An update on the latest Nikon patents

We've seen in the past that Nikon files for patents of new products few months before the official announcement (this is the general trend, of course there are exceptions and the patents discussed in this post may or may not turn into real products). I am monitoring Nikon patents on a weekly bases and here are the latest applications:

"The present invention relates to a camera-equipped electronic device having functions other than a photographing function, such as functions of receiving and displaying TV broadcasts."

Nikon TV patent camera

Nikon patent: camera with built-in TV


Is that a D3?


Which lens is that?

More Nikon patents after the jump:

"Small size electronic equipment having a projection function is known. With the projector-attached mobile phone, an user can have information projected on a palm of his or her own or on a wall while he or she is calling."

  • I am not sure about that one either, but this is what the patent says (built-in HDR maybe?):

"A camera is per se known that is endowed with the function of, during photography, arranging a plurality of images and combining them into a single image. With the camera, the images that have been obtained by photography are laid out sequentially, in the order in which they were photographed, in a display frame that is set in advance."

And another image combining method.

Previous Nikon patents discussion can be found here.

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  • WoutK89

    Patent of the zoom lens, 3.38x zoom, wide-angle to telephoto, so short focal length to long (example 24-85? But that’s 3,5 something).

    • WoutK89

      Also found this: “the intermediate focal length state (f=12.0 mm)” and “the telephoto end state (f=23.3 mm)”.

      Is 23,3 mm telephoto and 12,0 mm just wide-angle? And it states intermediate for the ‘wide’, so I guess this is a Coolpix lens.

    • WoutK89

      One more: it states wide-angle is 6.18 mm, sorry for all these messages, so the lens will be 6.18-23.3 resulting on a Coolpix sensor in more normal focal lengths

  • WoutK89

    Ok, last one, and admin, if you can pls edit my posts above, or repost by yourself!

    the other lens, will be huge if true, it states 18.4 mm F/1.41, Lets hope that one is true (probably DX?)

    • that’s fine, I will leave the comments so others can follow the discussion

    • Thomas

      This is a family of wide-angle zooms for small sensors (like coolpix). The main characterics are: few groups, at least one aspherical lens, support for perpendicular moves i.e. vibration control. Seems like a new set of zooms for ultr-wide-angle downto wide-angle. Translated to 35mm format: 10 to 35mm. aperture seems to be constant over the zoom range, otherwise the aspherical wouldn’t be included 😉

    • Astrophotographer

      Yes, this has an image diameter of 17mm (image height 8.5) It’s a small sensor but larger than Coolpix. Nikon has a few patents for this image size but no existing cameras to match. So is it for something new of are they designing for a 3rd party?

  • chantastic

    the camera is not a D3. the prism + mirror are all under proportioned. also, it has no attached vertical grip. this is some form of DX camera.

    • The bottom part of the camera is extended, that’s why I was thinking about the D3 (or D2x). I could not match it to any of the existing models – D400 maybe?

      • Nikkorian

        Bam! And there’s a new rumor 😀

        • WoutK89

          Wasnt the D400 already a rumor long time before?

  • NikoDoby

    A D400 would be sweet 🙂

  • The Wallbanger

    “A camera is per se known that is endowed with the function of, during photography, arranging a plurality of images and combining them into a single image. With the camera, the images that have been obtained by photography are laid out sequentially, in the order in which they were photographed, in a display frame that is set in advance.”

    They are describing in-camera sequencing commonly found in action/sports photography.

    Here’s an example of my own..

    • I think somewhere in this patent they mention about merging those images into one

      • Think in-camera HDR. The Sony A550 already has it in production. I think the Pentax K-7 may also, but I may be wrong.

        • Mistral75

          You’re right about K-7 and in-camera HDR (through multiple exposures)

        • iamlucky13

          Or perhaps just panoramic stitching.

          In camera TV reception? Ok, I defended the video modes, but this is getting ridiculous. Besides, as far as I know, that’s been tried on cellphones and failed to attract attention there, either.

