There is no doubt that the new possibilities of LightField photography (including software refocus, all in focus and 3D extrapolation) will come in handy in light microscopy.
One question we’ve been asking us ever since Lytro introduced its first-generation consumer LightField camera, is: “Is the Lytro camera suitable for microscope photography?”
Here are some Living Pictures of our first attempt. We just put the Lytro up close to the eyepiece of an Olympus BX41TF light microscope, zoomed in and took some shots at different magnification levels and focal planes (on the microscope side).
Living Picture taken through the eyepiece of a light microscope. No zoom.
As you can see, our first, quick attempt was unsuccessful: It is not possible to visibly change the focus of the pictures, and some of them even show big sections of artifacts (strange lines, either horizontal or diagonal).
These problems most likely come from vignetting (the dark circle around the image), an effect which appears when taking pictures through another lens system and causes the outer regions of the image to go completely black.
We’ll soon have another attempt, and will try to zoom all the way in, so that Lytro’s field of view won’t exceed the light rays of the microscope’s eye piece.
There are, of course, other options for microscopic LightField photography – one of them being the Raytrix R11 LightField camera. However, the price point is significantly different and only makes it a viable option for businesses.
What are your experiences with taking Lytro pictures through a microscope?