give Photos New Depth; Game-Changer or Gimmick?
The Wall Street Journal
Byline Geoffrey A. Fowler

What might photos look like if your camera could capture more depth?

Rewind with me for a moment to that scene in pretty much every crime investigation show, where good guys studying security shots "enhance" the image to reveal the villain.

Everybody knows that real blurry photos can't be made sharp after the fact. But that's exactly the premise of the new Illum camera from a startup called Lytro.

Instead of snapping a solitary image, the Illum captures a whole moment—known as the light field—so you can change focus and shift perspective after you've taken the shot. Just by clicking around a screen, the viewer can focus on a birthday cake candle, the person blowing it out, or partygoers in the background. These "living pictures," as they're called, even let the viewer look a bit behind the closest objects. The effect is a little like the portraits in Harry Potter's newspaper: a hint of depth where you weren't expecting it.

The Lytro Illum, which goes on sale Friday for $1,599, makes this mind-bending technology remarkably accessible to avid photographers.

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