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Pocketwizard patents a new type of embedded radio flash trigger for Nikon cameras

I follow only Nikon related patents and when I saw this patent from a company called Lab Partners Associates, I immediately ignored it.

But then I got curious - who is that company that dares to patent a new wireless radio flash trigger for Nikon. Well, Lab Partners Associates Inc. is actually Pocketwizard and the inventor of this patent James E. Clark is one of the brains behind LPA.

Now back to the patent:

"A method for controlling one or more remote photographic flash devices from a camera body, the method comprising:

  • electrically receiving a flash synchronization signal internal to the camera body;
  • using the flash synchronization signal to generate within the camera body an RF signal;
  • communicating the RF signal via a wired connection to an antenna external to the camera body; and
  • wirelessly communicating the RF signal from the external antenna to the one or more remote photographic flash devices.

The patent describes the installation of the wireless communication module inside the camera and even mentions "in a camera such as a Nikon" (see images after the break):

"The wireless communication module of the present invention adds wireless control functionality to existing devices, for example cameras. The module is inserted in a device that was originally designed without, or with different, remote control functionality. A device including the module can remotely operate other devices using the existing controls of the device. The module enables a user to remotely operate external devices without any cables running back to the device. It also allows a user to remotely operate other devices that include the wireless communication module."

I guess you will have to send in your camera for this type of modification. Will this void the warranty? I wonder if Nikon is somehow involved in the development of this product.

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  • Ronan

    Imagine the cost to add that…

    Have Nikon & Canon built it in…

    • John

      No.

      Look at what Nikon and Canon charge for their WiFi grips/adapters now. This would be even worse.

      I’m happier if it is something I can integrate if/when I choose vs. what Nikon and Canon would add to the price of every camera body.

      • Ronan

        No.

        Having it integrated in professional and semi-professional models would be MUCH cheaper than having it added after.

        What you are suggesting… is stupid.

    • texasjoe

      Maybe it could be two models, like the iPad. One with a radio one without. It could be a D4 and a D4R. I’m not saying it’s going to happen and I’m not saying it’s probable but it’s possible.

  • http://billrhodesphoto.com bill

    That’s beyond bizarre. I had a dream about this just 2 nights ago. I woke up saying, how come they don’t replace CLS with radio?

    Figures.

    • GlobalGuy

      People have been wondering this for years. I mean seriously, why not!? Do we really need backwards compatibility with all the flashes? Most of them cant even do New CLS right anyway! So why not go radio?? It makes no sense that there can be a Nikon GPS module but they havent even tackled radio or at least teamed up with PW on an inner piece given the INDUSTRY around radio. Common sense FAIL.

  • Michael Winter

    I wonder if this will be based around the Nikon CLS programming built into most current Nikon DSLRs…

  • http://www.zinchuk.ca Brian Zinchuk

    I strongly feel Nikon should license the Pocketwizard tech and incorporate it into all pro bodies and speedlights. Basically, incorporate the ControlTTL mini into the camera and speedlights. That would leapfrog their own optical, line of site tech, as well as Canon’s.

    The problem is radio spectrum. They would have to make CE and FCC, etc models, as opposed to one global model.

    Zinchuk

    • GlobalGuy

      That’s not a real issue. You just need a switch with a cover panel. Switch it in place, cover it in the correct orientation, lock, compliant with the law. At worst its an extra water seal and screw screwed to the left instead of the right.

      Besides, current radio devices have regional problems but that hasn’t stopped far larger and far smaller companies from selling products regionally without issues. If airplane manufacturers AND flash gear manufacturers can do it — with plenty of flexibility — then Nikon can do it.

      • danpe

        It is a real issue as PW doesn’t use 2.4 GHz as they want longer range. An antenna tuned for 433 MHz or 316 MHz will not work as well with 340-354 MHz.
        http://www.pocketwizard.com/inspirations/technology/frequency/
        Given the power output restrictions, you want to tune the antenna to get maximum range.

        • wally brooks

          Its the type of modulation, FM, in this case as opposed to the frequency that is as important in signal prorogation. Both of these frequencies with FM propagation are line of sight and as long as there are not other factors such as cross polarization of receiver and transmitter antenna (one pointed vertically one pointed horizontal for example), refraction by other objects (trees and buildings), or electro-magnetic interference (which has plagued the Canon version of this product). both frequencies will travel the same distance if these other factors are not causing problems.

      • Darkness

        So photographers in the USA with the US standard camera cant use them,say, in Europe? Any PW guys out there who have had issues with this?

