Patent application for AF in a video/TV camera with interchangeable lenses

Last year Nikon filed a patent application #20100110236 for an autofocus in a video/TV camera with interchangeable lenses. Here are some quoted text from the patent application- note that they used the word "inexpensive":

"The present invention relates to an autofocus apparatus and a camera that are used for a camera, mainly for a video camera and particularly for a TV camera. The present invention also relates to a lens barrel and a camera that are used chiefly for a lens interchangeable type video camera and particularly for a lens interchangeable type TV camera.

There have hitherto been two kinds of autofocus apparatuses as an autofocus apparatus for a camera. One type is generally called a crest climbing type autofocus apparatus used for mainly a video camera. The other type is called an image deviation type autofocus apparatus employed for chiefly a still camera. The two types of autofocus apparatuses will hereinafter be described with reference to the drawings.

It is a primary object of the present invention, which was contrived under such circumstances, to provide an autofocus apparatus, a camera and a lens barrel that are inexpensive and capable of focusing quickly with a high accuracy.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a lens barrel capable of actualizing an autofocus function even when attached to a camera body incorporating no autofocus function.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide an autofocus apparatus capable of focusing on a photographing target at a high efficiency."

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  • NikoDoby

    Dang looks like I might lose a bet on whether Nikon would ever make another camcorder!

  • Artur

    They want to upgrade Nikon QV-1000C or DS-515 , LoL

  • Shows that R&D is active despite all the negativity we’ve heard in recent days.

  • blurb

    I dont care about those hand drawed blueprints anymore. would like to see some real things. Nikon reminds me a bit of SEGA : a small video game company with a HUGE potential in technology & design, that sadly sunk itself.

    I recently “moved” to canon only for the video purpose & the only advantage I see in Still photography is the proper exposure & the 18MP sensor. The AF & Flash system, on the other hand, is waaaaaaaaay behind Nikon. Nikon CAN do what Canon cannot, so DO IT NOW !!!

    • amunk

      I know I hope this isn’t sega all over again

    • amunk

      I owned the 32X too btw

      • blurb

        πŸ™‚ 32X was a neat project, just came out 1-2 years too late, like the 3DO hybrid machine… The Sega Saturn was each children’s arcade dream machine, especially with its 4MB (!) expension card. I still own 1 with lots of 2D games. For 3D, sadly, Sony at everything around, with a bunch of crappy games though. The mcdonald of the videogames consoles was out !

  • The overhwelming attention to “television” makes me think– no plans for a 1080p. Which I’ve heard no “immediate” plans, us gov wants to pull stills from video, nikon caters to what gov. Wants. That means i and not p.

    My 2 cents.

  • Paul

    If Nikon can get a good fast AF to work in video out to market soon, they *could* have a game changer on their hands.

  • blurb

    With drawings I can Teleport Unknown species to other planets.
    Nikon has to make a big move & quick.

  • Anonymous

    You guys need to “read”.

    It says clearly the main target is for TV camera, which spells not for 90% of people here unless you work in a TV Station.

    Currently such lens is only available to broadcast stations in Japan.

  • Alfredo Fernandez

    oh shit know..
    thats how nikon is gonna feel, if ti doesnt wake up now!!

    • Alfredo Fernandez

      First ,
      oh shit no…
      thats how nikon is gonna feel, if it doesnt wake up know

      • you still fucked it up the 2nd time :/

        • Alfredo Fernandez

          im peruvian…sorry for my bad inglish but you get the idea πŸ˜€

          • Mark

            Dont worry your inglish is fine πŸ˜€

  • Ren Kockwell

    Man the rumor mill has ground to a halt. This looks like a video camera I had 25 years ago. Is that a Beta deck I see?

    • Yes, as aways it is very slow after an official announcement.

  • Alex

    Make it 4K, 35mm sensor with 24,29.97,50,59.94p frame rates, solid state media, genlock, timecode with 8 channels of PCM 32 Bit 192khz audio.

  • zseso

    If you combine this with my earlier prediction that the new mirrorless Nikon would/should concentrate more on video first, and photo on second, then a 17 mm sensor (with 2,5x crop factor) make a real sense.

    If Nikon makes a I(nterchangeable)L(ens)(video)Camera with great photo (10 MP) ability – that would be a kicker!

    (Small form factor, HD video w/ near broadcast compression, full manual zoom, ssd/SD memory etc.)

