Nikon patents update #2 (light meter, phase detect sensor, collapsible lens, fuel cell, 3D)

Patent 2010-224290 is for a light meter built into the prism (for use during video recording?):

"This invention relates to the camera which has a photometry sensor which measures the strength of the light with the light led to the optical finder and the optical finder.

Problem to be solved: to make effective use of a photometry sensor.

Solution: Since subject luminous flux is not led to an optical finder in a mirror up state, TTL photometry is not performed by the photometry sensor 8 provided in the finder. However, by changing an angle of a movable mirror 6, the subject luminous flux is led to the photometry sensor 8 from a photometry window 51 provided on a front surface of a pentagonal prism cover, so that external photometry is performed. The photometry is continuously performed by holding the movable mirror 6 at an angle where external photometry is performed the external photography can be performed when a live view mode is set or when a moving picture is taken while the mirrors 1 and 9 are held in an up state.

While enabling observation of a photographic subject by leading the object light bunch which penetrated the taking lens to a finder optical system by a main mirror with a single-lens reflex camera, it is common to receive the light led to the finder optical system with a photometry sensor, and to obtain photographic subject luminosity

The photometry sensor is only used for the conventional single-lens reflex camera as a TTL photometry sensor, and it does not aim at effective use of a photometry sensor." (machine translated)

Patent 2010-243781 is for a Coolpix camera. Hard to tell if this model was already released:

Patent 2010-243772 and another 50 patent applications filed in Japan are for Nikon's phase detect sensor:


"To prevent degradation in image quality due to an influence of when image output at a position of a focus detection pixel is interpolated based on output from the focus detection pixel, image quality is deteriorated by influence of existence of a separation zone that separates a pair of photoelectric conversion parts and has no optical sensitivity."

Patent 2010-243734 is for a collapsible lens. Interestingly Pentax recently filed a similar patent.


"According to this invention, body tube length can be shortened and the imaging device which raised the operativity at the time of equipping and using the lens barrel which can be stored can be provided.

To provide an imaging apparatus improved in operability when in use while attaching a storable lens barrel by shortening the length of the lens barrel."

Patent 2010-237677 is a cooling solution for a fuel cell:

"To surely supply air required for power generation to a fuel cell

The opening which incorporates the open air which the electronic device of this invention is an electronic device which uses a fuel cell, and is supplied to a fuel cell, When it has the member turning which moves an opening between the 1st position of a wrap, and the 2nd position that exposes an opening and member turning has been arranged at the 1st position, as compared with the time of having been arranged at the 2nd position, the power consumption of an electronic device becomes small."

Nikon has filed other fuel cell patents in the past.

Several 3D/stereoscopic patents:

  • Problem to be solved (2010-226390): To output images captured beforehand by an imaging apparatus such that the images can be displayed easily and three-dimensionally.
  • Problem to be solved (2010-226391): To compose an image processing unit for generating images for display, having a more improved stereoscopic effect.
  • Problem to be solved (2010-231192): To provide a stereoscopic imaging apparatus for creating a stereoscopic image having a deep depth of field, without reducing the quantity of light from an object.



Patent 20100323878 is a method of producing Ca-La-F based transparent ceramic (calcium lanthanum fluoride glass). Fluorite (CaF2) has a high Abbe number of 95. This is way above my head, but I was told that an Abbe number over 80 would be ED glass (thanks Brian). Maybe a new type of ED glass?
This entry was posted in Nikon D4, Nikon Patents. Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.
  • Cache

    Fuel Cell…


    • texasjoe

      Fuel cells. Ok Nikon, if you’ve got something up your sleeve now would be the time to start leaking information. Make me believe Nikon.

      • Darkness

        or what?

        • Global

          It gets 90 clicks per gallon.

    • Sensor

      It was posted earlier that they needed to have different batteries that did not have exposed terminals. I know they don’t need to be fuel cells but that might be prompting the push to try something different.
      If they have a goal of trying to make D4 light weight this could be another reason.

  • King Of Swaziland

    Imma be pissed if Nikon throws away 1/3 of a stop of light just so videographers (most of whom will migrate to REAL video cameras when those become available) can get metering and phase detect AF during video.

