Lytro Introduces Focus Spread, an Entirely New Way to Look at Editing DOF in Post

Ever since the first mention of the Lytro camera system, I have been intrigued by how exactly it works and what possibilities it opens for photographers wanting to have complete control over their image, right down to the depth. With Lytro's announcement of the new Focus Spread feature built into their new software you can now pick and choose, in post-production, which sections of a photo that will be in focus. 

From the fairly simple tutorial video posted by Lytro on their blog this week, you can see a step-by-step process in which a photographer uses the Lytro camera system to shoot, edit, and bring the final piece to completion. Using the new Focus Spread feature in post, you are able to quickly select areas between foreground, subject, and background to the depth of your choice, in this case f/16 and f/1.0 apertures. It's quite impressive to think about how quickly you can choose between those layers of the seemingly RAW image.

Coming from someone that is fairly new to the photography industry, and primarily shooting mobile in the beginning, I can't imagine having the control that the Lytro has in post. It almost seems like cheating to give the photographer the ability to choose what is in focus and what isn't. Is this losing the aspect of "getting the shot," as most of us know as the standard when shooting weddings or sports? I am very interested in seeing this system grow in the future, and possibly getting my hands on one to see how much more control I can get from my work.

Shot at f/16

After depth is separated and added to the background.

To find out more about Lytro, be sure to check out their blog as they continue to develop by far one of the most interesting new pieces of tech in the photography industry.

[via Lytro Blog]

Andrew Griswold's picture

Andrew Griswold is a photographer and designer based in Indianapolis. Born and raised in Indy he has made a name for himself by staying very active in the creative community in both photography and design. He has also founded a community of photographers via Instagram connecting them with brands to work with and shoot locally.

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Interesting technology. I was tempted until I saw the effective output size is circa 4MP. I'm not into pixel peeking but 4MP is just not enough detail for me. Hopefully they'll release a larger sensor with something useable (for me).

Yikes, I was not aware of the output on these shots. I would imagine them to be much larger.

The file size is much larger when taken in the native RAW format which then allows you to make all the edits to focus, depth of field, perspective shift, animation, and the use of focus spread you highlighted in the post. Output depends on how you use the images. Look the images on on a large monitor and then see if the resolution isn't good enough. I am an employee and if you would like a deeper explanation of anything you have commented on including the video question, email

I need f/ wait I hate that background...lets shoot at f/4....but wait now my light is too hot.....Oh screw it, I'll fix it in post....nice message your sending out there........and I've seen better acting in porns.

Oh my god yes, this! I get that they are trying to show off their tech, but damn that is some cringe worthy acting in that demo. So bad.

And what is up with the "photographer" not using the backdrop they went thorough the trouble of setting up? Nah, a c-stand and some flash flags makes a much more interesting image.

does anyone see this more as a video tool rather then a photo tool? example that outro was the most awesome part of this whole film... for food videos of like a restaurants commercial, where your not going to be able to go from f1.4 to f16 in camera because of lighting restraints... this works awesome :) just saying calling it now, this will be used more in video then in the photo world...

Interesting point for sure. The best thing I have seen come out of the Lytro so far are the gif style images pushing smooth transitions from foreground to background in one file type. Pretty cool effect for sure and it can be done in post. Does this thing shoot video? I have not done enough research on them to know.

WOW, that was painful to watch. The acting was horrible. Next time hire a fake photographer but good actor if you have to. Interesting technology but I still don't see it being used in anyones workflow. Certainly not mine. It's more of a gimmick. 4MP output to jpg is a joke. Lytro os better off using this tech in the video world, not photography. They are a solution still searching for the problem.

That video was so awful. Haha.
"A" for effort though. :) maybe they made it like that on purpose.

The effect looks really bad IMO. but of course thats just opinion.

For the past month or so, on all my devices (iMac, iPhone and iPadMini) I cannot get Viemo to stream.So I can't watch this (and all others). I have no such issues with YouTube or Facebook streaming. Anyone else have this problem. This looks so interesting, shame I cannot view it.