The latest Nikon patents (100mm f/2.5 medium format lens, RGBW AE array)

Nikon 100mm f:2.5 medium format lens patent
The first patent application is rather unusual - it describes a Nikon 100mm f/2.5 medium format lens. As far as I can remember, this is the first medium format lens patent from Nikon.

Nikon 28mm F2.0 lens patent
Nikon filed a patent for a mirrorless 10mm f/2.0 lens (28mm equivalent) with 9 elements in 2 groups and 2 aspherical elements.

Nikon AE sensor RGBW array patentNikon Organic EL patent
There are also two other patents for a new AE sensor RGBW (or RGBY) array where the W (Y) will measure the brightness of a scene and a "transparent organic EL" that I assume is a layer on top of the sensor and can be used as a shutter or a ND filter.

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  • alvin

    now..thats interesting !

  • Spartanzero

    Maybe Nikon are thinking of trying to capture some of the medium format market,first with lenses then with bodies at a later date?
    If so, then I think they have got to be really on top of their QC, as medium format is very tough market with lots of established players.

  • Mike

    So I take it Nikon is getting into medium format business? Since I heard Canon might get into the market as well.

    • RMJ

      The obvious reason. If one does something, the other will also.

      • Vic Lau

        Nikon don’t make photocopier and calculator.

        • RMJ

          Nor video cameras…

          What’s your point ?

        • BroncoBro

          And Canon doesn’t make microscopes, binoculars and semiconductor steppers.

          • Juergen.
            • BroncoBro

              I stand corrected…I had no idea. I am a bit of an avid binocular user, yet Canon hasn’t been on my radar. I’m sure they’re pretty nice considering their camera lens reputation.

            • John Moyer

              Canon’s stabilized binocs are incredible. If you have ever used them, you’ll agree OIS more than offsets the lesser optical quality of Canon vs. other high-end binocs at that price. Look thru a set of 12X, 18X etc. with OIS and you willl be amazed at how clear the image is, signs are readable etc.

            • neversink

              I have a pair of Zeiss rubberized binocs and the quality is so much better than my Nikon binocs or any Canon binocs I have ever tried. Clarity and color are not at all compromised on the Zeiss, and low light isn’t bad either.

            • BroncoBro

              I, too, have a pair of Zeiss rubber armored. 7X42s. I love the look on people’s faces after they take a glance through them. I bought them in 1985 and they still amaze.

            • neversink

              They not only have incredible optics, but they are perfectly balanced and the classic design is gorgeous.

          • Sahaja

            Canon does make IC steppers – but their market share is less than Nikon’s.

            In 2001 Nikon had a 41.6% share of all IC stepper units shipped,
            compared to 34.8% for Canon and 22.4% for ASML. In 2011, Nikon’s share
            dropped to 27.8%, Canon’s share dropped to 15.2%, while ASML’s share
            increased to 57.0% – and was still growing.

      • Spy Black

        Yeah, but it’s who gets there first that counts.

        • RMJ

          So the Chinese guy from 11th century who invented camera must be a billionaire since no other competitors ever was created ?

          • RMJ

            And not to even mentioned the guy who invented the wheel or fire !

            • Remedy

              You mean God? :)

            • RMJ

              No, I mean fire. But it’s of course possible that the same guy came up with the god concept, too.

          • Spy Black

            The Chinese guy made a MF digital camera back in the 11th century?

        • Shawn

          It’s actually not who gets there first, but who perfects it that counts.

          • Spy Black

            Good point, but think 6mm f/2.8, 13mm f/5.6, 58mm f/1.2, etc.

    • Art

      The rumor I heard that Nikon was going to start putting out view cameras. 😉

      • Vin

        Nikon made some of the best view camera lens. Nikon did make excellent large format lenses for view cameras. Darkroom equipment was also great, medium and larger format. They were known for great contrast. Very crisp sharp lines. It was always easy to see the grain patterns in low light.

        • peteee363

          I only used nikkor large format lenses, they were awesome.

          • Art

            All joking aside, as much as I love the digital revolution, I truly miss using a view camera and the hours and hours spent in the darkroom with that chemical smell. While I don’t have access to a good darkroom anymore, it doesn’t mean I don’t miss it!