    • Joel

      Errr dude.. they’re not. The whole point of the patent is to collect light via the opening in the body rather than the light robbing pellical mirror design that Sony have used.

      • Discontinued

        “The whole point of the patent is to collect light via the opening in the body …”

        You are right, Joel.
        And what a crappy point that is! The whole idea of (D)SLR-design to me is, to have as much control TTL as possible. Additional “openings in the body” for light readings? What is that supposed to be?? Progress???

        Oly has managed light reading during “recording” and correction of exposure with mirror up a hundred years ago with their OM2.

        • S_Preston

          Was something lost in the machine translation?

          When the mirror is up, light is on the image sensor.
          As image sensor data is being read out, the various
          integrated circuits can measure the light level
          of the actual image data.
          Another sensor isn’t needed.

          My inexperience tells me I’m missing something, but I
          only see this idea being useful on a film camera.

  • broxibear

    This is a 2011 patent any idea what the dslr in fig.2 is admin ?
    The patent itself seems to be about a hybrid viewfinder like the one Fuji has in their X100 ?

    • anon

      Holy cow it’s the D4 !!!

      • F Master

        It’s a D70, sorry.

    • I haven’t even looked at the US patents yet, all those patents are form Japan. I guess I will have another update.

    • gt

      It seems like a hybrid viewfinder that allows you to switch between a “wide angle view” that’s coming from a special optic ON the camera body and the actual TTL zoomed view of your lens.

      I’m not exactly sure how this is handy…except that maybe sports shooters could use it to anticipate the action…and frame more easily

      • avl

        Awesome!! Hoping this tech actually materializes. This could be uber-helpful to sports shooters (so likely candidate for the D4?) Even shooting with both eyes open, you miss things…

    • John2809

      This is intersting.
      “An auxiliary photographing section that photographs a wide angle image for viewfinder display”.

      This seems to be a “rangefinder-like” image display in the viewfinder
      that shows a broader area around the actual frame of the picture.
      It should allow someone to monitor the action outside the frame
      without removing the eye from the viewfinder.

  • Man, that “Fuel cell” part along with everything else just made me think of a mini Nikon Terminator macine.

  • Arthur

    Innovations at last! 🙂 But we’ll have to see how it will become in a commercial product.

    But Nikon can skip the 3D-hype, if it’s up to me…

    • Global

      Its not an innovation. Right now its just an idea. If somebody does anything about it in a meaningful way, only then is it innovative.

  • dino

    One of the things that I see is – apparently – that the camera, for all the rest depicted very accurately under a mechanic point of view – looks NOT to have any built-in flash, so we may presume it’s a “pro” model

    • Myles

      I think you may be correct about the pro body part, the first thing I noticed. Although, I got a bit lost on the technical details, where are we losing a 1/3 stop?

      • Joel

        You may want to re-read the following:

        The photometry is continuously performed by holding the movable mirror 6 at an angle where external photometry is performed the external photography can be performed when a live view mode is set or when a moving picture is taken while the mirrors 1 and 9 are held in an up state.

  • Mock Kenwell

    So tired. Release a camera already.

    • Pat

      What don’t you understand in SUMMER 2011 ?

      Stop whining, get a D700 /D300/D300s if you don’t already have one and go out shooting or just wait until this summer … For the announcement 🙂 … Then wait 1-3 month more to get your hands on a pre-ordered camera.

      I really don’t see the point of this kind of comments …

      I think I’m gonna switch to CANON … Sorry, had to do it …

      • inginerul

        You’re gonna switch to what canon ? The badly built 5D2, with visible noise in the shadows at ISO200 ? Or the 1Dmk4 which is a worse camera than the D3s ?
        Or perhaps you’re going to switch to the cropped-sensor 7d ?

        Canon is ahead of nikon only in the video department dude, are you a videographer ?

        • gt

          he was being sarcastic

      • Mock Kenwell

        The summer comment was made for the DSLRs. This thread and these patents appear to be more for compact/mirrorless models. And the odds of any of these “innovations” appearing in the cameras that will be released this summer are nill. So how about you comment on the actual topic being discussed before being a douchebag?

