Two new patents from Nikon

The first patent application 2011-128499 is for a way to reduce the flange focal distance and is obviously for Nikon's upcoming mirrorless camera. On one of the drawings the camera has a built-in viewfinder (50):

From the patent:

"However, the camera which does not have a movable mirror for a miniaturization and slimming down of a camera is developed in recent years. In such a camera, the point of contact and the shutter are close.

The problem of this invention is attaining the further miniaturization of a camera using the physical relationship of a point of contact and a shutter.

This invention solves said problem by the following solving means. In order to understand easily, the mark corresponding to the embodiment of this invention is attached and explained, but it is not limited to this."

This is another drawing of Nikon's mirrorless mount:

Patent application 2011-133717 filed in Japan is for a lens cap that can easily be attached to the camera's strap. PetaPixel has a nice visual on how this should look:

Via Egami

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  • poizen22

    the cap idea is neat but i usualy just toss them in my front pocket.

    • Me, too. My wife, on the other hand, would love this. She has (somewhere) a cap clip or something, but can’t find it. When I got married, my dad ran around with my D200 and left the cap on chairs, beneath tables, under juice boxes, in the accesories box, etc. It is funny now, but those things are expensive.

      I prefer to keep the cap in my front pocket. girls don’t always have pockets. I think this is better for girls or people who wear skirts.

      • Or people who use camera straps.

        Boy, I cannot way for that mirrorless thing to happen. Finally someone will come up with the EVIL camera professionals have been demanding for quite a while now. It won’t be the compact replacement like the Olys, Panas and Sonys, right? Well, maybe not.

        • photo-jack

          @ Sir Hassel…
          Can you please explain, why a pro would be waiting desperately for a mirrorles, especially one where he couldn’t even use a single of his F-Mount lenses (because of the shorter distance to the sensor)
          Well, something like a Fuji X100 as a second camera for occasions where you cannot or will not take a DSLR, fine. But building up a second system, with a second bunch of expensive glass why would a pro do that? Especially as the sensor will be smaller than APS-C.

          • Eric

            I imagine more enthusiast and street photographers will be after a high end mirrorless system than pros. That said, if someone produces a compact weather-sealed mirrorless camera with D7000 image quality then I could see photo journalist being interested. I sure know I’d much rather lug something the size of a Fuji X100 around a war zone opposed to a D300/D700/D3.

            Wedding photographers could also go a bit more incognito with a smaller system. Instead of roaming around the wedding with giant DSLR’s strapped to a harness they could walk around with just one small body with a standard zoom around their neck, and two other bodies in jacket pockets with pancake primes attached. A small set up like that would be far less intimidating for photographers that like to get candid wedding photos.

            Finally, lets imagine for a second that CDAF eventually does surpass PDAF (which isn’t hard to do based on the new Olympus E-P3). At that point even sports photographers may be interested.

            Long story short, never say never. The SLR hasn’t always been the king of the pro world after all.

          • Jan

            because fools keep blabbing random thoughts and treat it as fact. when a fool perceives he wants something, then suddenly it’s what the world has demanded since the dark ages, but nobody would listen!
            when a fool wants to buy something nobody else wants, it’s a product that would make anyone trillions, oh but no company would come out and make this bucketload of easy money.

    • The invisible man.

      I don’t use caps, they are in the boxes since the day I bought the lenses.

      • I’ve stopped bringing along lens caps too. I haven’t had a problem in the field (and I spend a lot of time in the field) and figure with a lens cap in place you’re less ready to get the picture. Personal choice, I still use an IR/UV filter where others no longer do so for protection, but I find caps get in the way.

  • MatthijsH

    That lens cap is sheer genius. Using the existing mechanism to add a feature like that… cheers to the nikon engineer who thought that up.

    I wonder how far, if any, these ‘hooks’ protrude…

    • roy

      The cap idea is really old. I had this in my Fuji Finepix S7000 almost 7 years back. I guess Fuji had it in their other cameras as well.

