Plenoptic Camera or Light Field Camera is a camera that uses a microlens array (also known as a lenticular lens array) to capture 4D light field information about a scene. Such light field information can be used to improve the solution of computer graphics related problems. Photographs can be digitally refocused at different depths, and computed after a single exposure of light field camera. Light Field Photography technology was developed by a team at Stanford University.

Light Field Camera is a special 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. 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 can also compute synthetic photographs from a range of different viewpoints.

The light field camera looks and operates exactly like an ordinary handheld digital camera. The difference lies inside. Light-field cameras use multiple lenses to create a single image. All the lenses simultaneously take a snapshot of the same scene, though each lens has a different focus. Each of the micro-lenses in a plenoptic camera’s array views a scene from a slightly different angle and those views can be compared to deduce the distance to the objects in front of the camera.

Using light field cameras, Image Refocusing can be done after taking the photograph, to enhance the quality. 3D photogrphy, and 3D video recording quality can be greatly improved using the light field cameras. Plenoptic cameras are good for following moving objects. A recording from a security camera based upon light field technology could be used to produce an accurate 3D model of a suspect. Plenoptic Cameras also called as Multi-Lens Cameras