If You Thought colour's $41 Million Pre-Launch Round Was Big, Lytro's $50 Million Is Bigger And Worth Every Penny

lytroHappy kitteh, jealous kitteh

Photo: Lytro

A new company, Lytro launched today and its technology is as revolutionary for photography as HD was for TV.It’s the first “light field camera” that allows you to “shoot now and focus later.”

Here’s how it works:

  • Take a picture
  • Upload it
  • Click on a blurry section that you’d like to highlight
  • Watch the image instantly shift focus from 2D to 3D.

Here’s a more specific walkthrough of how Lytro works.

Lytro was founded by Dr. Ren Ng; it raised $50 million from Andreessen Horowitz, Grelock Partners, NEA and K9 Ventures, and other angels pre-launch. That’s bigger than colour, but the technology looks like it could be worth every penny.

If Lytro can bring its technology to mobile phones it will be especially promising.

“People often refer to taking a picture as capturing the moment, but conventional photography does not really capture the moment. It captures one angle, one set of light, and one focus of the moment. With Ren’s light field camera, you actually capture the moment or at least all of the light that visually represents the moment,” explains Lytro investor Ben Horowitz.

“Once you have captured the moment, you can go back at any time and get the picture that you want. Specifically, after you take the picture, you can refocus, re light, and re-orient the shot.

“Essentially, you can take the picture you wish you would have taken after the fact.”

Don’t believe how revolutionary Lytro’s technology is? Take a look at the before/after photo gallery we’ve put together.

BEFORE: Happy kitteh

AFTER: Jealous kitteh

BEFORE: Hiker photo

AFTER: Nature photo

BEFORE: Baby on the loose

AFTER: mum knows what's up

BEFORE: Cool window

AFTER: Spying on pedestrians

BEFORE: Left out

After: Lurking

Play with a Lytro photo yourself. Just click on the blurry area you want to enhance:

Still not sure how Lytro works? Here's a walkthrough of the technology:

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