New Nikon patents (US update)

I will have another update on the latest patent applications from Japan in few hours. First, the latest patent applications filed in the US:

US patent application 20100238540 proposes a way of eliminating harmful UV light in the lens in order to protect your eyes (if your sun glasses have UV filter, why not your lens?):

"An optical element capable of cutting off the ultraviolet light is very valuable in various uses. For example, when the optical element capable of cutting off the ultraviolet light is used in binoculars and spectacles, it can prevent the harmful ultraviolet light from entering eyes. When the optical element capable of cutting off the ultraviolet light is located on the object side of a member with low ultraviolet light resistance (a lens, a CCD, or the like), it can prevent deterioration of the member with low ultraviolet light resistance. In an optical system of an ordinary camera, an ultraviolet cut filter is interposed in front of a CCD."

"Incidentally, the present inventor has considered realizing fine movie reproduction by using the plural still image frames which are continuously photographed as his or her material. When such a function is realized, images stored as the still images can be disclosed as movies in electronic albums or websites on the Internet, which makes image appreciation even more enjoyable.

Moreover, when the plural still image frames are reproduced as a movie image by a image editing software or the like, it is possible to view a vast number of still images in a short period of time. Additionally, it is also possible to quickly find a desired still image from the vast number of the still images by this movie reproduction.

In such a movie reproduction, approximately 18 to 30 image frames per second are generally necessary in order to display smooth motion like in films or television programs."

US patent application 20100259471 is for a new type of head mount display device with gyroscope sensor that will detect user's head motion (Nikon already has a similar product - the Media Port UP300x video headset):

"There is known a head-mount display device that detects a user's head motion and exercises control according to specific motions. For detecting a head motion, such a head-mount display device uses various kinds of sensors such as for example a gyro sensor (angular velocity sensor), an acceleration sensor, a magnetic sensor, and the like. Various techniques have been developed in order to improve operability of a head-mount display device based on such various kinds of sensors."

"The present invention is directed to a method for estimating a blur direction of motion blur in a blurred image. The method includes the steps of blurring the blurred image along a first test direction to create an artificially blurred first test image, blurring the blurred image along a second test direction to create an artificially blurred second test image, and evaluating the test images to estimate the blur direction. As an overview, in certain embodiments, the proposed method for estimating the prevailing blur direction of motion blur is based on blurring the blurred image in a plurality of different test directions, and finding the test direction for which the blurred image changes the least by the additional blurring. The main idea behind this method is that when more blur is applied to the blurred image in a test direction that is similar to the blur direction, the difference in the image appearance is relatively small. However, when more blur is applied to the blurred image in a test direction that is very different to the blur direction, the difference in the image appearance is relatively large."

US patent application 20100265403 is for a projector - it seems that Nikon is continuing working in this area (Coolpix s1100pj):

"A projector apparatus includes: a projection unit that projects an image onto a projection surface; a reflectance distribution detection unit that detects a reflectance distribution at the projection surface; a density distribution detection unit that detects a density distribution of a base pattern on the projection surface; a smoothing unit that smooths the reflectance distribution and the density distribution; an input unit that inputs image data; a correction unit that corrects the input image data based upon the smoothed reflectance distribution and the smoothed density distribution; and a control circuit that controls the projection unit so as to project the image based upon the correction image data."

US patent Application 20100238560 appears to be for the already announced Nikkor 16-35mm f/4 VR lens:

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  • Anonymous

    Stop it Nikon! Where is a new FX or Pro camera?

    • The invisible man

      Stop it !
      They are working on it, just give them few more years !

      • Anonymous

        @ The invisible man

        You are right.

    • +1
      PS: does author of 1st patent know about existence of common UV filter, anyone have attached in front of lens?
      if UV radiation passed thru lens is so harmfull, why there are only few lenses usefull for UV photography?
      it is better to feed chicken with corn than us with similar patents, nikon…

      • The invisible man

        UV filters again and again !!!!

        The lens’s glass STOP the UV, we don’t need any “UV” filter on front of our lens.
        That is just a marketing business.

        I don’t (an will never) have any UV filter on my lenses, it actually make your lens loosing contrats and sharpness.
        If you need to protect your lens, use a “clear” MC filter (like the one used in the Nikon 200mm f/2 AF-S)

        • “like the one used in the Nikon 200mm f/2 AF-S”

          Oh sure… let me just go order a few of those from ebay or B&H… 😛

  • Gotta love the patent office for allowing patents of the obvious or things already in public domain.

