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Three-Dimensional Highly Magnifying Macroscopic Light Field Photography: Theoretical Considerations and Practical Implications

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Light field cameras (so-called plenoptic cameras) are fitted with a special light field sensor and a light field engine so that the directions and distances of all incoming light beams are detected as additional parameters. In contrast to traditional cameras not only two, but also three-dimensional reconstructions can be obtained from the RAW data by means of the particular algorithms implemented. Moreover, each detail of interest which is situated within a focusable range of distance can be refocused with appropriate software. Lastly, two and three-dimensional deep focus stacks can be rendered from the RAW data based on one shot images taken in the usual way. The cameras used work with maximal aperture so that the shutter speed is as high as possible. Thus, potential indistinctness caused by vibration or movements of specimens can be significantly reduced. Lytro light field cameras (Lytro first generation compact camera and Lytro Illum) were both fitted with close-up lenses so that highly magnifying macroscopic photographs could be taken from very close distances. The Lytro Illum light field camera was combined with close-up lenses of 5, 10 or 15 diopters; the smallest imaging area was circa 12 × 18 mm, associated with a working distance of circa 4 cm. Lytro's first generation compact camera was equipped with 20 and 40-diopter achromatic auxiliary lenses so that the field width could be lowered to circa 3 or 4 mm. Thus, specimens, which have to be observed and photographed with a stereo microscope or low magnifying lenses of a light microscope in normal circumstances, could also be photographed with these light field cameras, even in their natural environment. Close distance light field images obtained were characterized by extraordinary spatial depth. All in all, light field cameras promise new dimensions of optical visualization in 2D and 3D highly magnifying macroscopic photography.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 December 2016

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  • Journal of Advanced Microscopy Research (JAMR) provides a forum for rapid dissemination of important developments in high-resolution microscopy techniques to image, characterize and analyze man-made and natural samples; to study physicochemical phenomena such as abrasion, adhesion, corrosion and friction; to perform micro and nanofabrication, lithography, patterning, micro and nanomanipulation; theory and modeling, as well as their applications in all areas of science, engineering, and medicine.
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