Ren Ng focus-less photography

This guy is a PhD student in the Computer Science department at Stanford. His research interests are computer graphics, applied mathematics and digital photography. He received his B.S. with Distinction in Mathematical and Computational Science with Departmental Honors from Stanford University. So what? I hear you say…

Mr. Ren has been experimenting with light, lenses and digital cameras so as to get that burden and shame of your out-of-focus pictures off your back.

The student, Ren Ng, ran out of patience with taking pictures the traditional way — adjusting the distance between the camera lens and sensor or film before snapping each shot. So he created something that far surpasses Photoshop. A photograph can be modified after the fact even if nothing is in focus, he said.

Ng calls his creation the “light field camera” because of its ability to capture the quantity of light moving in all directions in an open space. It stems from early-20th-century work on integral photography, which experimented with using lens arrays in front of film, and an early-1990s plenoptic camera developed at MIT and used for range finding. By building upon these ideas, Ng hopes to improve commercial cameras’ focusing abilities.

So, what’s actually is he trying to tell us? Here are some pictures to show you how his hardware and software (yes, he wrote a photo software too to work with his invention) can provide you full focus control on your photographs, by deciding what subject you want to be sharp in a photo AFTER you have taken the photograph!



As you can see, in the first photo the front-most person is in full focus, while the last person is a complete blur; but in the last photo it’s the complete opposite! And mind you, this was done from the same photo and after the photo was taken…

Looks pretty cool to me, and this can make your creative juices to start running in your brains, if this becomes the ‘standard’ of digital photographic equipment, both hardware and software wise…

Wired News has a full story about this invention…

While you can get to know Mr. Ren Ng more here and also learn about his experiments…

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