    But I can’t let this go from your explanation: “We are probably not far away from the time when instead of taking multiple photographs of a subject, we will just take a video and then later extract exactly the still images we like.”

    Uh, we already do that. The D7000 even has a built-in Retouch function to do that. But here’s the thing: we’re used to video shot with relatively slow shutter speeds, and the blur in individual frames that results actually looks good to us when displayed as a sequence of frames. So put 24 1/50 second images of motion together into one second of “video” and you get nice smooth motion. If you were to somehow record 1/500 second video frames (and none of the Nikon cameras do; very few video cameras even allow it), they would be sharp and putting 24 of them into one second of video results in a very edgy look–there’s none of the smoothing that 100+ years of motion pictures and video have accustomed us to.

    Thus, if you’re shooting 1/50 second images, the likelihood that you can just pick and choose a still from them isn’t exactly a given. Sometimes you can, sometimes you can’t.

    • Yes, the D3s has that as well (as I mentioned in the post) but I have not seen anyone really using it, or let me re-phrase – currently people are using this feature to extract images of existing videos, but I have not seen anyone on a photo shoot just to take a video and be done with it – this is what I had in mind for the future.

    • Anonymous

      Did we hear saying “luck” when it comes to extracting crisp images from a video source? 🙂

    • Anonymous

      Thom, do you know where Nikon hides the new Pro or FX cameras? Why is Nikon still at 12mp in the FX arena? (D3x does not count, you need a second mortgage to afford it)

      Can we expect anything that stupid patents from Nikon for the rest of 2010? I guess this the year when Nikon does not release any Pro bodies.

      • > Do you know where Nikon hides the new Pro or FX cameras?

        Kind of. I’ll have a lot to say on this when I update my predictions for 2011.

        Somewhere I missed a pivot in some of Nikon’s decision making and priorities (would have been about 18-24 months or so ago). I got a bit of a hint of that when I was there earlier this year, and it’s becoming clearer as more information surfaces. You’ll note that the lenses launched this year are a bit out of sync with the bodies. That’s partly because the lead times on lenses is longer than bodies. A lens will go at least three years from kickoff to ship. Bodies are going two years (less in the case of some).

        I suspect that sensors were the driving force. At the point where it became clear that Nikon could really do a sensor right (mid-2007, D3), the decision would have been “all in” versus “lean on Sony.” It appears the decision was “all in.” This then brings you to the next question: which one(s) first? Competitively, DX makes the most sense. And that seems like what Nikon’s decision was.

        The only thing I don’t understand is why Nikon wouldn’t have moved the D3s sensor to the D700 and produce a D700s. They really didn’t have to do much else (100% viewfinder, CD/SD slot). Could have been done and launched in 2010, and would have matched up well with the 24-120mm and 28-300mm launches. So the only thing I can guess is that they didn’t feel that would have held its own against the 5DII (it wouldn’t have, but the 5DII wouldn’t have held its own against the D700s, either ;~). I think their product marketing missed the ball on this one. There was equal demand for a D700s and D700x, and they decided to pick only one.

        But, other than having to wait longer than you wanted to, I think everything will turn out just fine for you and all the others asking this question ;~).

        • Roger

          I dont even see what’s the hurry, why all this “no new camera, sky is falling!!!!!” nonsense. Nikon already has 2 best cameras on the market – D3s and D3x, so where’s the problem?

          I have no problem waiting for that D4, just make it worth my while. No mirrorless, no god awful EVF, improve QE & read noise over the D3s, put much more megapixels in and get rid of the current ‘crosstype AF only in the center’ AF system – how difficult is that? 😉

          • Most of the “sky is falling” nonsense–and it is nonsense–comes from 5DII envy. Simply put, some think that they need 21mp and HD video in an entry FX still camera. Others think that not having those things means Canon is winning.

            But you are correct, the D3s and D3x beat the 1DIV and 1DsIII, in my opinion, and that of many others. And the D700 is a darned good still for its price. Few people need 21mp, let alone can take advantage of it. More people need low light capability. That’s one reason why a D700s seemed natural to me, and it’s clear from my surveys of Nikon users, that as many want that as a D700x.

