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Camera lets people shoot first focus later

Startup Lytro is promising to deliver by year's end a camera that lets people adjust the focus on photos after they take them.

Work that Ren Ng started in a lab while working on a PhD at Stanford University about eight years ago has led to the creation of what was billed as the first camera that captures the entire light field in a scene.

Software was then designed to use the light data to allow points of focus to be easily shifted in digital images, according to Northern California-based Lytro.

"Shoot now, focus later," the startup said Wednesday in a blog post describing its innovation.

"A Lytro can also help you remember more of what happened at that party last weekend," the message continued playfully.

Lytro has tested prototypes of the camera with photographers and was asking people interested in the gadgets to sign up at its website to measure interest.

Ng referred to Lytro camera images as "living pictures" because they allow whoever is looking at them, say as a post on a Facebook page, to shift the focus between people or objects captured in photos.

"Our mission is to change photography forever, making conventional cameras a thing of the past," Ng said in a blog post. "Light field cameras are the next big step in that picture revolution."

Lytro is having the cameras made itself and did not disclose the planned price. Most of the reported $50 million in funding for the startup has come from Andreessen Horowitz.