          As for the lens drawing, I agree with the poster further down in the discussion that it looks rather like a 50 F/1.8 with a little extra girth (room for AF-S). I actually just held mine up to the screen to compare it. Pretty close. Elements arrangement is different though. The front element of the current lens is very recessed.

          We all know one is coming sooner or later…although I would have guessed later since the 35mm DX F/1.8 is going to be a more appropriate focal length for a bigger segment of the market.

      • The Wallbanger

        “A camera is per se known that is endowed with the function of, during photography, arranging a plurality of images [x number of shots from burst sequence] and combining them into a single image [final composite sequence]. With the camera, the images that have been obtained by photography are laid out sequentially, in the order in which they were photographed [the burst sequence], in a display frame [photo’s background] that is set in advance[background photo taken with tripod].”

        For the photo example I posted above. According to this patent, you would first photograph the still background (in this case the trees and mountain). Then you would photograph the action sequence while still keeping your camera untouched on the tripod. The camera will then automatically calculate a composite image much like auto-stitch in Photoshop, with the subject advancing throughout the frame.

        This patent is not pertaining to HDR, because in HDR photography the sequential order of the photos is not important. The sequential order is only important when objects/subjects are in motion.

  • ArTourter

    The first lens image could be a AF-S 50mm f/1.8G FX.

    The patent mentions “2. The lens tube according to claim 1, further comprising:a driver configured to move the lens retainer along the optical axis and comprising an ultrasonic motor. ” hence the AF-S part.

    from the drawing, the construction is 6 elements in 4 or 5 groups (6/5 for the current D version so pretty close).

    The design also looks pretty close to the 35mm 1.8 AF-S DX, especially the focus ring.

    Just my 2 pence worth though.

    • I did compare it with the 35mm 1.8 DX lens – they are similar, but not identical – 35mm full frame maybe? Here is an image of the 35mm DX lens:

      • WoutK89

        I dont think it is a normal lens, might be some sort of extender/converter. They dont mention anything about focal length or aperture. So until further notice, don’t get your hopes up that it is a lens, might be just a part of lens building they refer to.

        • ArTourter

          Except that looking at the image, you can clearly see the aperture in the middle of the lens, a focus ring and the lens hood bayonet at the front. This is a lens.

          It could indeed be a AF-S 35mm f/2 FX but to me the optics are too “flat” to be a wide angle. when I was refering to the 25mm DX I was only mentioning the focus ring, which seems to the the cheaper AF-S with M or A and no M/A. I still vote for a 50mm 1.8 AF-S full frame 😛

      • MB

        Yes it is almost identical to 35mm DX, but patent states that the principles could be used on a zoom lens so I presume it is some not yet released zoom lens based on very successful 35mm DX design.

  • Thomas

    The question “Which lens is that?” is just one aspect. The other is: the patent application describes the mechanics of the tube construction. My conclusion: it is a very compact design of a tube housing a wide angle (prime, unlikely a zoom) having an ultrasonic-gear with manual override of focus.

    The main invention seems to target size as well as mechanical properties, which lead to a smooth operation while focussing.

    • WoutK89

      So lets wait and see what lens patents will show up featuring these new characteristics 😉

  • Thomas

    My comment on “■I am not sure about that one either, but this is what the patent says (built-in HDR maybe?):”

    The camera records the “tilt”. If you use a tilt/shift lens, then you can create images that can be composed into one image showing a much large field of view than for a single image. It can be used to make obstacles between the camera and the traget object “invisible” and/or can be used to cover a wider view, than the lens would provide. Optionally one might want to combine it with HDR, but the “tilt” is used to change the perspective within a series.

  • Anonymous

    I can accept the video feature on dslr’s but if the built in tv feature ever shows up on them i will scream…. i just refuse to follow the “if you don’t like it don’t use it” logic in that instance if that day ever comes….

    • Tomaocron

      C’mon it LOOKS like a little TV – why not make it a TV? LOL I will scream too…not because the TV is there, but because people will start cursing Nikon for not making it HDTV.

  • Thomas

    My comment on “Mirror retention structure ”

    This is obviously a claim for a more durable and more precise mirror construction (incl frame). These goals are listed in the patent application.

