Steve Jobs Met with Light Field Camera (Lytro) Company's CEO

lytro camera
In the upcoming Inside Apple book by Adam Lashinsky, it's revealed that Steve Jobs had expressed interest and subsequently met with the CEO of Lytro, the makers the first light field camera. The relevant book quote posted by 9to5Mac states:

The company’s CEO, Ren Ng, a brilliant computer scientist with a PhD from Stanford, immediately called Jobs, who picked up the phone and quickly said, “if you’re free this afternoon maybe we would could get together.” Ng, who is thirty-two, hurried to Palo Alto, showed Jobs a demo of Lytro’s technology, discussed cameras and product design with him, and, at Jobs’s request, agreed to send him an email outlining three things he’d like Lytro to do with Apple.

Lytro received a lot of press last year when the first of its light field cameras went on sale in October. The product even received Popular Science's 2011 Innovation of the Year.

Light field cameras are a different take on photography by capturing "the entire light field" and saving all that information into a single file. Photographers can then edit the file afterwards in a number of unique ways -- including refocusing the image. This video walks through this unique ability:

(Video removed)

One of the limitations in the early light field cameras is a relatively low resolution. The first Lytro camera produces final photos of only 1.2 megapixels (1,080x1,080). The cameras also don't take any video and start at $399 for an 8GB model. The camera carries an elongated form factor that seems to be a result of the unusual optics required.

Given the hype surrounding the technology, it's perhaps no surprise that Steve Jobs found interest in meeting with the young company. That meeting, however, is getting special attention due to the fact that Walter Isaacson had said that Jobs wanted to reinvent television, textbooks and photography.

Apple just released their first digital textbooks for the iPad, and is expected to get into the television space. Apple's future goals for photography, however, remain unclear. Apple includes a digital camera its iPhones and has made progressive improvements in camera quality over the past few generations. While Apple no longer makes a standalone digital camera, they were one of the first to product a consumer targeted digital camera back in 1994.

Given the popularity of smartphones and the subsequent decline of point and shoot camera popularity, we'd expect any future Apple movement into photography would be centered around the iPhone.

Top Rated Comments

nagromme Avatar
127 months ago
Okay, let's have a show of hands: How many people here have taken photos where they wish they could re-focus at will to emphasize one element of the photo?

Wait, before you raise your hands, let's limit it to those people who take such photos often enough to pay extra for the capability. And lug around a bigger device.

And let's limit it to those who aren't professional photographers, since this $399 1.2MP model would be useless for such.

Okay, so now let's see all those raised hands.

Anyone?

Buehler?

How many people—NON-professionals, please--have ever taken a photo with bad focus?

Wait, before you raise your hands, how many of you would be willing to carry a still-very-small device, that’s also fun and cool?

A see a certain niche raising their hands!

Thank goodness for niche products: imagine a world where no products existed except those that appealed to all people? You’d never find what you wanted...

And those early adopters can lead the way to higher-res versions to come :)
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dethmaShine Avatar
127 months ago
Okay, let's have a show of hands: How many people here have taken photos where they wish they could re-focus at will to emphasize one element of the photo?

Wait, before you raise your hands, let's limit it to those people who take such photos often enough to pay extra for the capability. And lug around a bigger device.

And let's limit it to those who aren't professional photographers, since this $399 1.2MP model would be useless for such.

Okay, so now let's see all those raised hands.

Anyone?

Buehler?

This is what this forum has really become.

Constant bitching about any new technology or implementation or experiment. It's like you people cannot appreciate any effort.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ABernardoJr Avatar
127 months ago
Okay, let's have a show of hands: How many people here have taken photos where they wish they could re-focus at will to emphasize one element of the photo?

Wait, before you raise your hands, let's limit it to those people who take such photos often enough to pay extra for the capability. And lug around a bigger device.

And let's limit it to those who aren't professional photographers, since this $399 1.2MP model would be useless for such.

Okay, so now let's see all those raised hands.

Anyone?

Buehler?
lol Just as it is with much of basically every newer piece of technology, it's going to cost a lot more in the beginning. Just like Blu-Ray players, SSDs, etc. I think what's a bigger story is that this is at least starting to develop, in a few years maybe things will be more reasonably priced and well-featured.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Zaqfalcon Avatar
127 months ago
iPhone's camera's next feature: Optical zoom, not just software zoom...

If that happens, iPhone's camera is the best point and shoot. (Alongside DOZENS of camera apps)

Dreamer by name...
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MisterK Avatar
127 months ago
In 3D

I'm looking forward to what this tech could eventually do when it's used with 3D. Part of the problem with 3D, as I see it, is that the camera forces the focal point of all the shots. I'd love if I could have depth of field based on where my eyes were focusing. I know this is a ways off and that we'd need some serious processing power, but I dare someone to say computers will never be that powerful. This idea isn't perfect, but there's something here.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mr. Gates Avatar
127 months ago
I need this.

Not sure why but I do
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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