Nikon patents of the week

Patents gives us a glance on what's on the mind of Nikon's engineers, nothing more. In the past, Nikon has filed patents for new products before their announcement (example: the 85mm f/3.5 DX Micro lens). I will continue to monitor all new patent applications with the hope to discover signs of a new product. Here are my findings for this week:

Patent application 20100086296 - fuel cell as a camera power source and a way to get oxygen to the fuel cell:

"In a camera, air orifices for linking the space inside a cell compartment with the outside of a casing are disposed in a position other than the grip portion which is held by a user, in the vicinity of the center of the front surface of the casing, that is, in the vicinity of a lens-barrel. A concave-convex portion serving as an air orifice guard is formed at the side opposite to that where the lens-barrel is disposed with respect to the air orifices. As a result, even when the user takes a picture of an object by holding the camera with his/her own hand, the air orifices are prevented from being closed by the user's hand. Oxygen (air) can be constantly supplied to the fuel cell accommodated inside the cell compartment, and the fuel cell can continuously generate a sufficient quantity of electricity."

Patent Application 20100086293 - focus detecting apparatus:

"Disclosed is a focus detecting apparatus detecting an image offset of an optical system. The apparatus comprises a micro lens array arranged with a plurality of micro lenses, a photo-detector having a plurality of detecting elements provided so as to correspond to each of the plurality of micro lenses and receiving an optical beam from the optical system via the micro lenses, and a calculator that selects a pair of detecting elements from the plurality of detecting elements in accordance with a plurality of aperture values of the optical system and calculates an image offset of the optical system based on outputs from the pair of detecting elements. The pair of detecting elements receive respectively a pair of optical beams passing through different areas of the optical system."

Patent Application 20100085648 looks like another p&s camera lens that is suppose to be good and cheap:

"According to the present invention, a zoom lens and optical apparatus that are compact, generate high image quality yet can be manufactured at low cost, and a manufacturing method thereof, can be provided."

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