    With an increasing number of frames per second the accelaration becomes
    higher i.e. forces grow. More importantly: damping the sub-mirror becomes more difficult i.e. you’ve less time to make sure the mirror and sub-mirror are back in the target constellation i.e. angle to each other.

  • Pheonix

    The most interesting patent for me is the last one. Looking at the patent details
    the picture angle is for a fast (f1.4) ‘normal’ lens but with a 18.4mm focal length.
    That makes it a 2.4x crop relative to FX – are Nikon going to give us a curve ball -i.e. not micro DX and go even smaller than 4/3?

    • nobody

      You’re sure it’s a “normal” lens? Couldn’t it be the perfect 28mm equivalent wide angle prime for DX?

      • Pheonix

        I was hoping so too but the patent contains the following…
        “the lens system and the optical device are provided with the angle of view of about” – about a 45mm lens in FX speak
        “embodiment is a standard lens whose focal length in terms of 35 mm film size is approximately 35-60 mm”

        My only question regards what exactly is meant by ‘image height’ which it refers to as 8.5mm. Now is that diameter of the image circle? height of a 4:3 ratio sensor? and does that include any extra image overlap over the size of the sensor?

        • nobody

          Could you provide a direct link to these informations? I’m not able to find them.

    • Roger Moore

      “are Nikon going to give us a curve ball -i.e. not micro DX and go even smaller than 4/3?”

      That’s what it looks like. They mention an image height of 8.5mm, which would be a 17mm diagonal. That corresponds roughly to a 1″ class sensor. They had an earlier patent for a ~9x zoom for the same size sensor. It may be that they’re going to a larger sensor size for their high-end Coolpixen.

  • Alex

    My two cents:

    I did a Google search for “Tube Lens,” and the first thing that came up is this interactive learning page sponsored by Nikon:

    Obviously I don’t know for sure, but I have a feeling that the “mystery lens” (the one with the detailed drawing) has something to do with photomicrography. Maybe it’s a microscope lens that you can attach a camera to for medical work…

    I think the last lens patent you posted will be an 18mm F/1.4…. probably a professional lens. Why do I think this? In the patent: “TABLE-US-00001 TABLE 1 f = 18.4 F. NO = 1.41”

    • Pheonix

      Its the rest of thattableentry in the patent which is what I am refering to:
      “TABLE-US-00001 TABLE 1 f = 18.4 F. NO = 1.41 = 50.39 Image height = 8.50 Total lens length = 48.00”
      translates to 18.4mm f/1.4 with FOV 50.4 ~ 45mm equiv. Image height is way to small for FX or DX….

      • nobody

        Found it, thanks.

        • nobody

          Actually these figures work together very well if you assume a 16:9 image format (think video!) of 8.5mm (image hight!) x 15.1mm. The resulting diagonal would be 17.34mm. So the 18.4mm focal length is just a hair above, like 45mm is just a bit more than the FX diagonal. That would fit with the viewing angle of about 50 degrees. And it would mean a crop factor of 2.5 compared to a 24x36mm FX sensor.

          If you crop that small sensor to a ratio of 2:3 it would be 8.5 x 12.75mm, resulting in a crop factor of approximately 2.8.

          Could this indicate Nikon’s response to the m43 system? With an even smaller sensor and a 1.4/18mm standard lens for a start?

          • Roger Moore

            That’s not quite right. “Image height” is a technical term referring to the distance between a point and the optical axis. So talking about a lens with an image height of 8.5mm means that the image circle has a radius of 8.5mm and a diameter of 17mm. That’s still about the same size as you mentioned, but more by coincidence than anything.

            This may be for a µFT type camera or for a larger sensor Coolpix. One of the earlier patent threads had a ~9x zoom designed for the same size of sensor. That could make sense either for an interchangeable lens system- they want to have more than one lens available- or for different Coolpix bodies with different lenses.

          • WoutK89

            WHY is it that no-one refers to a video only device by Nikon with interchangeable lenses? 😉

  • kaki

    i think the slr is d700x or d800. the reasone is that the prizm is big enough but not as d3 for 100% coverage. therfore it is fx slr.

