Ren Ng

Can Lytro take on Canon and Nikon?

June 22, 2011: 10:28 AM ET

Take a picture with Lytro's soon to come camera and change the focus to any spot, with the click of a mouse. The only question most photo geeks have is "how much?"

FORTUNE -- There's a new player in the camera market: Lytro, a Mountain View, Calif.-based startup with just 45 employees, is hoping to disrupt the industry with an innovative camera that lets users focus a picture after it's been taken.

The tiny company came out of stealth mode earlier this week, unveiling its master plan to take on heavyweights like Canon and Nikon. According to Lytro, its new "light field" cameras will capture more data than your average digital camera by using a special sensor that records the color, intensity and direction of every beam of light. Because all of this extra information is saved in each image file, users will be able to edit and play with their photos in new ways -- including refocusing a picture and changing its orientation after it's been taken. They'll also be able to take photos in low light conditions without using flash.

After seeing Lytro's editing capabilities in action, I can tell you it's much, much cooler than anything current cameras and image editing software will let you do. And yes, the company's technology even has the potential to become a breakthrough innovation in the camera industry -- not on par with the move to digital but significant nonetheless. More

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