Light-field technology heralds one of the biggest changes to imaging since 1826, when Joseph-Nicéphore Niépce made the first permanent photograph of a scene from nature. A single light-field snapshot can provide photos where focus, exposure, and even depth of field are adjustable after the picture is taken. Light-field imaging is far more ambitious. Instead of merely recording the sum of all the light rays falling on each photosite, a light-field camera aims to measure the intensity and direction of every incoming ray. With that information, you can generate not just one but every possible image of whatever is within the camera’s field of view at that moment. The information a light-field camera records is, mathematically speaking, part of something that optics specialists call the plenoptic function. This function describes the totality of light rays filling a given region of space at any one moment. It’s a function of five dimensions, because you need three (x, y, and z) to specify the position of each vantage point, plus two more (often denoted θ and φ) for the angle of every incoming ray.
Dense Depth-map Estimation and Geometry Inference from Light Fields via Global Optimization
Lipeng Si, Qing Wang
Asian Conference on Computer Vision (ACCV), Taipei, China, pp.83-98, 2017
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