Just before the holiday break, my friend Kyle told me about a new concept in cameras: the Lytro light field camera. Up until now, cameras have always focussed to a particular depth of field, but the Lytro uses new technology to capture "the entire light field, which is all the light traveling in every direction in every point in space," according to the company's website. In practical terms, this means, so the claim goes, that you can quickly whip out the camera, take a shot without the traditional delay to focus, and focus afterward - on any point in the frame. You can view some examples here; click on the portion of the image you want in focus.
I do wonder if there's a way to put the entire frame in focus, and how one goes about selecting their favourite version of each image - i.e., can you manipulate the photo and then save your preferred version as an ordinary .jpg? The website doesn't say. So far it seems as though the Lytro file format is meant for online sharing rather than archiving in your personal collection.
I've yet to see one of these cameras in action, and because of the questions above I'm certainly not going to buy one sight unseen, but I'd sure love a chance to play with one. At first glance, this looks like an important development.