    • Paul

      Looks like just two plastic tabs to me. I hope with continued use it doesn’t warp and break. That would be annoying.

  • i hope this is the rangefinder of Nikon
    or maybe some mirrorless with easy manual focusing
    hope so 🙂

    • LOL

      With retro styling.

      Hopefully it puts the Leica M9 to shame. With a cheaper price of course.

      They’d sell millions.

    • Babs

      do you actually know what a rangefinder is? because if you did you wouldn’t be waiting for one.

  • Lens cap? What’s that?

  • Nat

    the cap idea is good but don’t use Nikon strap.

    • I use a cheaply made Korean neck strap that looks great. The Nikon neck strap screams: steal me, I’m attached to an expensive camera. My cool-looking LSD strap and D200 taped to death says: this guy will strangle you!

      • Or it tells the bride’s “photographer” uncle, “I’m using older equipment than you”.

        • thats the point. then you will compare pics on the end of the day and he throws his new DSLR with amazing 18-300 f16 to fdark to trash can

          • LOL

            Or the uncle is better than you and you retire.

  • The lens cap idea is great, unless you don’t use the Nikon strap. And the world does seem to be moving away from the neck strap to sling alternatives at a growing rate.

    • LOL

      I have a crumpler neck strap, very comfortable.

      I owned a Rapid Strap and didn’t like the way the camera stuck out and hit stuff all the time (I do live in a VERY crowded city though, so YMMV).

      • LOL

        BTW i gave my black rapid to my mum because I never used it.

  • Innovation!!!! 🙂

  • roy

    The side view make it look like that the sensor is Bigger (although front view says otherwise) than the predicted miniscule sensor.
    Please use it at-least your DX size sensor Nikon , FX is even better!

  • AnoNemo

    Well, I guess before we can go to sleep we have to read a little patent filings…otherwise we would have nightmares. 🙂

    I can’t see how nikon will announce anything in august. NR Admin, please distribute free coffee for everyone because Nikon switched the slow motion into slower motion. 🙂

  • Bernd

    Lens caps always end up in my trouser pocket or camera bag. Seems much quicker than having to attach it to my strap (as you always have to check that it’s really firm).

    Also I wouldn’t trust a lens cap attached to my strap. If the thing gets stuck behind something, it will surely break free. Those pieces of plastic holding the cap to the strap can’t be very strong, there simply isn’t enough space between a lens cap and the front element (or filter) to build a sturdy construction.

  • First one:

    The Mirrorless will use F Mount? If Yes, it will born with a lot of lens. All Nikon users will love it.


    There is an expression in Portuguese for this kind of idea: “GENIALLLLLLLLLLLLLL”.

    A big and simple idea solving an annoying problem.

    • Steve

      F mount has the contacts at the top of the lens. The drawing and writing around it show the contacts on the bottom.

      • CamaJan

        Means nothing. Maybe yust to throw off the guesses or F mount will be twisted a bit.

        I see a mirrorless F mount camera as a best candidate for this patent.
        But it doesnt mean it will be the first mirrorles camera system Nikon will introduce.

        Maybe we are just looking at the near/far future for current DSLRs.
        Mirror is going out of fashion, and soon, thank god. Good legacy glass is here to stay for much longer.
        🙂 Just my 2c.:-)

        • It can’t be an F mount if the registration distance is that short.

          • Steve

            Or with fewer contacts…

            I think we’ll get a ~1″ sensor because that is the bridge between compact and dslr and that is currently one of the few niches in the already crowded market.

            F mount compatible ? Oh I hope so…but f-mount ? no.

    • The Nikon mirrorless will probably not use F-Mount directly. Part of the mount specification is the mount to sensor distance, and the patent is about how to deal with a very short mount to sensor distance. That means it won’t be F-Mount. The short mount to sensor distance does mean there should be plenty of space for an adapter that will let you use your F-Mount lenses with the new mount, though. I hope Nikon makes at least one high-end adapter with a built-in focus motor so you can autofocus with screw drive lenses.

