Nikon files patents for hybrid viewfinder

Few weeks ago I reported on a Nikon patent about a light meter built into the prism. Nikon has filed a series of related patents. One of them is 7876373 which describes a camera with a hybrid viewfinder:

"One of the objects of the present invention is to provide a means capable of confirming the state of field and the photographing area of an image pickup section in a camera capable of observing an electronic image through an optical viewfinder.

Moreover, one of the objects of the present invention is, in a camera capable of observing an electronic image through an optical viewfinder, to provide a means capable of acquiring various kinds of information depending on the situation without detaching eyes from the viewfinder."

Next patent drawing shows zooming for only a portion of the viewfinder:

Another drawing shows a build-in flash with an additional lens that can capture the surrounding environment and display it in the viewfinder:

The above described hybrid viewfinder will probably be implemented with two different sensors and patent application 20110038623 explains in more details the purpose of those sensors:

"A camera includes: a first sensor of a storage type that has a plurality of pixels; a focus detection unit that detects a focus adjustment state of a photographic optical system based upon a detection signal from the first sensor for a photographic subject; a second sensor that acquires an image of the photographic subject; an extraction unit that extracts a main photographic subject region from image information acquired by the second sensor; and a control unit that controls accumulation of electrical charge by the first sensor, based upon values outputted from pixels of the first sensor that correspond to the main photographic subject region."

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  • Hmmm, exciting times. It’s time for the SLR to pick up and join the 21st century. Technology is good, thanks Nikon.

  • Exxo

    Well, I hope to see this be a huge improvement for spot metering!
    This would increase the cost of the cameras, but also increase their value after they are no longer in production. I also hope there arent any bugs in the first thousand made…

  • Knowing that I won’t be buying anything in the first thousand, I am fairly secure in my purchase (not that I’ve any money now). Cost, of course, is trivial as long as it isn’t an overreaching $$$ surge. I buy a camera and use it for 6 years or longer, so I get my money’s worth.

    Very interested to see if/how this develops. But, with more than 14 000 dead in Japan, I don’t think technology will see any time till Japan can get somehow past the current disaster. I’ll be moving back in May for a spell, not sure how it’s going to affect my home senses.

  • ok this is the first time i say this

    It Has Begun!

    i can smell a D4 having seriously good improvements enough to keep us quiet for the next 3 or 4 years 🙂

    *fingers crossed*

  • Eng Seng

    Does this patent overlap with the Fujifilm’s X100 hybrid viewfinder?

    • Exxo

      I wouldn’t think so, Fujifilm has a LOT invested in this new Hybrid system, I don’t think they would spend so much more as to pay for Nikon’s patent so they can use it.
      The smartest decision, Try to improve what they have. It will become one of those “for one year, this company is better than the other, next year, vice versa” I forgot the name for that…
      But you get the idea, I work in retail, I don’t see Fuji backing out and paying nikon to use theirs….but who knows!

      • maddog

        You could say one upmanship or leap frogging….

    • Atano

      I have tested the X100. If this is anything as good as the hybrid viewfinder, then Nikon will have a winner in its hands.

  • jason

    Will these gonna used in the d800?????

  • mshi

    It looks like the D5 to me.

  • Anon

    So it’s like a rangefinder, without all the pluses of a rangefinder camera.

    • Ronan

      You mean ‘minuses’.

  • TT

    The first image has an integrated grip. So that is most likely D4.
    There is another image showing an on-board flash. So it is most likely D800.

    • mmradman

      What D4 with pop up flash?

  • Omar Tan

    wow, interesting patent.

    Looks like they are preparing for the D4

  • Scott Peterson

    My first thought on looking at it, My GOD, we’ve gone back to the original Nikon F meter. Same look external sensor.

  • How come this external meter would look like? Maybe the ‘Nikon’ logo will be transparent or camera will have a plastic window looking like a stripe on the D2 series? 🙂

    • Bullsnot

      Maybe the “O” in the “NikOn” logo will have a lens at its center to keep the cosmetics in check!

  • broxibear

    You could spend weeks trawling through the Nikon patents, here’s a flashgun patent I came across with a really interesting swivel action (fig 19 and 20)… maybe a SB-1000 ?
    There are a few more about zoom lenses and vr, but I was getting a headache reading through them and gave up lol.

    • Bullsnot

      Interesting that the camera shown in the images is NOT an interchangeable lens SLR, but a compact “superzoom” type. The hotshoe design is also totally different than the current Nikon SLR design.

      Fig. 26 & 27 look more likely for an SLR application, but man is that one ugly looking flash unit! Not to mention that designing the hinge that way will limit battery storage space and make the flash unit very tall… and I thought my SB900 was big!

      • Sahaja

        Doesn’t look very compact to me.

        Ugly looking too.

        • AlphaPuma

          Lol? Troll?

    • Yes, there are so many patents to go through and this doesn’t include the patents filed in Japan. I found an interesting one about a new wide angle lens. I will post it online after I get some clarifications.

    • Anon

      Actually, that’s a Sony patent. That’s why the hotshoe design is the Minolta/Sony type.

      • broxibear

        I saw that Anon, but the patents got Nikon in the pages and pages of text too ?…which is why it came up in a Nikon search?
        Who knows, somebody pass me an aspirin.

  • Akira

    Can we just go all the way and get rid of mirrors?

    • Roger

      Buy a Coolpix.

      For the rest of us who like good viewfinders and autofocus – we’ll keep those mirrors.

  • FM-2 fan

    the real interesting patents are the low ref-index, high Abbe number materials – these are of high importance for any wide-angle (in microscopes or fotography) – the view-finder will require US to change the way we work – probably a challenge for many of us

    It seems to be the 1st step into full control of action, while just using the view-finder and that’s for sure a pre-requisite for proper moving images rather than stills only.

  • daniel

    Why do this? It’s pretty clear form the lenses that the camera is a nikon. The lenses are older ones, som maybe is a pretty old photo.

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