Another day, another Nikon EVIL patent

Mirrorless camera with a mirror?

This time the patent drawings are interesting because they reveal the full glory of the EVIL concept, incl. the electronic viewfinder, which appears to have a... mirror. My guess here is that the mirror is used to magnify the view from the finder:

The mirror could explain also this drawing from another patent that described the EVIL mount - this is not really a prism as initially thought, but a mirror as a part of the EVF:

Back to the patent: the Google translation is again not very accurate, but is enough to understand that this patent is for a protective mount cover (that automatically covers the mount once the lens is removed):

  • Patent Publication No.2010-161569
    • published 2010/07/22
    • filled 2009/01/07
  • Problems
    • At the time of lens desorption, useless thing invades the camera inside.
  • Conventional technology and problems
    • It make a protective cover.
    • A lens end may come in contact with the protective cover.
  • A patent of Nikon
    • A Imaging Box
      • Sealing up space
      • It is formed by protective cover and OLPF, image sensor.
      • Rubber and resin are used for a connection of protective cover and imaging box.
      • Rubber and the resin are form of ring.
    • It possesses a sensor detecting lens desorption.
    • At the time of lens desorption, protective cover is pushed inside.
  • The embodiment of the patent
    • EVF
    • It does not have a mechanical shutter(only use an electronic shutter).

A while back, there was another patent (#20090154915) for a protective mount cover:

"Heretofore, lens-interchangeable type cameras provided with a barrier that, in a state in which an interchangeable lens is not attached, closes off an aperture that is provided in a casing for allowing the passage of object light has been known"

Speculation: we can expect the Nikon EVIL camera to hava protective mount cover and a viewfinder with a built-in mirror.

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  • I am kinda excited to see what nikon has instore for us all in the evil.

  • Ronan

    It has begun.


  • Better than Leica!

    • Nobody Special

      Which Leica are you referring to?

    • David Hasselblaff

      If the EVIL had a pro build and pro lenses then maybe. Yet I highly doubt that will happen. The M9 is one of the greatest cameras I’ve ever used – sharp and compact lenses, affordable and it records its files as DNG! I’d love to see Nikon come up with something similar along with a lens as good and cheap as the Noctilux f/0.95.

      • D40-owner

        Yeah! I mean, $10.000 for a lens is a steal, the 0.95 Noctilux is almost the same price as the Nikkor 50mm 1.8.

      • preston

        I’m sorry, but did you really just mean to say that the M9 is affordable? I would assume you were kidding, but everything else in there is perfectly sensible.

        • David Hasselblaff

          Well, compared to the D3x it is cheap(er).

  • MiW

    I hope nothing less than an APS-C sensor and good prime lenses. Then i will sell my DSLR.

    • gt

      I want this thing. but I would never sell my SLR for one

      • Roger

        I’ll never sell my DSLR either.

        But.. I think there’s a market for a quality mirrorless with a large sensor and prime lenses.

        In a few years, why not a Nikon full frame mirrorless, shaped like S3 2000 for added retro effect, adapters for all kinds of lenses including Leica M, and simultaneous release couple of small crappy zooms for newbies, and small primes for enthusiasts: 21/3.5, 28/2, 35/1.8, 50/1.4, 85/2 that sort of thing. Rangefinder fanatics would go nuts for this camera.

        • rhlpetrus

          EVILs will eventually replace dslrs, not yet though, AF is still an issue, but in due time it will get to the same level as present dslr’s standard.

          • Roger

            I sure hope not. I’d hate to forced to use the garbage EVF’s, and let’s be honest – EVF is indeed garbage compared to OVF.

            Like I said, I’m sticking with the good old SLRs.

            • Eric

              Have you ever tried manually focusing with an EVF? You may not like EVF’s, but garbage they are not. It is far easier to focus with an EVF than it is with an OVF. Plus, they have one other huge advantage, true DOF preview when composing. You can actually see the bokeh halos.