  • Frosti7

    The fact that everyone is more interested in the plastic cap then the mirrorless camera just shows how you how uninteresting a small sensor ILC really is, i really dont know what nikon thinking to themselves, i’m sure that 5-10 people would buy it, at the most

    • Steve

      I’m vaguely interested….it’s the patents that are boring – no info to be gleaned.

    • MK

      dont buy it then… thank you it will mean lower costs for me. we have been seeing nikon patents for a mirrorless system for 2 years now so this post does not make me excited. if the sensor is 1/2.3″, it will fail miserably. if the crop is 2.5-2.7 i will be interested.

  • Sirrush

    sensor 1/2,5 ?!

  • broxibear

    I was bored, so I had a quick look through some of the new patents that were published this week and this Nikon one has got to be the strangest one yet.
    It’s a Nikon patent for sensors on the lens and body of a dslr that detect the biological state of the photographer ?
    I don’t know what it detects or what it’s looking for but here it is

  • Are there any measurements on that mount diagram that we can use to estimate the sensor size?

  • Martin

    in the front view the sensor looks really small… maybe 4/3?! much too small for my taste – i was hoping for an FX mirrorless or at least DX…

  • FM2Fan

    I don’t care too much about the mount at this point in time. What we probably want to see is: which capabilities are brought to us? A rangefinder camera as such would be a small step only. Anything being more versatile i.e. merging the simplified optical designs with current image processing and communication would help.

    Think of a simple task: take a panorama (probably even moving), process it in the camera and transmit it directly to a simple device (computer) or simply the internet (a service). Just think of it … why would you want to wait in an all digital world (unless you are really in a remote location having no coverage?)

  • peteee

    one big problem! if you travel in a potential crime area, wearing the nikon camera strap is advertising for dumb thieves. i wear only old style “hippy” neckstraps, criminals think i have a cheap camera, since i have a cheap strap. they are usually too dumb to read the name on the camera, when people have large nikon, cannon, and such pasted all over thier neck and camera bag. and the hippy straps also use steel hooks, to really secure your camera. i have seen those factory straps easily pop when pulled.

  • BaoKeWen

    I really don’t get all this “pros want mirrorless” chat.
    So, pros want a smaller sensor, higher pixel density, more noise?
    So, pros don’t want an optical slr viewfinder but want to look at an LCD screen that’ll be very difficult to see clearly on bright summer days or with a low-angle sun?
    So, pro journalists in war zones wouldnt mind having their whole face lit up by a glowing LCD screen? Talk about keeping a low profile.. Last time I shot in a hot zone I even had all the LCD displays on my D2x taped off, just in case I accidentally switched on the illumination. Snipers love a little light on their target; they’ll adore your 3″ LCD ‘night light’.
    Oh, you’re to small and too weak to carry a DSLR? We often have to hand-hold a 200/2.0 for indoor sports like volleyball or gymnastics. The solution? The boss sends us to the gym 4x a week. Not giving us a smaller lighter crappier camera.

  • kaze kaze

    I also put my cap(s) in my pocket, either my vest’s one or my back pocket, and don’t worry, I always remember to take it out when sitting down, just like a wallet.

    One thing worries me, the illustration indicates a “outer push pins” design instead of the current “inner punch” design which Nikon introduces a while ago, are we going backwards here?

  • ms

    yawn… until someone comes up with a FF mirrorless that has live view and/or EVF and doesn’t cost a fortune then I don’t care. Small sensors…especially smaller than DX just aren’t that interesting.

  • sflxn

    Every time I see a Nikon mirrorless rumor, I feel bad owning a Nikon system. They seem to be clueless. 2.5x crop?! Really? Are you that idiotic, Nikon? Outside of DSLRs, they seem absolutely clueless. Even with DSLRs, it took them quite awhile to get it right. A sensor with poor IQ will be extreme pain for NIkon. On top of that, in the next 18 months, we’re probably going to see APS-C mirrorless from Fuji, Leica, and Canon. Nikon will likely end up being the laughing stock of the mirrorless world. Today, that infamy belongs to the Pentax Q system.

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