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KaleidoCamera brings Lytro-like refocusing to your SLR

Light-field technology has grown in popularity since the arrival of the Lytro camera, which allows photographers to refocus images after they have been taken.

Light-field technology has grown in popularity since the arrival of the Lytro camera, which allows photographers to refocus images after they have been taken.

However, the Lytro is a separate camera purchase all of its own. What if similar technology could be installed on an existing SLR set-up?

That's the premise behind KaleidoCamera, an add-on that sits between and SLR body and lens. Developed by a team led by Alkhazur Manakov of Saarland University in Saarbrücken, Germany, the KaleidoCamera splits the light entering the camera lens into nine image beams containing plenoptic (or light-field) information.

Named after the kaleidoscope-like array of mirrors contained inside, the KaleidoCamera physically copies the image into these split beams. These beams can then be filtered in any number of ways according to the desires of the photographer.

Examples of the results derived from the KaleidoCamera. Left to right shows the process of generating a multi-spectral, HDR and light-field image. (Credit: KaleidoCam)

According to New Scientist, depending on how the KaleidoCamera is configured, the beams can be manipulated for refocusing, single-shot HDR or polarisation purposes.

At the moment, the module that sits between the camera and lens is quite large. Manakov says that the team is currently working to make the prototype smaller, so it is more usable in conjunction with an SLR.

The KaleidoCamera will be presented at a conference in California later this month. As well as Lytro, companies such as DigitalOptics and Pelican have been working on similar light-field technology for smartphones.