              I like both methods, I really do, but I am done with DSLR’s. I’m an EVF guy from here on out. Of course if Nikon still made OVF’s like they did in the early 80’s then I may change my mind….but I digress.

            • TLR

              You will change your mind Eric, when you will need glasses. With OVF you can see. With EVF you need to put on your glasses, take off your glasses, put them on, take them off, put them on, take them off…

  • Lolly

    I say bring on the F-mount !

    • Xscream

      Agree, but on these pictures it looks more like a -dare I say it?- canon mount, with the flat contacts, and not the round, sticking out, contacts Nikon has. But I don’t know how exact these kind of patent applications have to be in this respect?

      The coves to protect from “useless thing invades the camera inside” is very neat, have always wondered why such a thing didn’t exist yet, or just a piece of non-reflective, easy to clean, glass in the form of a cup or something.

      • Xscream

        coves = cover

    • Highlight

      Buy a Novoflex adapter…

      • Teun

        I hope nikon will bring out an adapter which will support af-(s), aperture with both g and non-g, vr etc.

  • Kevin

    makes me wonder why dont we have automatic caps to prevent “useless thing entering camera body” yet?

    • Discontinued

      As for instance the crumbs of cookies?

  • Makoto Kimura

    so i don’t get it… does this mean anything regarding the 17mm sensor? is that concept gone with the wind?

    • Anonimouse

      Maybe the 17mm sensor will be in the new “G11 killer”? Just an idea…

      • Anonymous

        Do these new patents say anything about the sensor size?

      • Makoto Kimura

        haha admin…. if you only knew how much i troll your site for info regarding the nikon evil. i read that post several times already and it burned my eyes. there just isnt anything special about the DX evil in my opinion.

        If consumers don’t care about the size of the lens then a DX sensor makes sense. However, in that case those consumers will probably be happy with a DSLR. I think the whole point of EVIL format was to emphasize the miniaturization of the system without compromising the image quality by giving a 1/2.3″ sensor. I don’t see that emphasis reflected in a hypothetical DX size nikon EVIL.

        A 17mm format sensor is the sweet spot for this effort I think. It would also be more unique from a product differentiation standpoint and allow nikon to totally own this segment in terms of available lenses in much the same manner that olympus and pana owned m4/3.

        You can disagree with me about what I think consumers want, but from the perspective of camera sales and profits this segment is growing much more quickly than other more established P&S/DSLR ones – most likely for the reasons I cited: as a compromise between image quality and portability.

        • BornOptimist

          I agree with everything you write.
          Remember Pentax 110? Because of the film used it was not that good, but boy was that a nice camerasystem. I wish the Nikon mirroless system would be like this, and I’m also more concerned about the lenses than the camera. The only thing that can let the camera down is Nikon’s reputation of poor AF speed with contrast AF (based on Coolpix experience).
          All I need is a few prime lenses (wide, medium and macro). A F-mount adapter will cover the few times I use a tele-lens.

        • anon

          Precisely. A DX EVIL will be a me-too camera in an already crowded marketplace. Pity some of the trolls round here fail to see this obvious point 🙂

  • Nobody Special

    I agree that the future is here, or right around the corner for EVIL. I like the prospect of it, but the proof will be in how far the technology has come, and of course, how it is to view through.

    It would be great if it is FF.

    • It is getting more wicked by the day.. maybe it even has zoomable eye-piece.

  • What is the likely price-point of the Evil?
    Between P6000 & D3000?

    • I Am Nikon

      Probably above D3000.

      If they use an APS-C sensor and has an F-Mount, then i’ll definitely be higher than D3000 or yet D5000.

  • If EVIL gets a DX sensor, can we expect the existing DX to get a larger sensor too?

    • gt

      that would put a damper on all existing DX lenses – which were designed for the 1.5X crop

  • Scott

    maybe the mirror is to put more physical distance between the eye and the EVF screen. It is hard to focus on something so close to the eye, especially if one is over 40 years of age.

