Have you ever taken a photo only to find the focusing completely loses the meaning of a once-in-a-lifetime moment? Post processing of digital pictures has done a lot for the recovery of less than perfect images, but bad focusing is enough to kill a picture before it gets to Photoshop. Lytro, an experimental camera maker, may have the solution the world is searching for.

Lytro Illum

The Lytro Illum is the latest camera from the company to employ light field capture technology. The tech allows photographers to refocus an image after they take it, a power usually only available to digital image artists. The camera is set to cost $1599 and has the features of a high end consumer DSLR including a 4 inch touch screen and a fast image processor.

Refocusing you catalog

The Lytro camera allows science fiction levels of processing and enhancement to be done after an image is captured. Users will be able to refocus their image completely not through some post-processing trickery, but because of the way that the camera actually captures light. 3D information about a full scene is right there in the image, refocusing just allows the user to unlock it.

Lytro’s CEO Dr. Ren Ng said “The original Lytro camera, which launched in 2012, introduced an entirely new era in photography. Lytro Illum will advance this movement to a new level. We are very excited by the potential of this camera to ignite a photography revolution on the magnitude of the transformation from film to digital.” He is certain that his company is working on a classic “transformational concept”.

Lytro Illum tech still light-years away

The magic of a “light field” camera is something that’s unlikely to come to a smartphone any time soon, though it might enhance the work of a lot of enthusiasts in the time being. There is a reason that investors aren’t clamoring for an IPO, however, and good reason why the tech is unlikely to hit any device smaller than a Coke can any time soon.

Lytro’s technology requires much more room than the silicon sensor used in the iPhone and comparable digital cameras. While the smartphone eats away at the market for consumer digital cameras and traditional camera technology, which is much more adaptable, continues to dominate the “prosumer” and professional markets, it is difficult to see where the Illum fits in. Lytro, as always, is showing off an incredibly cool concept, but there’s little application.

That said, the company admits that it is still developing its technology, and it will be some time before it’s ready for the big time. Investors will have to wait a long time before they can get a piece of the technology unless, of course, a bigger camera concern comes knocking with acquisition ideas on the back of this release.