  • What I like here is the use of the word “inexpensive”.
    That should make me happy but then I’ve dropped any form of hope when I see plenty of people buying Leica cameras and thinking they also are “inexpensive”.
    That word just doesn’t mean the same to everyone.
    To me inexpensive means under 1000€. So yeah, I guess I’m just a tramp with an appetite for photography. πŸ™‚

  • Darkness

    Wicked! Bad! EVIL?

  • alex

    well a TV camera is usually called a professional video camera, broadcast quality camera

    maybe they just want to get into the video market knowing their sensors and other features would be the same or better than competition

    • Yes, this patent does not fit anywhere in their current line, but a cheap f-mount video camera will definitely be interesting.

  • alvix

    ..that handle looks like the new Pana AG-AF100 …

  • roland

    You wanted video, you got it.
    You’ve been served!
    It’s on…

  • pethunia

    Mmm.. And I was seriously getting used to the idea of doing film/video with a DSLR. Would LOVE to have the control of a SLR camera with moving-pictures. Including manual focus, full-frame sensor, using the whole range of wide-to-tele lenses available for the F-mount, control lighting and frame-rate manually..
    In addition to the idea of finally acquiring a new camera that can replace my D200 with full-frame capability, better viewfinder, better high-ISO and somewhat more resolution..

    So please Nikon, introduce that new FF-camera soon, so that prices can go down and the initial bugs worked-out.

  • The invisible man

    Nikon, 18 days before my birthday, the D700x/D800/D900 better show up soon, or I’ll buy a Pentax.

    • what pentax are you going to buy that is as good as the current d700? what lenses can you get that will be better than nikon lenses? (i’ll admit the limited primes are nice and pretty reasonable…)

      • Alfredo Fernandez

        you dont get it right?

    • Happy Birthday invisible man πŸ™‚

  • Nikon

    I have been wondering for very long time now. Is Nikon sleeping or are these companies working together behind the curtains. Since Nikon could basically form it self into a position where they can buy their own sensor companies and cpu companies at will thanks to huge income from .. full hd raw video shooting DSLR that has all the stuff that Canon Lacks. like 1080p out, fast evf, 4 mpix full frame sensor for 1080p video with ultimate sensirivity.. basically double 1080p resolution sensor pixels. So a video can be downscaled via perfect 50% ratio for max quality.

    Nikon would get so much market share . that canon would cry out loud for unfair competition.

    • blurb

      “Is Nikon sleeping or are these companies working together behind the curtains”
      I think you hit the nail here. Canon & Nikon & sony are very certainly “working together” with some trust accords to share the dslr & video market. They all could come out with some killer stuff but prefer to trow each other the winner ball from time to time. People switch more often & this increase the sales of lenses. Because people are never satisfied, this works.

  • blurb

    Panasonic claims to be matching the 35mm movie sensors ( frame is in the hight, not in the width) with its 43 sensor, but this is not true at all. APS is much closer to 35mm movie framing than any other sensor on the market. FF is too shallow for better depth of field & 43 lacks dynamic range & nice shallow depth of field. (unless we have a 4K sensor with HUGE PIXELS & not useless Millions of pixels fighting to get a stiny amount of light)

  • Edward Nafzger

    Nikon come on my birthday is on the 18th hurry up

    • amunk

      Hopefully you mean October 18th and not May 18th

  • amunk

    Let’s look at the bright side of this whole lack-of-update situation people! We now have a good 6 Months to raise the necessary funds to splurge on a new piece of equipment! I know all of you don’t have $1500 laying around anyway – so get going with that. Start filling your piggy bank.

    • JorPet

      That’s my thought exactly. I already spent my $5K on gear for this year, have to wait until next bonus season which is in March. So an announcement in October with availability in Jan-Feb would be PERFECT (for me…).


  • Hobbit

    Ahhh, I need D700 replacement rumors. Each day that goes without them, my life spirals deeper into depression.

    • Anonymous

      rumor is, it is not yet there, and not yet here

    • preston

      haha, i like your honesty πŸ™‚

    • amunk

      If there’s no new camera body by the time I run out of anti-depressant pills, I’m moving to pentax!

  • Is it going to be a movie camera that takes stills or a still camera that takes movies. It has got me baffled.

  • Is it going to be a still camera that takes movies or a movie camera that takes stills.

  • HDZ

    Wish it’s full compatible with old NIKKOR.

