About the technology of light field photography using a handheld plenoptic camera from a Stanford University Computer Science Tech Report 2005-02 written by Ren Ng, Marc Levoy, Matthieu Bradif, Mark Horowitz and Pat Hanrahan of Stanford University with Gene Duval of Duval Design:
This [is] 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 re-sorting 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.
So, what is this light field photography good for?