  • Does anyone currently produce an EVF with a mirror inside? I think in all current models you look directly into the EVF. If true, this camera will not be really “mirrorless”.

    • This why I still use EVIL, even though I do not like this abbreviation.

      • BenS

        so what does EVIL stand for ?

        • Electronic Viewfinder Interchangeble Lens camera

          • zzddrr

            This may not be an electronic viewfinder piece. I am thinking about micro mirrors that reflect to the bigger mirror of the viewfinder. (Or sony mirror that you can see through)

            • Discontinued

              It pretty much looks like an EVF. Just look at the patent’s drawing.
              I just hope it won’t came in this SLR-like shape from the drawing. Looks like the cheap imitation of an SLR. Panasonic has such already. If there is no prism VF could be placed anywhere. Hope it comes in shape of a range finder camera (looking a bit like Leica M).

          • rhlpetrus

            Using a mirror in the way the pic shows does not make it an SLR. SLR stands for single-lens-reflex, in contraposition to TSL (twin-lens-reflex), like the old Rolleis. Reflex is meant to be that image was captured by a lens and then reflected by a mirror into the eye-piece.

            One could call these DESLR: digital electronic single lens reflex, but not just DSLR, where just the sensor replaced the film in an otherwise SLR.

    • rhlpetrus

      Isn’t the G1/G2/GH1 line like that? It looks like there’s a mirrorbox somehow.

  • One thing I’ve noticed with the Oly EVF (on the PEN EP-L1) is that it’s not only borderline low-res, it’s also very jerky. I’d hope that Nikon goes with something that’s got not only better resolution, but also a faster refresh rate.

  • DAKK

    > My guess here is that the mirror is used to magnify the view from the finder

    Flat mirror couldn’t be used for magnification, it’s used for compactness of the viewfinder here

    • Alex

      What he said

      old shoulder-mount video cameras had a CRT B&W viewfinder and used a mirror in the same way. The eye piece is 90 degrees to the actual viewfinder. This mirror looks to be used in a similar way.

      • Robin

        Modern pro video camera viewfinders still works that way.

    • VJ

      Am I the only one that thinks the mirror-evf-box looks a bit small to allow for a flash mount above it?
      It would be interesting if the mirror-evf-box were interchangable….

      • It can be in the body, like a range-finder, instead of being on the top plate.

  • GlobalGuy

    I’m liking THIS VERSION of the background, Admin!

    Even though its even closer to CanonRumors, this white on black and all the rest feels pretty good. I think you nailed it. (Sorry by the ALL white was just terrible).

    This does feel better than the all black. I concede. Good job.

    • Kevin


      • dgm

        Weird, couple of hours ago it was white + black border (great compromise) … now it is back to all White

        Good luck Admin, keep on the good work (both rumors and site)

        • I haven’t changed anything – just clear your browser cache. I am still tweaking stuff like fonts, text size, etc.

      • D40-owner

        +1. White bkground with black borders is very good!

  • I hate this evil-cam idea !

    • Carlos R B

      I love it…carrying around my camera all the places…

  • PeterZheng

    The DSLR’s AF innovation might be showing on Photokina 2010?

    • rhlpetrus

      I’ve read already about a camera w/ dual AF system, phade detector and contrast detector. Can’t find it though, thought it was the LX5, but not.

      • Fuji F300-EXR with hybrid AF

  • The invisible Man

    What a world…………………

    I went on Adorama’s website to take a look at the Leica M6 (I like to dream early in the morning).

    A full page of features, specifications, etc…. and not ONE WORD about the fact that the M6 use MANUAL FOCUSING LENSES.

    Of course people like us know about it, but why hide the fact that the M6 is a manual focusing camera ?

    Is it a shame to be a manual focus camera ?

    Do they plan to “trick” customers who don’t know much about Leica cameras (and what the point ? They will return the camera immediately).