  • adam

    This isn’t new unless they are talking about using the CLS system.
    I believe pocket wizard has done this in the past.
    check out this from 2003
    || SportsShooter.com: News Item: Posted 2003-04-01

    Go Totally Wireless!
    PocketWizard Inside Nikon D-Series: The Next Link in Digital Wireless Freedom
    here is the link http://www.sportsshooter.com/news/913

  • adam

    PocketWizard inside Nikon D-Series Specifications:

    Range: 1000 feet +
    Frequency: 344mhz (Standard Triggering channels 1 thru 16)
    346.5 – 354 MHz (Quad-Triggering 17 thru 32)
    Code: Complex 16/24-bit digitally coded signals
    Channels: 32 digitally coded Channels
    16 original PocketWizard classic Channels
    16 PocketWizard Quad-Triggering Channels
    Synch Speed: Up to 1/400 (focal plane)
    Power: Uses the Nikon camera body’s power source
    Weight: Internal wafer board adds only 0.16 oz. to the camera

    Please note: Nikon® is a registered trademark

  • adam

    This is taken directly from the webpage that I posted

    The best part of the modification is that it doesn’t void the Nikon warranty on the camera and it only costs $300 direct from Mamiya America in Elmsford, New York.
    * Wireless auto-detection – Channel ID setting
    * Transceiver Technology – Transmit, Receive or do both at the same time, all in one radio
    * 32 selectable channels – Allows multiple users to work together without interference
    * Multi-Zone Triggering – Selectively control which camera(s) or flash(es) triggers remotely
    * Pre-Triggering release – Prevents a remote camera from going into sleep or standby mode
    * SpeedCycler mode – Allow sequential triggering of cameras or flash units
    * Relay mode – Offers simultaneous triggering of a camera and flash units remotely
    * Removable external antenna – Retains standard PC socket function
    * 1000 foot operating range – Offers reliable remote operation at great distances.

  • Chris McDonald

    This looks like a very old patent, they had this technology available when I had D1x’s

    http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/content_page.asp?cid=7-4858-4863

    • http://nikonrumors.com/ [NR] admin

      yes, it looks the same, the patent was filed on July 26 2010

  • http://istudio.isaacalonzo.com Makatron

    I don’t see a reason to send my camera to get this mod done, so instead of getting a new device to add to my current gear, I have to send my camera to them (cause I’m not doing it myself for sure) and what am I suppose to do? Rent a body?

    I tried RadioPopper PX system and now I’m buying one set for myself, you get to use CLS over RF to extend the reach so you will always have control of all your flashes from the commander instead of having someone else doing it, you save time and keep everything under CLS umbrella saving time. Heck yeah they are expensive but once you get the speedlights paired with FourSquare you are all set.

    Even though I can imagine Nikon including CLS over RF in the future with either the high end bodies or as an optional gadget (like the wifi module today) and get the capabilities to the speedlight in a couple of years.

    Just makes sense to me.

  • RD

    I’m a little teapot…

  • http://haroldellis4444@gmail.com Harold Ellis

    FIRST OF ALL THIS SHOULD BE ON ALL NIKON CAMERAS DIRECTLY FROM NIKON!

    lame you nikon for giving us lame optical only CLS for so long.

  • http://nikonkrab.multiply.com/ HDZ

    I think CLS is great but this just a lot of better. :P

  • http://mflinck.blogspot.com/ Madias

    Real photographers use ebay triggers , price 30€ ! Like i do.. haha

    • http://products.plantae.sk miso

      +1

  • Noel

    This is patent is out of date. It relates to the intergrated pocket wizard for teh Nikon D1 which was provided by Mamiya US. The imagfes shown on the patent are clearly teh Nikon D1 – look at the bulge on the rear left, no other Nikon DSLR has that bulge other than the D1 which is caused by it’s much thicker LCD unit compared to those used in modern DLSRs.

    It would be nice to think that Pocketwizard, Nikon and Canon would get their heads together and come out with a method of intergrating their units. Given the size of the RT-32 transmitter used in sekonic lightmeters it is not a stretch to imagine a space being reserved in the battery grip of a DSLR to allow a plug in transmitter to be fitted.

  • http://www.tony-smith-photography.com Tony

    I don’t see why Nikon would need Pocket Wizards involvement in any way. CLS is a getting on a little now and Nikon could design it’s own radio solution, in camera, and Pocket Wizard, Radio Popper etc, would be… no more.

    With radio clearly proven to be the preferred option over optical, there would be huge demand for this. Surely Nikon itself would be keen to add such a feature to it’s camera’s. For no other reason than to continue to improve and develop it’s product line.

    • http://haroldellis4444@gmail.com Harold Ellis

      problem is that they didnt, for over 10 years when PW and others were providing solution for pro photographers.
      now, when PW have FlexTT5 with full TTL support, it hurts even more that we pay for crappy video and dust removal features while real improvements have to be done by someone else.

  • Victor Hassleblood

    I am 27th and just having a cup of tea.

    Does that mean anything here?

    BTW pic three of the installing procedure reminds me lot of brain surgery.

  • alex

    Who really believes that no one has patented radio triggers before 2011?
    this must be a very old document

  • http://www.pbase.com/hflphotos Harry Lavo

    This clearly is designed to make CLS wireless. I’m sure there is tacit, if not explicit, cooperation with Nikon. Would be a great addition to future pro-level cameras, and a great modification for existing ones.

  • D700guy

    As often as those internal pocket wizrd units go bad, the last thing I want to see is an internal PW in my camera. I prefer the hotshoe method. Additionally, one does not always use flash, more specifically external flash, so that antenea would just be one more thing to get in the way and break.

  • Ben

    I would not be surprised at all to see this included in the new Nikon Pro cameras. The rumored D800 is rumored to come without a flash, which means no built in controller for off camera wireless flashes. Something like this would resolve that issue.

  • http://micahmedia.com Micah

    I was gonna say, the body in the illustrations looks like a D1 series. It is. Old patent. Why file it now? And what’s the point? All it does today is available in smaller external accessories without bulky antennae.

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