            • Vin

              Me too, I still have my large view camera’s, and my darkroom equipment, but currently no actual room for set up. I miss it as well.

            • zoetmb

              That chemical smell was probably responsible for many severe illnesses. As a kid, in the summer when it was hot, inhaling hypo would close my throat. I’d run out of the darkroom gasping for air.

            • neversink

              I loved the Nikon enlarging lenses. The Scneider lenses were not bad either. I still have all my darkroom equipment in storage — this includes three Omega D5 enlargers with different heads cold light and color. Maybe I’ll set up a darkroom again.
              However scanning negatives seems to be an incredible solution to the darkroom. Both processes are time consuming– but the darkroom is definitely a more enjoyable and organic experience.
              As far as noxious fumes go, I had colleagues who developed (pun not intended) severe rashes and allergies to fixer and other chemicals. Thankfully, I never felt any illness attributed to the darkroom. Ventilation is key. My darkroom consisted of two windows blackened with an air conditioner in each. One bringing in fresh area over a dry workspace and one air conditioner installed near the wet chemicals pushing air out the window.

          • Vin

            Look up John Sexton B&W landscape photographer, he used primarily all Nikon lenses for view camera work. Low light, from the Adams traditional zone system.

        • A. Lurker

          The 50mm EL-Nikkor on my enlarger right now is better than the Schneider Componon it replaced; better contrast. Not by much, but it’s there.

          • neversink

            I agree, but I always used an EL Nikkor 80mm for printing from 35mm negs. I thought it was sharper than even the 50mm, perhaps because I was using less of the edge than the 50mm. All this talk of darkroom is making me nostalgic!

      • neversink

        I heard Nikon was going to be producing giant camera obscuras!!!

    • zoetmb

      No way. There’s no market there. A very few high-end professional studio photographers is not enough of a market. The magazine business is crashing. I can imagine someone making the argument that since the consumer market is disappearing, Nikon (and others) should return to the super-pro market and produce medium format, but FX is certainly more than enough outside of the studio. Medium format is a small niche market and Nikon doesn’t do niches anymore.
      They’d be better off doing more for FX customers in terms of new lenses and bodies. That’s where both mass and margin exists.
      At one time, I probably would have welcomed a reasonably priced equivalent of 2 1/4 — perhaps double FX. But I just don’t think it’s needed anymore.

  • bgbs

    MFD is definitely interesting. I guess Nikon might be realizing that the future is bigger in bigger sensor. Smartphones basically eroded low end camera market, and thus Nikon realizes that it needs to climb higher not to get washed out from underneath.

    • MyrddinWilt

      More likely it is hiding a design technique that was developed for some other format. Nikon do not patent every design they sell and they do not sell every design they patent. Most designs actually use multiple patented techniques.

  • Monteraz

    As a matter of fact Nikon made medium format lenses in the past, they are rather common in the Zenza Bronica system i.e. I presume they were made with patents.

    • Juergen.

      Yes, Zenza Bronica and Plaubel Makina. But also large format lenses, for an introduction see e.g.

      • BroncoBro

        Yes, the view camera lenses were really exceptional. I had a Nikkor-W 180mm f/5.6 that was phenomenal.

      • Photo-Jack

        Yes, lenses. But to improve the revenues, Nikon need to take it to the next level. A Nikon S2 with the latest sensor, AF and buffer technology to the next Photokina. That would raise some attention! SLR formfactor not the typical MF cube. Imagine a D800 on steroides plus the equivalent of Nikon’s lens hly trininty, this would plunder my bak account
        But then, however, Nikon needs to take a seminar at Fuji: How to plan and issue a lens road map and how to follow the map.

        • RBR

          If Nikon is to offer a MF camera of its on manufacture, something drastic will have changed in the sensor production area.

  • BroncoBro

    They made the lenses for the very fine Bronica cameras in the 1970s. Didn’t Nikon patent those?

  • BroncoBro

    THAT’S IT!!! It’s going to be an M400, not D400!

    • goose

      Crop Medium format?

      • tertius_decimus

        Yep. It’s called FX, LOL.

