Shoot a picture first, focus later

Last November, New Scientist reported an interesting bit of new technology which I’ve just come across.

Traditionally, digital cameras have to make a trade-off between aperture size and depth of field – the more light you let in (and the better the peformance in low light), the more prone the image is to blurring.

Now researchers have come up with a way to post-process focus after image capture, by inserting a sheet of 90,000 lenses, each 125 micrometres across, between the main lens and the image sensor. The angle of each light ray hitting the sensor is recorded, as well as the intensity. This allows clever software to refocus the image afterwards where necessary.

Fasncinating concept, and no doubt we’ll see some variant of it turning up in commercial products in the future.