            • Saying that more MPs compromise “low light capability” is a big misconception. Sad to see you have it…

              “Few people need 21mp, let alone can take advantage of it.”… then the same could be said about 51 AF points and 10fps. At least 21MP shows in every final image… if you say Canon’s AF misses out good shots then you’re lying.

        • zzddrr

          @ Thom

          I think Anonymous cannot wait. 🙂 To be honest, I am also puzzled why Nikon did not update the sensor in the D700 with something, at least with the D3s sensor since we know they have that one. Personally I’ve been waiting for the high resolution small body FF. Nikon is just waaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyy toooooooooo sloooooooww.

          The question are
          1) how long do we have to wait?

          2) why didn’t we see any pro or FF from the other two this year?
          (This is almost like a conspiracy :-))

          • 1. Depends upon when you started waiting ;~)
            2. It is a conspiracy. A conspiracy to try to win market share and be profitable. FX volume is very low compared to DX/APS volumes. There is more market share and profit in DX/APS than FX. There’s also more potential competition there, especially since m4/3 eats one end and FX eats the other end. Nikon would have been foolish to emphasize FX over DX. Canon would have been foolish to emphasize full frame over APS. Sony would have been foolish to throw more iron on the full frame fire when it never got to even smoldering in the first place.

            That said, I wrote a long time ago that I thought Nikon needed to split into pro and consumer lines (sort of the Toyota/Lexus model). Right now we’ve got engineers and other teams going back and forth between lines, and they’re not as good at either as they could be.

            • zzddrr

              1) The question is when will this happen? I’ve been waiting for Nikon to release a small high res body since the Sony A900 was released. (Over 2 yrs). So the question is when?

              2) I am sorry but i do not buy the DX vs FX eating each other. What none of these companies know is to how to properly position products. (Hint: Not just tweaking features …. but the whole “package”)

            • > I’ve been waiting for Nikon to release a small high res body since the Sony A900 was released.
              No one expected a Nikon D700 replacement in September 2008. The D700 itself was in July 08, and the D3x wasn’t until Dec 08. Your thoughts are a bit revisionist history, as Nikon was riding very high with the D3/D700 combo when the D700 was introduced. VERY high.

              > What none of these companies know is to how to properly position products.
              Right. Which is why Nikon is such a failure and hasn’t been growing DSLR sales for the past few years. Not. I happen to be one of the primary commentators on how bad the camera company’s marketing is, but as iteration product management goes, Canon and Nikon have been extraordinarily successful on the engineering side.

              > I am sorry but i do not buy the DX vs FX eating each other.
              The “DX or FX” question is one of the primary ones I and others get. Users remain very confused, and this promotes FX buying at the expense of DX, and DX buying that is misdirected, too. The users shouldn’t be confused. Especially with the D7000 now showing what a cropped sensor can really do. FX is a high-end experience, probably a pro experience long term.

            • zzddrr

              “Users remain very confused, and this promotes FX buying at the expense of DX, and DX buying that is misdirected, too. The users shouldn’t be confused. Especially with the D7000 now showing what a cropped sensor can really do.”

              That is why I said that Nikon does not know how to position

        • John

          I’d assume they can’t make the demand needed for both the D3s and an additional D700s. The D3s has gone out of stock a lot since it came out.

          …or the sensor from the D3 is cheaper to make since they have a large supply of the sensors and/or wafers. The D3s sensor may have lower yields since it is new.

    • It seems to me Casio has gone far beyond these ideas already with their radical (and pretty commercially unsuccessful) high-speed camera designs. These do precisely the kinds of things we’re discussing, including shooting 30fps at full resolution 1/500s and letting you pick which photo you wanted after the fact.

      I have a tiny (and very cheap) Casio camera in my backpack with shoots (limited resolution) at up to 1000fps and full resolution at 30fps.

      • Yes, but have you looked at video shot at 1/500 second? It’s jarring and unsmooth. There’s a reason why 1/50 has become the standard for motion shutter speeds.

        • Agreed. I’m not convinced pulling a still from a video would be easy as you’d need to set your shutter speed for the video to accommodate the type of still you are after (frozen in time action or blurred movement), but that will then result in a video that may not look right.

