Nikon Micro 40mm f/2.8 lens patents (updated)

Update: Nikon's lens patent 20110170195 seems to have the correct lens diagram for the recently announced AF-S DX Micro 40mm f/2.8G lens. The patent got published online just two days after the lens got announced! (thanks Astrophotographer)

A reader asked me if Nikon has previously filed any patents for the recently announced AF-S DX Micro 40mm f/2.8G lens. I searched older patents posts and came across two different entries for a 40mm f/2.8 lens:

Nikon was granted a patent 7656591 for a 40mm f/2.8 lens in 2010, the patent was filed in 2007:

The second patent 2010-204621 (filed in Japan on 02/03/2009) was for a 40mm f/2.8 and 60mm f/3.8 macro lenses but the initial guess was that those designs are for a mirrorless camera because of the 17mm image circle:

2.8 300x237 Catching up on the latest Nikon patents

The patented lens diagram are slightly different than the final version:

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  • preston

    Thanks, it is interesting to know the amount of time between when they started designing it and when it was released.

  • preston

    Do you think Nikon would have intentionally held off on further design until the patent was granted just to make sure that they didn’t put resources into something that could be exactly copied by other manufacturers? They submitted patent in 2007, it was granted in 2010, and then they release the lens in 2011. I don’t think it would have taken them 4 years to develop this lens considering how similar the casing and focal length is to the 35mm f/1.8.

    • Recent Convert

      The patents and the realized version are entirly different. The announced lens is of a retrofocus type. This is necessary, because Nikon’s DX lenses allow for the mirror sweep of FX cameras. Accidentally putting your DX lens onto a D700/D3 does no damage; Canon created a special crop-sensor mount, namely the EF-S. It means that crop-sensor lenses cannot be put on a 5D or on a 1Ds; if you’d force it, the mirror will hit the rear element of an EF-S lens. Nikon, on the other side, gave itself the additional task of designing for larger mirror sweep, which makes short focal length lenses (below about 42mm) more complex.

      • Wait wait wait… so Canon users have to get lenses for their sensor and can’t build up their lens collections while saving up to go full frame?

        Go Nikon!

  • Shane Laake

    My hunch is that these optical design patents are more CYA than anything. I can’t recall ever hearing about lawsuits related to lens design or even fears of having similar designs, so Nikon may just file these to assure they never are on the receiving end of things.

    Patents on communications, electronics, VR/IS/OS/VC etc… are much more valuable, and can be used to protect one’s interests. Design patents (ie look) and copyrights would also seem to be valuable to dissuade competitors from copying the style and look of Nikon glass.

  • Paul

    Thanks for the follow up. Great job as usual.

  • N.exe

    It looks like when we follow the patterns of the patents we can give a pretty good prediction of products coming up.

  • Timing fail !

  • Astrophotographer

    Interesting, on thur USPTO 20110170195 came out for the 40mm. Nikon’s timing is good

  • Joe

    Sounds like a pretty useless lens to me.

    • dgm

      sounds like a pretty useless comment to me

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