  • tim416

    Forget about Nikon going after the Canon 5D mark II. Looks to me like Nikon may be going after the RED EPIC camera. If Nikon is able to produce a 5k video FX sensor using F-mount lenses, I think Nikon will have a winner for film makers. This seems to be the direction of the film industry, I think now is the time for Nikon to get on board with a camera designed for video first and stills second. If the price was right, I would buy.

    I would hold on to my D700 for still though.

    • ArtTwisted

      I would love to see a true RAW output small video camera with FF sensor from both Canon and Nikon, these could take decent stills and then they could keep putting the more compressed lower res video in the SLRs but still keep it good quality and focus more on the stills.

    • ken elliott

      I agree. As someone that has used a ‘real’ video camera, I’d rather Nikon produce a F-Mount video camera. I could care less about half-baked video in my still camera. I’d buy a Nikon F-Mount video camera to replace my Canon Camcorder. I’m just fine with my D700 for stills. But a video camera that could use f-Mount lenses? A winner for sure, if the sensor is DX-size. FX would be fine, but DX is actually closer to the size of 35mm motion picture film.

  • blurb

    I bought a Canon T2i only for video purpose. The quality is simply unbelievable. motion picture on a small cam. Nothing to do with the jerky D90-D300s video.
    I can even mount my old Nikon glass with 20$ Nikon-to-Canon adaptors. Life is great, dont wait & buy the right products when they are available !!!

  • Donald

    Hi Blurb
    Unless you have found a new magic adaptor you lose autofocus functionality, not good when shooting video in my experience.
    I’ll wait for a new Nikon DSLR with better video implementation , Nikon have already said it’s coming for the D90 , hopefully others too.

    • ArtTwisted

      how much video do you shoot with auto focus? Manual focus will yeild much better results

      • blurb

        exactly, autofocus can be usefull only for certain applications. Manual focus is the best way to go when doing pro work.

  • Scalesusa

    In the image, the words “Prior Art” means that this is a sketch depecting the old way of doing it. its there only for comparison with the invention in the patent.

    Those who commented on the diagram looking like a 25 year old design are correct, it is.

  • Donald

    Hi Art Twisted
    I mostly shot wildlife , often in poor light (best time to see) so shallow dof,
    frequently the subject is moving and I have very little time to catch the shot, if I tried to manual focus I reckon I’d miss it or get a blurred image more than 50% of the time, not worth the risk.
    What are you shooting on video in manual focus ?

    • blurb

      wild life video documentaries are shot using manual focus. look at your question buts reversed : if you shoot video using autofocus & while aiming at a wolf, the wolf suddenly dissapears, backround becomes instantly in focus. This is not nice looking. AF is very usefull in still photography though, it tracks the animal or subject while you are tracking it with your eye & hands, the final result is 1 sharp shot, in video, final result is blur-sharp-blur-sharp while tracking with AF.
      The best way to go is using HD, framing a bit wider, a good F stop for ok depth of field on the subject, a sturdy Tripod with Fluid video Head & lots of training ! πŸ™‚

  • Donald

    Thanks , unfortunately I’m not a pro wildlife cameraman sitting in a hide with a tripod , I’m more an opportunistic video guy & often opportunities arrive at dawn or dusk when animals are more active so I don’t have any choice re fstop.
    I agree your right for pro shoots but I’m afraid it would not work for me , by the time I have spotted the subject , got camera up & locked onto it I am damm glad autofocus works so fast, thankfully I tend to be out in open ground , or at sea or shooting birds in the air so the bush scenario arises rarely but it’s a good point to watch out for I agree. Horses for courses like a lot of things.

    • tim416

      I’m a huge fan of the old Nikkor manual focus primes. I realize that today’s f2.8 AF zooms can produce fantastic results, but I just love the feeling of my D700 with an old Nikkor MF 85mm f1.8. I just love the way the 6 blade aperture makes out of focus elements look. I’ve always wanted to do some video projects using those old lenses. I look forward to the day when I can use my old lenses on a video camera just like the years I spent waiting for a full frame DSLR I could use them on. Part of me just feels good about being able to use a 30+ year old lens on a brand new camera.

      But you are also correct, there are times shooting live action when without AF you will simply not be able to produce usable images.

  • blurb

    you can easily set your prime lenses to F8 & shoot at iso 100 on a 1/50 video shutter speed & keep the action tack sharp !

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