        Further, if I hear any more speculation or “something’s coming that will turn photography on its head” type of statement from Nikon or anybody, I’m going to vomit. It’s time to put up or shut up. You can call it whining, I call it Nikon crying wolf and not delivering against reasonable consumer expectation. STOP TELLING ME AND START SHOWING ME. How much longer would you prefer they take before entering the mirrorless market? How about we wait until all growth is gone and it’s matured? That would be super.

        • francois

          Pot meet kettle.
          Your nick makes you a douchbag (not to mention your ill-informed comments which are either the most trite of trolldom or the ramblings of a prepubescent mental invalid being earnest in his attempts at poignancy) , yet you trot out the phrase as if you are somehow above the very fray you delight in creating?

          Hang it up.

          • Mock Kenwell

            I’m very anxious to hear how ill-informed I am so that I may improve. Please feel free to go beyond your vague yet insightful rantings above and get specific. I’d especially love to hear how happy you are with Nikon’s current mirrorless and Coolpix offerings. Perhaps it will alter my outlook.

            • Ill tell you sweet boy. Most real photographers could give two shits about mirrorless and compact cameras. You ever see the waifish metros looking them at the camera store? They usually drive a prius and have lap dogs. Its beyond me that some people buy any old crap Phony produces. Nex cameras are garbage. They are front heavy poorly laid out and dont provide the photographic experience the price commands. They are not quite small enough, to make them appealing and too big to make them a pocket camera. Honestly, some people have more money than sense. You would be better served with a used D5000. I see cherry ones for $350-450 all day long. a great camera and many were unloaded by foolish amateurs that never fully realized its capabilities. With the 35 1.8 its still quite compact and will get you a much better experience with its responsiveness, real viewfinder, more versatile lens mount and far superior flash system.

            • Mock Kenwell

              @scurvyhesh: Your response is very telling. Pray tell just how many “real photographers” do you know? Is there a club? Some sort of test? I know quite a few. I know they’re photographers because I pay them to shoot photos. Yet I know many more still that I would classify as “real photographers” who don’t make a dime from their work. Ignorance must be bliss.

              Remember the old Contax G2 system? Many of them own one. How about the Hexar AF? Yep. Several I know also have old half-frame Pens as well. The Oly Stylus Epic. It ain’t the camera, my sweet boy. Every single pro I know has an everyday camera and it’s not a DSLR.

              The reason everyone here should care if Nikon develops a Micro 4/3 answer, a 5D Mk II answer, a Tough camera answer, a DP/X100 answer, an S95/LX5 answer, a NEX answer, is because they depend quite a bit on their consumer cameras to help support R&D for their DSLRs. They don’t need to enter all of these markets, and since they’re a relatively small company they simply can’t, but currently, THEY HAVE NO ANSWERS to the above niches. None. This should bother you. This means they’re hanging they’re hats on their unspectacular compact offerings—a market being eroded with each passing day by cell phones. So where’s the money going to come from when this market erodes to near completion?

              You say NEX cameras are garbage. I agree they’re not perfect, but they’re far from garbage. If Sony develops some better lens offerings, they could really have something. But let’s say you’re right. That means Nikon would have no problem making a better version and eating the lion’s share of this new market. So where are they? They’re at shows with nothing new to show, they’re talking vaguely to the press with nothing to back it up. Meanwhile, less-established companies like Sigma, Samsung, Panasonic and Oly are out pioneering. Taking chances. Moving photography forward. I want to see Nikon there with them.

        • gt

          it seriously won’t be that revolutionary.

          • Funduro

            scurvyhesh: Who died and made you the judge of “real photographers”. Simply put ,if you have a camera and snap a picture in whatever type of old or new technology, then your a “real photographer” . To say who is or isn’t shows your one of those “I’m the only” types. A 9 year old “playing” with Dad’s camera then spending the time and effort to tweak the image on the computer then being proud that she/he saw a “picture” in that ordinary scene proves she/he is a “real photographer”.

  • I wonder if it has a built in 1000 cc motorcycle for quick getaways.

    • Jesus

      Thats what I would like to have…

    • Mock Kenwell

      Quick getaways? Get chased away much do you, Ron?

