News and Stories

A Picture: Now Worth a Billion Words

April 03, 2013

The Lytro camera


Sharing vital information through pictures has long been an important part of being a Markon Inspector. As someone who enjoys taking photographs, I’m always interested in learning about new equipment or technology that can help capture a better shot whether it be for business or recreation purposes. That’s why I was blown away when I first started hearing about a new kind of camera that has the ability to create living, interactive photos, and the potential applications for such a camera within our field.


If you haven’t heard much about Lytro cameras yet, chances are you soon will. They are a definite game-changer in the photography world because they are the first of their kind to feature something called light-field technology in a compact, consumer camera. So what’s the big deal about it? Well, one of the main attractions is that it allows the user to focus any picture after the fact. Yes, you read that correctly: after the photograph has been taken. It also features perspective shift which can create an almost 3D feel.


Imagine never having to worry about focusing on a particular subject in your viewfinder because you can fine-tune it after taking the picture. I can certainly think of some useful ways to use a camera like that in our daily quality inspections. For example, when evaluating Ready-Set-Serve salad items, we might need to show the overall quality of the product, as well as any defects that were found, and also the trace back information on the carton for reference. But it’s hard to capture all of that information in one shot, let alone in focus, so multiple shots are typically needed. With a Lytro camera, we could theoretically take one picture and with a simple point and click of a mouse, viewers can pull the focus to any point in the background or foreground of the photo.


Apart from the practical applications, it’s the endless creative possibilities that have me taking a closer look at whether or not this camera could become another useful tool in the Markon arsenal—not only for reporting on quality, but also for marketing and social media purposes. 


To learn more, visit the Lytro website and view some of the demonstration pictures and videos. You might also start thinking about how a Lytro camera could be beneficial in your line of work, but at the very least, I’ll bet you’ll say to yourself, “Wow, that’s pretty cool.”