    Maybe I’m too old, too crasy, too french, but I don’t understand why they are doing this.

    • Victor Hassleblood

      “What a world …”

      Oh boy, there is a reason to be concerned.

      The last time I bought a baguette there were no warnings that it won’t have AS (auto slice) either. I don’t understand you.

  • broxibear

    Where did the name “Evil” come from?…was it on the patents or another rumour ?

    • Anonymous

      Austin Powers vs Dr Evil

    • gt

      Electronic Viewfinder Interchangable Lens!

    • Victor Hassleblood

      Acronym for Electronic Viewfinder Interchangeable Lens. Thought everybody knew by now.

  • Anonymous

    It is very sad that Nikon is far behind sony when it comes to innovation –

    • BornOptimist

      And what’s so special about this?
      Isn’t this much the same as Fuji came up with years ago (that was a CCD I know, but the thing here is the shape of the pixels, or do I miss something)?

      • Anonymous

        yes, the shape. It is able to capture more photons. Now more photons captured yield with better ISO.

        • BornOptimist

          I understand that, but what I don’t understand is what’s so innovative with this when it has been done by others some years ago.

          • zzddrr

            If it was done the way sony did it then sony wouldn’t get patent on it. So something makes this unique not just the shape. On the other hand, I cannot recall 1 Nikon sensor patent.

            • BornOptimist

              Well they have at least one patent for a full color RGB-sensor:
              And with all respect to Sony, that is a bit more innovative if you ask me.

            • BornOptimist

              And ofcourse they can get a patent on the “same invention” as Fuji, because Fuji’s sensor is a CCD, while Sony is a CMOS

  • brave new world

    This is a nice design – no moving mirror, but a fair change to be all electronic and have fewer mechanical weaknesses. The price must be lower now – no mirrow box, no penta-prism … and weight should also be in the 500-600g area

    • Victor Hassleblood

      “fewer mechanical weaknesses”

      I am more concerned about electronic weaknesses, personally. Am I really? No, not anymore. I have adjusted to the fact that auto focusing digital equipment is much closer to disposable cameras than manual focusing analog equipment has ever been. Just the way it goes.

  • Gahl

    Sorry…maybe a stupid question…what is item #40 in the image on the main page, the one hi-lighted in red? If you notice it is placed in 2 different positions in the two drawings, does this means it is supposed to move? TIA!

    • this is actually the moving mount cover – this is what the whole patent is about

  • rhlpetrus

    I’m interested, hope the size of sensor is small enought to make lens small (camera can be very small, just check NEX3/5 by Sony, but lenses cannot be made too small on an APS-C.

    For very good IQ I’d still go for a full-fledged dslr.

    • Roger

      Yes, they can. You just have to make those lenses to have small aperture.

      Olympus is doing the same thing with their M4/3 lenses, they are REALLY slow aperture, that’s why they’re small. If you dont mind having lenses that are equivalent to F/11 on full frame and therefore useless for any serious use, you can have small lenses on any format, including APSC.

  • FakeKenRockwell

    Would be interesting if it were M mount compatible.

    • Roger

      The reason for using M mount lenses is lost when mounted on a crop camera, imho. I mean, I see people mounting them on M4/3 and laugh my ass off – you put a 4,000$ 50/1.4 on a M4/3 and get what? It now has an identity crisis and acts like 100mm lens. So, you put a 4,000$ lens on a M4/3 to get what you can buy for 400$ on full frame camera.

      But hey, it’s their money…..

  • Wierdo

    I need a smaller camera, I can’t be secretive around my friend 🙂

    EVIL or G11 killer Hmmm….
    Anyone have a guess how much for either one?

    What if Coolpix G11 killer is actually an EVIL?

    I hope they come out with an awsome range finder cam, I want something like the M9 with full frame at 1500 or so…

    Nikon please develop this camera, and please don’t take 10yr just to make one… Just like the D700 replacement 😛

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