      • Global

        By the angry boyfriends of his subjects, mostly, I wager!

  • Man de Labrat

    What about zoom lenses? This is a dark ages idea.

  • Noel

    The patent showing the lightmeter looks very similar to the shape of the D2 series which did have a light sensor in the pentaprism. It doens’t make any sense to use a lightmter during videa recording. When recording video you eitehr don;t want th exposure changing or else if you want auto exposure compensation you use the video feed to provide that information – no need for an extra sensor at all.

    I think this is an old patent for the D2 series prism mounted sensor.

  • Noel

    To add to my previous post – the prism does not look large enough to cope with an FX view. Hence it appears to be for a pro version DX camera – further strengthening my view that is of the D2H and the D2X designs.

    • Jools33

      Noel – I thought exactly the same thing when I saw the patent – its gotta be for the D2X.

    • francois

      Ignore scale. Drawing FX/DX conclusions from a patent is faulty thinking. The illustrations are there to demonstrate the patented idea, not to give a sneak-peak at the implementation details. If anything a proper patent illustration will seek to deceive competitors while still “telling the truth” as to the patented technology.

      Also the D2x sensor was a white-balance one, not a metering one.

      • Noel

        And a white balance meter is just a light meter that can tell colour differences.

        Generally Nikon patent drawings tend to look like the cameras they eventually appear in. I agree that it is not neccessary for them to appear anything like the actual camera, it’s just that Nikon ones do often appear to.

        The text does state “the external photography can be performed when a live view mode is set or when a moving picture is taken” and it is true that the D2 series did not have Live View available. That feature did not arrive until the D3 and D300 series cameras.

        Looking at the base of the camera it is too small to be a normal dual grip Pro camera. But the sensor would suggest that there isn’t a popup flash which excludes all the consumer models. Maybe it’s a model we haven;t seen yet?

        However I still wonder about the need for any kind of external lightmeter if the camera is in either live view or movie modes. That is just not a feature that is needed. Anyone using a pro DLSR for movie work sets the camera to manual as a first step. Those using live view are better off adjusting their exposure based on the information from the screen which in effective is a big spot meter, rather than a lightmeter sitting on top of the prism which at best is an innaccurate ambient meter given it may not be in the same light as the subject.

        This was the problem with the D2 series prism mounted sensor and why the D3 series doesn’t have one – the idea was bollocks and it was variably succcessfull at best.

  • Anonymous

    Enough is enough, this company (Nikon) beats JK Rawlings when it comes to tell us fairy tales. Except she delivered the books but Nikon is still telling us bs. I no longer trust in this shitty company. Once they deliver and actually the fu***n product will be available I will consider them.

    • m night shyamalan

      I was originally going to write a fairy tale about a D4 camera but decided I should write about the devil trapped in an elevator because I needed people to believe it might happen.

      • Anonymous

        That was a good one!

        Seriously, we will sooner see Cinderella working for the devil as prostitute in the elevator than the D4. 🙂

        • broxibear

          Hey I know her, she’s pretty good…a little expensive but worth it, I’ve got her number if you want it ?

          • m night shyamalan

            the devil or the prostitute?

            • Discontinued

              I knew the devil must be female.

  • Ken

    This is BS, they reported just few weeks ago that Nikon will have a pro level camera, now they say it will be a small sensor Coolpix like, they don’t know sh*t. Glad Admin doesn’t report this crap.

    • broxibear

      Well they are a rumour site like this one…and most patents don’t make it into production anyway?

  • Funduro

    Lot’s of patents but where’s the beef?

    • Anonymous

      Yep, that’s what I’ve been asking too. I think this company is bs.

      • Peter

        Nikon’s metering and AF are years ahead of any competitors.. automatic eye focus.. super accurate beautiful exposures using the RGB scene recognition system, low noise, build quality.. lots of beef to love in Nikon camera’s even if they seem a little under the way in MP.. i think AF and metering are simply unmatched.. and for my portraiture they are undoubtably the most important features of a camera.

