First Generation Camera - Understanding Creative Mode improvements in firmware 1.1.2

Creative Mode now employs a simpler focusing method, putting the optimum focus precisely where you tap.

Previously (firmware 1.1.1 build 150 and earlier), tapping the screen while in Creative Mode set the middle of the refocusable range. What this meant in practice was that to achieve best results, you then needed to move the camera forwards or backwards to adjust for objects in the scene, and finally take the picture.

In contrast, the improvements in firmware 1.1.2 will now make the camera more intuitive about focus and relative distances while shooting in Creative Mode. You'll simply tap the object in your composition that's most important, and that's what will be in focus. The current zoom position, focus position, and relative distances are all taken into account under this new approach.

The overarching goal is to simplify capturing great Creative Mode shots. Give it a go and let us know what you think of the change in comments below, we'd love to hear your feedback.

Comments

  • Avatar
    Greg Tokarski

    I did not have time to use Lytro for a while.. mainly due to the inability to process images well with my current PC.. well, pending obtaining a machine that will totally be able to handle the processing, I am very happy to see this! I have taken too many images in CM that did not come out even close to what I wanted!

    Good thing to see you guys - once again - moving on and improving things! 

  • Avatar
    Greg Tokarski

    Now, on a side note, I do wonder why I got an email about your post today, vs. on March 5th? Interesting...

  • Avatar
    Ian Ellison

    Hi Greg, 

    Thanks for the kind words!

    p.s. Now you know when I drafted this article... ;)

  • Avatar
    Michael Jensen

    What a great improvement to Creative Mode. I also noticed an improvement to focus speed and zoom response. Nice upgrade!

  • Avatar
    Ian Ellison

    Thanks, Michael-- glad to hear it!

  • Avatar
    Richard OLIER

    "Old" creative mode was hard to use. Sometime, i need to use a printed card with a grid to set the middle point of my pictures. With this tips i have a good pictures with a subject (distant, closest) very sharp.

    With new creative mode (more easy to use) my pictures are not so sharp.

    See:  https://pictures.lytro.com/CCWH/stories/115305?token=8b2844e6-9e35-11e2-92e1-1231393f34ec

    With Pic 3 i use my tips: i "focus" at middle distance between my two subjects. This image is not sharp :-(

    My conclusion: Creative mode is more easy to understand, to use, but it's more difficult (impossible) to set a good depth of field. Image (one subject - closest or distant) is smooth, too smooth.

     

  • Avatar
    Sam Tellman

    Hello Richard,

    If you're shooting a very precise scene in a controlled environment as with the examples you linked to, there are a couple things you can do to influence how much refocus-ability you have and in what direction you have it. 

    The amount of refocus didn't change between the old and new firmware, we just sought to make it easier to get a good shot where there was no middle object (and they couldn't place a object to compensate, as you have) and the scene being captured was less controlled. In the new firmware, we change how the refocus area behaves based on both the zoom and focus settings to achieve this. If you find that you aren't getting enough refocus past the object you tapped on, you can tap on that object again and then move the camera slightly closer to the object. Similarly, if you tap on a distant object and want to refocus closer to the camera, tapping first and then moving the camera further from that object will aid in this. Also keep in mind that changing the zoom setting and focus distance from the camera will always have a large impact on the depth of field and therefore the refocus area as well.

    As an example, in the first of the three shots you posted, if you had tapped on the near toy and then moved the camera a bit closer, the distant object would have been sharper as you refocused to it. When the objects are this close to the camera, a very small change in camera distance can make a big difference, so experiment to find a happy medium. Move it too far and the distant toy will be sharp but the near toy will have become less sharp. Likewise, the second image could have been helped by tapping on the rear object and pulling the camera back a bit. If you play around with this technique and still can't get both objects to be acceptably sharp to your liking, then for that zoom setting and at that distance to the camera, the two toys are too far apart from each other.

    It will take some experimenting to understand the trade-offs, but we think that the new function of the mode still allows for repeatably successful results and also allows for a higher hit rate of shots when the user doesn't have as much time to set up a shot. 

  • Avatar
    Richard OLIER

    Thanks for this very useful answer. I'll try your tips.

    For me, and i agree with you, the new creative mode is more easy to understand. 

    Thanks a lot :-)

  • Avatar
    Greg Tokarski

    So guys, I just played over the weekend, and attempted to take some pictures (at full zoom) of a moon behind a tree... Not good.. I tried focusing on the moon, on the tree, on a house quite a distance away..  simply didn;t work.. I took such pics in the past and they work....

    Any ideas there?

    https://pictures.lytro.com/gtokarsk/stories/117069?token=f2b1b12a-ac62-11e2-9278-22000a973903

     

    GT

  • Avatar
    Douglas Dulaney

    I'm waiting for Lytro to incorporate 'tethered shooting' into Lytro Desktop. Being able to shoot directly from Desktop opens a whole new world of creativity. When I discovered the function for my Nikon, I couldn't believe the creative control it gave me. I can even imagine a version for the iPad that would utilize the touchscreen or a 'remote' for smartphones. Innovation is real-time.

  • Avatar
    Sam Tellman

    Hi Greg,

    With the new firmware, if you're photographing two objects distant to you, it would generally be best to tap on the more distant object. This is especially the case at higher zoom. In your situation, tapping on the moon would be your best bet for getting a good result. The new firmware is designed so that if you tap on a distant object, the camera will try to make sure you can refocus in front of that object.

    Due to the way the new firmware works, if you tap on the moon and are still unable to get refocus on the trees, it is very unlikely that the old firmware would have yielded a better result.

  • Avatar
    Greg Tokarski

    Well, since the moon is small and at fool zoom it's sort of hard to click it on a tiny screen, I figured moving the camera (maintaining zoom) and focusing on something that is far away, should do the trick... My assumptions was - that say 100ft is the same as infinity.. is that not the case anymore?

    I will try again next time I have a chance, see what I can do... I assume it is still vital to NOT change the zoom setting AFTER setting the creative mode point?

    GT

  • Avatar
    Greg Tokarski

    And of course, thx for the info Sam ;)

  • Avatar
    Ian Ellison

    @Douglas

    Thanks for the suggestion.  Could you please also weigh in here?

    http://support.lytro.com/entries/21541157-Remote-shutter-release

    This is where our Product Managers go to see what people are requesting.  

  • Avatar
    Sam Tellman

    Hi Greg,

    Focusing on the moon can be difficult, but it is a high-contrast object, so with some persistence, you should be able to get a lock on it. I know some compositions might make that more difficult/impossible than others. Generally speaking, at a very high zoom level with our camera, the difference between 100ft and infinity is actually quite large. This isn't unique to our camera or to the new firmware, it's just the nature of optics at longer focal lengths. On the bright side, this means there's actually refocusing to be done between those two distance (no difference=no refocus), but it can be difficult to operate at such a narrow field of view and with such a thin refocusing area.

    You can change your zoom after setting focus in Creative Mode and the camera will do its best to keep focus on the same object, so feel free to play around with it, but keep in mind that maintaining focus while zooming significantly is a difficult thing (even very expensive professional camera equipment doesn't do it very well), so it may not work 100% of the time. Play around with tapping on the distant object and let us know how it goes. We're always looking at ways to improve camera function, so more information about what we can do to help is always appreciated and kept in consideration when we look at future development.

    Happy Shooting!

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