Nokia releases Lytro-like Refocus app for Lumia PureView handsets

Nokia has released its anticipated Refocus app, which features Lytro-like capabilities, to the Windows Phone Store. It's available exclusively to Nokia Lumia handsets with a PureView camera, allowing users to take a picture and refocus the image later. Nokia has bet heavily on the camera within its products, and the company is hoping its Refocus app can help. 

Refocus is modelled heavily after the Lytro camera, also known as a plenoptic camera. Imagine you've snapped a shot out of the window but the focus has opted for the window frame rather than what's outside. With refocus you can drag the focus point across the smartphone's screen and it will refocus to dramatic effect. The Lumia 920, Lumia 925, Lumia 928 and Lumia 1020 can all download the app, as long as they have the latest Amber software update installed. The Lumia 1520, set to ship soon, will come with the Refocus app pre-installed. 

Nokia isn't doing it like Lytro by using a special camera sensor, but instead takes 2 to 8 images in quick succession. “Depending on what’s in view, each at five megapixels at a different focus that’ll be aligned and forged together to make one image,” Nokia wrote on its website. This allows you to change the focus of the image, and how Nokia is going about makes a lot of sense. 

We got our first look at the Refocus app while at Nokia World in Abu Dhabi last month. It seemed to work well, but we weren't able to make a full judgement until playing with shots that have movement or low-light.

Nokia Refocus also brings social sharing to the table, letting users post their photos to Facebook, their SkyDrive account, SMS and Email.