KaleidoCamera teaches your DSLR new light field tricks


A prototype for a new DSLR add-on is poised to bring plenoptic capabilities to consumer cameras. The KaleidoCamera is designed to sit between a standard DSLR’s sensor and lens. A diffuser splits light passing through the lens into nine different beams, each passing through a filter before it reaches the camera’s sensor. 

Depending on the configuration, each beam of light can be filtered to isolate particular colors, or capture a scene with nine different tone curves to create an HDR image in post-processing. With a slight adjustment, the KaleidoCamera is capable of light-field imaging. Lytro cameras have already made this capability available to consumers, but the KaleidoCamera would be the first device to work with a consumer’s existing camera. 

This is a picture showing the prototype KaleidoCamera fitted to a Leica medium-format DSLR. 

Plenoptic cameras split the incoming light based on the angle it arrived from, meaning depth information is captured about the scene. The more images the scene is split into, the greater the depth information captured, but the lower the resolution of the final image.

Two configurations of the KaleidoCamera – the uppermost uses filters for selective color or HDR photography, and the lower configuration uses a light field design to enable plenoptic photography. 

Applications extend beyond interesting photo experiments and post-capture focusing – the KaleidoCamera could see use in “scientific imaging, industrial quality control, remote sensing, computer vision and computer graphics,” according to a paper published by the prototypes creators. 

Video: KaleidoCamera for HDR, Multi-spectral, Polarization & Light Field Imaging



Very interesting is quite the understatement!

One thing to note though is, as you’ll see if you look at the comments on YouTube, the proposed design will actually be in the 20 to 30 centimetre range.

Dan Tong

Very interesting.


more toys for us


HDR, refocussable video and slide shots without a slider.
cool stuff in the pipe for later


Pretty damn clever.


Lytro just got pawned.



I think soon or late we will forget about clumsy lenses. The Photography will suffer the same fate as the biological vision. The eye, a very imperfect optical engine, coupled with the vast computational power of the brain, continuously scans the space and gives a sharp image with huge dynamic range.


Computational Photography

I invite everybody to have a look at a lecture given by one of this project’s authors last year:
It has some interesting ideas about how the art of photography may change in the future, esp. that in the studio. E.g., scene illumination may be added after the shot etc. …


With todays huge megapixel sensors, dividing one into 1/9 sections still give you printable results unlike the Lytro. Cool beans if you have an SLR, but I wonder how much the lens/software package is going to cost you. 🙂


Sweet stuff 🙂
I know the institute which did it and most of their research is top notch, actually.
I’d say the main application isn’t what they describe (the conversion of a high end consumer camera into an industrial one). Even though it may be an important application for German machine engineering.

I’d say the main application is as a research and prototype device to path the way to lens-array based smartphones (which most likely will produce an array of 3×3 images, each of at least HD quality, too). Interesting for high end smart phone lens makers like Zeiss.

A 3×3 lens array-based smartphone reduces the crop factor by 3 (such as from 4.5 to APSC) and brings smartphones on par with dSLRs. Esp. as the array allows for parallax-accelerated autofocus (before shot) and plenoptics-like focus-tune after the shot, beating phase detect AF. This device from Max-Planck Institute will help explore stuff like this.


Sweet! Something new for camera geeks to complain and argue about on the Internet!!!



Jay A

Yes but can it do 3d?


Yes, but will it blend?


Before the technical discussion, il get my coat.

Roland Karlsson


BTW – inventions that nobody have asked for? I would guess that a vast majority of the inventions are not “asked for”. How many asked for digital cameras in the film days?

All this said – maybe it will be nothing. Just another fun thing.

But …. I assume that something will happen with digital photography … something you don’t expect. And not is asking for. I am quite sure of it.

buri pakath

Well back to the turn of the XX Century, a lab technician was testing the consistency of a resin to be used on car tires. In the end he discovered some moisten residual, not so hard to be used on tire’s manufacturing, but the chewing gum was born.


Based on what I’m reading, it appears to turn your camera into 1/9th the pixel output too. Sooo…a 36MP D800 = 4MP camera?? Am I reading their site correctly??

Roland Karlsson

I have not read it. But … that is a necessity. You can’t just invent data. So … if you want data from several angles … it has to be taken from resolution.

Much better than Lytro though. There you lost a factor of much more.


Which is probably why they are showing the prototype on a medium-format camera i.e. Leica S2 is 37.5 MP

So while it will turn your 36mp camera into a 4mp camera, it will be a 4mp image with 9-image HDR capability – with no tripod required for multiple images, and no software-based correction for varying camera position between the nine 4mp photos.

Stitch a few of those together, and you will have a nice HDR panorama. 🙂


Roland: I agree, it makes sense, but I would have thought, at least for the HDR functionality, that a 4-to-1 ratio would be ideal and a 9-to-1 would be a tad bit of overkill. But then I’m very binary-minded, so maybe its just me.

And yeah, the Lytro was way too much compromise.


I agree on the 4 [or 5] exposures making more sense than 9, but i can only assume the other uses – like color filters – make better use of 9 images.

As my fisrt dSLR was a 6mp D50, getting 6-images into a 6mp HDR would also be interesting.


This is an argument for a 100 megapixel high density sensor. Now just add a speed booster! 😉

Francis Carver

You don’t really need it for anything, so don’t pay anything for it. Another “must have” invention that nobody had asked for.

Osvaldo Cristo

It is a sophisticated optical filter, but placed in the “wrong” end of the lens!


wrong end? there are plenty of lenses that place the filter between the lens and the body..

Roland Karlsson

The problem with putting this particular filter in the wrong end is that you need to handle the camra-lens communication and also sometimes screw drive.


Maybe they can make ones for prime lenses in front of the lens but that would require a lot of R&D money and bother. Start with a universal is a smart business move.

Roland Karlsson

It has to be behind the lens.


Have I been putting my teleconverter at the wrong end of my lenses then?

Source Article from http://www.dpreview.com/news/2013/07/22/kaleidocamera-dslr-add-on-light-field-photography