        • The invisible man

          You can have a nice and smooth video with high speed shutter but then you need more f.p.s
          I bet in few years we will have DSLR that can take smooth HD video at 100/120 f.p.s

          • Not exactly. The bigger than big screen formats (Imax for example) have experimented with very high shutter speeds, and it’s a primary driver of those theater-based rollercoaster and other experiences that attempt to jar you (along with the seats moving and low bass vibrations). Studies show that high shutter speed video, regardless of frame rate, tends to put an edge on the viewer’s experience (e.g. raise blood pressure, skin temperature, heart rate, etc.), all else equal.

            There’s great debate about whether this is a real effect or a relative effect. In other words, did 100 years of blurred frames in movies and video condition us towards slow shutter speeds or is it inherent in our genes that very high definition detail in movement produces physiological reactions. I tend towards the latter belief, though we don’t have anything concrete to base that on at the moment.

            • The invisible man

              The reason why movies are only 24 f.p.s is because that is the minimum speed for our brain do have the “vision memory effect” and it was mecanically difficult and expensive (film cost) to get more than 24 f.p.s
              I’ ve see movies made at 500 f.p.s (and played at 500 f.p.s), it’s beautifull and very smooth.

            • “Studies show that high shutter speed video, regardless of frame rate, tends to put an edge on the viewer’s experience (e.g. raise blood pressure, skin temperature, heart rate, etc.), all else equal. ”

              Interesting… would like to see how they did the tests. Where did you come across this?

  • jk

    First response is a sickening, vomit inducing, gouge my eyeballs out cliche.

    Second is informative.

    Third post is another cliche…lol

    • Anonymous

      The throw up!

    • Roger

      And he makes the same type of post every 2 days.

      Come on, Anonymous, the new FX camera will come, be patient young jedi. 😉

  • CamaJan

    Wow! Nikon how did you ever thought of protecting our eyes from the very harmfull UV rays!
    I feel sorry for the billions of people that won’t have the luxury of having their eyes protected… How have we ever survived as a race?!?

    Nikon… Stop patentig shit… EVF is comming… Nobody will need their eyes protected from bad UV rays anymore…
    Should have thought of that 30yrs ago. Maybe less people would be wearing glasses!!:-)

  • photonut

    the 1st patent application is at least as good as that one:

  • Thorsten B.

    HI guys. The headset is for the Electronic Viewfinder in a new camera generation! Perfect.. something for christmas?

    • You’re getting warmer ;~)

      • zzddrr

        Thom are you implying that we will run around with some kind of crazy headsets on our head to take pictures? 🙂 Is this well thought out? I mean Halloween is around the corner so anything can happen but seriously this may not be the best tool for the crowd. Why don’t they implant the display straight into out brain? 🙂 In that we would not look like a pilot from Star Wars or Star Trek 🙂

        • Once you make the determination that you don’t need an optical view, camera designs no longer need to be boxes you hold up to your face. Surprisingly, most of the camera makers haven’t figured this out at all. Heck, they even include HDMI outputs on all their cameras for reasons they haven’t yet figured out ;~).

          At some point, someone in Silicon Valley is going to figure out that the way to turn an iPad (and all the subsequent tablet entries) into a programmable/communicating camera is to put a wireless output on the HDMI outlet of all those cameras and a bluetooth gizmo on the USB port. Of course, they’ll have to hack through the camera code to do it, which means it’ll happen on a Canon first (due to the OS used and its extensibility). HDMI gives you the sensor stream in preview, Bluetooth gives you the raw data and control mechanism, and bingo, suddenly you have a programmable, communicating camera.

    • I was thinking the same thing!!!

      I’d buy that.

    • Roger

      Perfect for what?

  • Kenny Son

    Hmmmmm is Nikon developing a new Nintendo Virtual Boy?

    Just saying,, that one was a fail

  • PeterZheng

    Why Nikon has not yet a head mount display device to provide an external micro-monitor for an optional accessory on the camera side? (HDMI input, a heavy headphone is ought removed.)

    an external micro-monitor is able to take a monocular on the eyeglass, and its HDMI cable to connect the camera.

  • Any normal person knows that simple glass stops more then 90% of UV, so when light travels trough number of glass pieces in the lens non of UV reaches sensor or eye of photograther. In these times people are treated like mindles lifestock which will buy whenever they will offer.

  • feng

    UV blocking? weird.

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