        • Remedy

          I see what You did there 😀

  • peteee363

    if they do enter medium format, it would be cool if they would finally make a perspective control lens for medium format.

    • Mr. Mamiya

      There are several perspective control options available for medium format. Why do you want Nikon to do another one, and what do you think they could add to that, that others don’t have?

  • V1ian

    10mm f2.0 mirrorless lens patent indicates that Nikon is not done with the 1 system.

    Here is hoping to a V3 with the latest Aptina sensor and enough buffer for shooting 4k video.

    10 seconds would suffice, 1 minute would be a dream.

    Oh, and: BRACKETING!!!!

    • stoooopid

      They are either not done with the 1 system, or this is just Nikon clearing out the old designs laying around on engineers desks. Those engineers presumably moving on to other projects, not related to 1 system. But I hope you are right, I love the 1 system. Wish for better high ISO, but still it is a good system. I will definitely buy the next 1 system body that has really good IQ. I have a J1 and V1. I don’t think the V2 was a step forward in IQ. In controls, maybe, but not IQ. So I am waiting for a 1 system body with really good IQ. It will happen, just will take some development time. There seems to be a lot of interest in 1″ sensors, so that is good.

      • RBR

        Yea, Nikon simply wants to protect the work that is already done.

  • Spy Black

    Better get to the gym if you plan on lugging the 100mm f/2.5 MF lens around.

    • Roger

      Why, my old Pentax 105mm f/2.4 was a piece of cake to carry

      • A. Lurker

        With the change in sensor size I believe your analogy doesn’t apply. My 50 Summicron V4 is about half the volume of either my 50/1.4 Nikkor-S Auto or my 50/1.4 AiS. Both 50mm, both cover 24mmx36mm. Something to do with distance to film plane and required coverage, (I’m not an optical designer). But your 105 would probably be a good deal bigger if designed for MF. Those Takumars were pretty nice, huh.

        • Joseph

          He IS talking about MF, learn your history if you’re going to talk like an expert.

          A Pentax 67 is a big camera, but the 105/2.4 “normal” is quite small, only a little bigger than a 50/1.4 today.

          Heck, I have a Schneider Xenotar 80mm f/2.8 lens for my 6×7 Century Graphic, and it’s SMALLER than any 50mm Nikon makes. That camera isn’t an SLR though, so no need for retrofocus designs.

      • Spy Black

        It was a joke…

  • Vin

    I have thought lets just have a 36mm X 36mm sensor or perhaps 40mm X 40mm. Then lenses with a slightly larger image circle. Then we could have a wonderful system with perspective controls. A 100mm f2 could do that.

    • peteee363

      according to the patent, it is a 120mm image circle on this lens.

      • Vin

        That is pretty large, hmmmm?

        • Vin

          Actually that would be an appropriate ratio for an 120 mm image circle to a full frame studio camera with tilt shift, swing. A large format studio camera that can have longer bellows has more shift needs more image space.

  • Mark

    This is exactly what I (and I’m sure many other photographers) predicted a few years ago. No real surprise, but it’s very exciting indeed. Either way, it’s sure to be incredibly expensive.

    The question is..will it be digital right out of the gate?


  • djm

    Are you sure this isn’t a tilt-shift lens? It’s another reason to use a large image circle.

  • djm

    Are you sure this isn’t a tilt-shift lens? It’s another reason to use a large image circle.

  • whisky

    nikon’s tilt/shift lenses also require a larger image circle akin to medium format. as far as i can tell, there is insufficient information in the patent notes to determine whether this design is for a tilt-shift F-mount or other.

    • Remedy

      100mm tilt-shift? Doubt it.

      • Vin

        Tilt and shift would be in bellows attachment, any lens can be tilt and shift as long as it casts a large image circle. Could be f mount or not. Could be for close up photography.

  • fjfjjj

    This is gonna be BIG!

  • David K

    I’d love a really large format Nikon mirror-less or DSLR with a few killer prime lenses. Let’s go baby! Swing for the fences!!!