    • MarkusW

      Wouldn’t it be a little late to have the D700x patented _now_?

      • WoutK89

        No why? It would actually be early since it isnt even out yet, and therefore I dont think it matches any of the not yet released camera’s with just an added ‘X’ or ‘S’ (while a 14fps D3s might need a patent…)

        • MarkusW

          Assume for a moment that patent is rejected. The manufacturer could then a) change the patent application and try to file it again or b) have a serious problem. Or both. In any case this would threaten time-to-market. Consider Apple: Apple’s multitouch touchscreen patents had been filed years before the first iPod touch / iPhone appeared on the market.

          • WoutK89

            But did they become available for the public to see that soon too, I mean, D400 is still many months away for all I know

  • kuri

    With regards to the ‘mirror retention’ patent sketch;
    Bear in mind that parts of patent drawings may be ‘indicative’ rather than accurate, i.e. if the patent is for a lens, no need to fully draw a technically correct camera, when simple box may suffice to indacte the camera body, if this is not a key part of the patent. The bayonet and body mount may have to be accurate, but the rest of the body not necessarily.

    Same here, if the body shape is not a key part of the patent, the shape may merely be ‘indicative’ only and not refer to any current or future body shape.

  • MO

    Is it a PANCKAE LENS?

  • MO

    Pancake lens?

  • NikoDoby

    The first patent isn’t a TV . It’s the built-in EASY BAKE oven I keep telling you about and it comes with a pound cake lens not pancakes 🙂

    • rhodium

      Oh, how I wish there was a thumb’s up function here.

      • WoutK89

        Yes admin, we want a comments rating system 😀 so disliked comments can be skipped easily (they would minimalise…)

        • I have this on my list of thing to implement but it will take some time (I am an one man show)

          • WoutK89

            hehe, I know you are, dont worry, and I didnt say it had any priority or such 🙂 keep on doing what you do here, and you wont hear me complain!

  • Kteven Krawczyk

    A short perusual of the lens patent reveals it relates to an autofocus lens design that aims to avoid the “rattle” that afflicts so many of consumer level AF lens designs. This design utilizes a “cantilever leaf spring” to avoid undue movement between the lens tube and the barrel. It also has the additional benefit of preventing focus shift as the camera is moved and tilted.

  • Jo

    The focusing ring of the lens (#32) is small on placed at the very front of the lens.
    Kinda weird, no ?!?

  • getanalogue

    regarding the camera, the multi-exposure mentioned is recalling another rumor discussed here some time ago – Nikon’s so-called milestone plan: Could it be the long-awaited and obviously postponed D400?

    • WoutK89

      postponed, or just you think it is postponed cause you want one?

      • getanalogue

        of course, I want one. And if it is offering multi-exposure for stitching several APS-C shots up to a medium format 50 MP file, or a HDR picture file, would be not so bad? eh? The robust mirror construction would also make sense if you would shoot 4 frames in a 1/125 second?

  • It is interesting, this new lens is obviously NOT an underwater lens. But just as the 35mm DX lens employs an almost perfect “Ivanoff Corrector” on it’s first 2 elements.
    This was used to correct distortion due to refraction underwater on mild WA lenses.
    I would bet on a 24mm/1.8 DX.

  • Chris

    Shooting video requires a mirror lock up.
    But when you shoot, you NEED the mirror to come back down between frames, in order to see what you’re shooting!

    So the Body with mirror lock up, is almost certainely a video DSLR.

    As for the lens, since it’s a symetrical formula, the focal length must lie between 35 and 85mm.

    The rest is just guessing…

  • David

    Could the camera be a Nikon digital FM2 version (or similar) in the making? A more compact FX camera with a new way to increase frame rate in a more compact body.

    – Just a thought

  • Rob Ueberfeldt

    Think a dedicated Nikon DSLR video cam is a great idea. Not at all impressed with video/DSLR camera combo. Can we have dedicated area for bagging video in DSLRs, there seem to be so many dedicated to the opposite. Would love to see “don’t come here if you like video in your DSLR” heading and reading some hard out negative views on the subject.

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