        I am a little pissed a Nikkor pricings for the new primes however.. what gives Nikon the right to charge nearly double than Canon for their slightly superior 35mm f/1.4? The Nikkor is only just out of my price range.. but perhaps thats the way they want it? For now atleast.. *Shakes fist*

        • Funduro

          That was sarcasm. I<3 my D300s. I expect Nikon to join the EVIL clan very soon and release a replacement for the D300s, D700 and SB900. Fujifilm's X_100 might have beat them to market with the hybrid viewfinder. Nikon will release the products in due time, hopefully they learned from the D7000 and P7000 product release issues.

    • manfred

      Don’t know how to evaluate the practical usefulness of o.m. patents.

      If Nikon need some useful specials, how about making the battery pack plus a software CD able to download data on 2.5 in. mobile USB hard disks. That would be something for outdoor shooters!!! Power supply from the battery grip, a very simple kind of OS from CD for the Disk so that you can double check if the data transfer was properly completed and if necessary can be checked it in the camera’s display again. So one don’t need to carry around a notebook for this purpose.

      • Rob

        And USB flash drives.

  • So are we getting a Nikon version of the Mimaya 6? Collapsible lens, fuel cell, sensor the size of the moon (6×6!)

  • Shasta_D

    Ok, fuel cells as I understand them. Liquid Oxygen and Liquid Hydrogen are applied to a metal plate on either side to generate electricity. As the O and H mix, the make water.

    So am I going to have a camera with liquid O and H containers and then have it drip water as take my pictures? I guess I wouldn’t need weather sealing to keep the rain out.

    • francois

      Practical fuel cells can be achieved with any relatively clean source of hydrogen, cryogenic H isn’t needed. NASA prefers pure H and O due to weight and efficiency concerns.

      C2H5OH is plenty fine for terrestrial use. Cracking it isn’t terribly expensive and since you aren’t lifting the additional weight into LEO ya really don’t care that it isn’t as efficient, it still whups batteries. Ye also don’t need to worry about the O, plenty of it surrounds you down here.

      Besides, which is easier to get? Ethanol or liquid H? 😉

      • Shasta_D

        Thank you for the info. That is cool to know. I’ll be on the lookout for consumer fuel cells then.

  • Bell

    I jst decided to go ahead and pickup a d700 and I am in love with it. While others whine about it’s replacement not being released yet I will be enjoying the little beast.

    • Revolutionary

      You will be crying when it gets replaced soon, even if you are just crying quietly on the inside.

      • MRPhotoau

        Enjoy the D700 its an awesome camera. By the time the D800 is announced even if it is March April, If your lucky you’ll have your hands on one June at the earliest. That’s 4 months of photos. Then if you want to upgrade do it then, or realise that the D700 is great and it is actually you taking the pics not the camera. Wait another 6-12 months for the price to be normal thats a lot of photos lost if you wait. I’m with you Bell, Why wait?

        • Bell

          I concer. Can bounce the d700 to 2nd body status in a year or so if need be. Will not stress over the waiting for the out of stock replacement.

          • Revolutionary

            i was just giving you shit 🙂

            • Bell

              I took as so ;). I always cry a little bit in the inside when I have to wait.

    • Axel

      At last ! Congrats ! Have nice sessions shooting ! in 18-24 months maybe you’ll sell it and buy the D800, but in the end …. During all this time you will have improve a lot and taken A LOT of pictures with great hardware 🙂

      Yes you may want to get the D800 because with GPS/Wifi/hybrid viewfinder, 4G , a 7′ screen, ISO 200 000 and running Andoid on fuel cells (moondust sealing too) for 2000 bucks …. who wouldn’t right ?

  • cirtap

    All this yammering….D4….D800….D4….D800 is the only thing we should be thinking about. WHEN?

    I just got back from the shop last repaired D300 that still takes great photos.

    I asked the Nikon Repair Man…Bubba…when will I see the new D4..or D800….HE said quote…..That is Top Secret Information. But with a smirk…he said Late March…and April.

    • Revolutionary

      I really hope Bubba knows what he is talking about…

    • D700guy

      WE may see some concrete info regarding these bodies by then, but in reality I’m doubtful anyone will have one in their sticky little hands before xmas

    • Bubba will find out like the rest of us – from the press release.

  • big eater

    Where can I get some of that luminous flux the first patent talks about?

  • Back to top