  • Neopulse

    In my opinion it would be a release in 2015 a medium format. But I hate to say this, but I don’t think the first MF sensor they make will be ridiculously successful. I mean, the 645D was using a shared Hasselblad Kodak CCD sensor and it did “well.” But making a sensor to compete from scratch I think it’s gonna be difficult with already a competitive market.

    • peteee363

      using the design for the d700/d3 sensor, only larger would be cool. the large pixels made for some stunning photos. can you imagine a larger version of that?

      • Neopulse

        You mean a 12 MP medium format sensor? And yeah, I mean obviously they probably have contemplated that. But low-noise performance isn’t that easy on a big sensor it seems. But I think having high dynamic range with amazing detail on a smaller sensor I think has been easy to do for them. But imagine trying to be on a market that already has people at the top of their game in it and compete. Honestly MF cameras are meant to be shot at low ISOs rather than ridiculously high and expect zero loss of detail. Not to mention high fps which is ridiculous especially if you have to lug around 24/7 a laptop tethered to it. Compactflash can’t handle it and barely the newest generation of XQD could either in bursts. What I’m saying is that if you want something rugged with low-noise performance and fast shooting, get a 35mm. If you want to take your time and lose out in certain common features at the expense of amazing detail and forgiving 16-bit files, get a medium format.

        • peteee363

          nope, I mean using the same size pixels, over a larger sensor, say 24-36 mp. the d700 had large pixels, which helped with color saturation, and low light. and with that low number of mp, faster speeds would be possible. although when using a medium format camera, I suspect 4 to 6 fps would be more then enough.

          • Neopulse

            I see what you’re saying. Kinda like gluing 3 sensors together (although I am saying that in a rudimentary manner). Well ya never know. 4-6 fps I doubt it. That’s a lot of info. Even Aptus-II 33 MP 44×33 [crop] sensors have a hard time.

  • nikomment

    Just as I suspected, D5: medium format, electronic shutter, EVF, burst rate 2 – 60 fps = killer.

  • saywhatuwill

    Bronica called and they want some new Nikkors for their cameras. :-)

  • saywhatuwill

    i would be more than okay if Nikon made a 6cmX6cm sensor and put it in a Hasselblad v-mount. Heck they can even make a lens in that would fit the glad. I give them permission.

  • CJ

    There is money in the medium format.


    not true
    there was nikon lens for zenza bronica

  • John Moyer

    2 years ago I laughed when I read about the Nikon1 system and the high prices out of the gate; but last month found Refurb J1 with 10-30 and 30-110 lenses for $299. Bought it and have been pleasantly surprised. N1 will be a big hit I predict if Nikon are willing to get the prices in line.

    • Wally in Austin

      I too picked up a V1 does a good job for what is is am now I wait for the next fire sale to upgrade to the V2. If the V3 comes out I will wait for that fire sale instead! Patience grasshopper nikon, patience grasshopper Nikon….

  • guest

    Read the patent carefully, it’s 1.0mm/F2.0, not 10mm/F2.0
    and it has 0.8mm from rear element to sensor, definitely not 1 series lens.

    It is a very tiny lens for very tiny camera, for medical/industry use I believe

    • Remedy

      …or for a smartphone 😮

      • Eric Calabos

        or for a brick smartphone

      • Mr. Mamiya

        I don’t understand the Japanese patent writing nor its Google translation, but 1mm would be ultrawide even for a smartphone. Their 35mm equiv lenses are often around 3,5 to 4 mm.
        As it is said that it is a 28mm equiv lens, the sensor must be really tiny, much smaller than in a smartphone.

  • HKer

    Am all in for Nikon entering the Medium Format arena – I shoot fine art. Phase One and Hasse are damn expensive. Pentax 645 is around 40MP so too close to the D800E in terms of MP. A medium format priced below Phase One/Hasse and I guess above Pentax 645, would fill in a nice gap in the market. Any thoughts folks?

    • tertius_decimus

      Sorry to burst your bubble but that won’t happen. Never. Nikon is famous for charging an arm and a leg, so expect hypothetical MF camera to be more expensive than either Phase One or Hasselblad.

      • Mike

        D3x was $8000 at launch. If Nikon does MF, expect it to be $20k.

