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Reports (Research Report) Year : 2005

Light Field Photography with a Hand-held Plenoptic Camera

Ren Ng
  • Function : Author
Marc Levoy
  • Function : Author
Mathieu Brédif
Gene Duval
  • Function : Author
Pat Hanrahan
  • Function : Author


This paper presents a camera that samples the 4D light field on its sensor in a single photographic exposure. This is achieved by inserting a microlens array between the sensor and main lens, creating a plenoptic camera. Each microlens measures not just the total amount of light deposited at that location, but how much light arrives along each ray. By resorting the measured rays of light to where they would have terminated in slightly different, synthetic cameras, we can compute sharp photographs focused at different depths. We show that a linear increase in the resolution of images under each microlens results in a linear increase in the sharpness of the refocused photographs. This property allows us to extend the depth of field of the camera without reducing the aperture, enabling shorter exposures and lower image noise. Especially in the macrophotography regime, we demonstrate that we can also compute synthetic photographs from a range of different viewpoints. These capabilities argue for a different strategy in designing photographic imaging systems. To the photographer, the plenoptic camera operates exactly like an ordinary hand-held camera. We have used our prototype to take hundreds of light field photographs, and we present examples of portraits, high-speed action and macro close-ups.
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Dates and versions

hal-02551481 , version 1 (23-04-2020)


  • HAL Id : hal-02551481 , version 1


Ren Ng, Marc Levoy, Mathieu Brédif, Gene Duval, Mark Horowitz, et al.. Light Field Photography with a Hand-held Plenoptic Camera. [Research Report] CSTR 2005-02, Stanford university. 2005, Stanford University Computer Science Tech Report. ⟨hal-02551481⟩


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