        • Jim

          Their best camera ever sells for under $3000 though…

        • tertius_decimus

          That’s exactly what I mean.

      • AM

        Who knows? Maybe there will be an entry-level MF Nikon, with scene modes, built-in flash, and all those gimmicks.

      • Maji

        D800/E costs an arm and a leg?

      • Vin

        I kinda think this is more of a single lens for close-up work on bellows, not the beginning of a new MF line.

        • tertius_decimus

          Good point. I don’t believe Nikon has intention to enter MF territory due to high R/D costs/low sales ratio. People are praying for D300s and D700 replacements but Nikon is stubborn enough to not to adress huge demand. From that standpoint MF camera could be another answer nobody asked for…

          After all, not gonna happen.

  • tertius_decimus

    Fuck the patents, we need releases.

  • HotDuckZ

    Thier will be no FX or DX mirrorless because Nikon will produced Nikon 2 & 3. As everyone know larger = better. :)

  • Mick

    APS-C… FX… MF… I hope the new D5 will came with a bigger sensor. I think it is the normal evolution.

    • Sports

      Bigger sensor => bigger lenses
      I would say that FX lenses are already a pretty good workout if you carry a fair selection with you for an event. And do we really want to multiply lens prices by 4 (or whatever the factor will be)?

      • Roger

        Bigger sensor = no lenses. Nikon has no medium format lenses.

      • Michael Sloan

        @Sports, the last event I went to, I took my D4, 70-200 f2.8, 16-35 f4, 24-70 f2.8, 85 f1.4, and 135 f2. Two extra batteries for the D4, a SB900 with external battery pack and extra AA batteries were also in my kit. I carried the kit around in a sling bag and four days later I still feel stiff in the neck! I’m a big guy and quite capable of carrying a lot of gear, thus I can’t imagine a woman of much smaller statue being able to do the same for an all day event. I can see medium format in a studio, but very limited application elsewhere. Although I would welcome a medium format system for tilt shift movements, should Nikon decide to go that route.

        • neversink

          I think the problem is the sling bag. I have never found them comfortable, nor easy to get at equipment.

  • Sports

    Two years ago, people said that D800 had the potential to eat a large of the medium format market. Well, the D800 along with future FX bodies that’ll be even better.
    It would make the typical “perfect” Nikon sense to enter the MF market now, while they themselves are attacking parts of the very same segment with FX.
    So, please, let this be tilt/shift.
    Nikon, please, do what you’re already good at, and try to focus on the needs of your current, loyal customers.

  • Gordon Moat

    Specialty lens for a 6×9 camera, possibly limited run Horseman, or a Plaubel remake. Niche market like Voigtländer/Fuji 6×8

    Smaller design for Coolpix B camera. Collapsible lens with back focus not matching existing cameras. Personally, I would probably buy a Coolpix B with that sort of lens, especially with faster autofocus than the Coolpix A.

  • Nicu

    for D4x? 😀

  • Smudger

    Presumably for an entry level MF camera?!

  • DaveyJ

    The best super wide 8×10 camera lens I owned was the Nikkor 150SW. It was an awesome lens with plenty enough image circle to do the necessary shifts, swings and tilts. But I do not really miss the large format cameras and their expensive film etc. I for one am not going back to the view camera era. Nikon large format lens sales dropped off quite abruptly when digital started taking over.

    • peteee363

      my back appreciates no longer lugging around all of my 4 x 5 stuff.

  • James M. Atkinson

    It merely looks as is Nikon is preparing to come out with “cinema” version of the D4 (the D4Xs – Cinema, plus a serious medium format camera to compute with the canon cinema lines *(C300, C500) and so on.

  • girls on film

    Wouldn’t it be great?
    D5: medium format, electronic shutter, EVF, burst rate 2 – 60 fps, same size as D4, etc.

  • jdd

    maybe for some kind of Nikon hybrid stills/cinema camera?????

  • j0eb0b

    I doubt this is the first Nikon patent on a medium format lens. They made all the lenses for the Bronica S2 series cameras. Granted that was probably 50 years ago.

  • NikonSteve

    Maybe we’ll get a medium format camera that is backward compatible with 90% of Nikons lenses. Possible?

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