The latest Nikon patents

Time for another update on the latest patent application filed by Nikon:

Patent application 20110273577 is for artificial blur enhancement - in other words simulating bokeh without using a fast lens:

Artificial blur enhancement: before and after

The blur detecting section detects degree of blur of an image of the second region of the image of the photographic image data. The blur enhancement section performs blur enhancement processing on the image of the second region to enlarge the degree of blur of the image after image processing in proportion to the magnitude of the detected degree of blur of the image.

Patent application 20110267707 is for a 10mm f/2.8 lens (f=10.30, FNO=2.91):

Nikon patent for 10mm f/2.8 lens

Patent applications 20110267710 and 20110274419 are for a retractable lens:

There is a lens barrel that drives a first lens and a lens barrier independently on an optical axis. This lens barrel alters relative positions of the lens barrier and the first lens between a retracted state and a shooting state. That is, in the retracted state, the first lens is withdrawn toward the image side in the optical axis direction such that the lens barrier can close, and in the shooting state, the first lens is moved closer to the lens barrier such that a larger angle of view may be provided without the overall external diameter of the lens barrel increasing.

In recent years, in order to further widen the angle of a lens, a mechanism has been employed that, in the shooting state, projects a first lens forward in the optical axis direction beyond a position at which the lens barrier is disposed. However, with this mechanism, when the lens barrel is switching to the shooting state, if, for example, the lens barrier is pushed against by an external force and the lens barrier does not open, the first lens (optical system) comes into contact with the lens barrier, and the lens barrier and the first lens may be damaged.

In addition to the one reported back in August, two more patents (2011-221421, 2011-221422) were filed in Japan for a 24-70mm f/3.5-4.5 lens. Several different designs were mentioned in the patents:

Nikon patent for a 24-70mm f/3.5-4.5 lens

Focal length f Aperture Fno Lens design Aspherical surface ED glass
24-70mm F3.5-4.5 18 sheets 12 groups Three on three sides Zero
24-85mm F3.5-4.5 18 sheets 12 groups Three on three sides One
28-105mm F3.5-4.5 18 sheets 12 groups Three on three sides One
24-90mm F3.5-5.6 18 sheets in 11 groups Three on three sides One
22-80mm F3.5-5.6 18 sheets in 11 groups Three on three sides One

Patent 2011-223469 is for some kind of a hybrid viewfinder that can automatically switch between EVF and OVF based on the photographed scene:

  • If the subject is bright: switch to EVF or rear LCD Live View
  • If the subject is dark: switch to OVF switch
This invention relates to the imaging device which changes an observation method according to the luminosity of a photographic subject - reducing the light volume which enters into a photography person's pupil as photographic subject luminosity becomes high so that a light strong against a photography person's pupil may not enter conventionally (Google translation)

The patent describes also an OVF and EVF indication in the viewfinder:

OVF and EVF indication in the viewfinder

Nikon has filed several different hybrid viewfinder related patents in the past.

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  • pointshooter

    There are at least a bright future in the lawyer business. 😉

    • Chris Angel

      the picture still looks like junk to me

  • ha!

    A lot of people buying expensive lenses are just for the feature. So Nikon is going to sell cheaper ones to do that. Stupid move to say the least.

    • Archangel

      I thought that people buy fast lenses cause of the light not booooooooke’. You can do it in PS if you have time

      • ExtraBright

        Actually, this is a nice feature to have for fun or artistic purposes — its not as useless as other features. Isolating your subject can be a great way for the lower-end lens users to improve their art (not necessarily reality) without having to go out of camera body.

        And don’t forget, even bright lenses can use this feature — remember how Nikon struggles with f/1.2 lenses? Consider that you can push your f/1.4 lenses into f/1.2 and f/1 territory. That could be pretty fun.

      • Jk

        Not true at all. Also if you shoot a lot you will learn very soon that doing these sorts of things in photoshop is just amateurish.

        I know you said if you have time but n ything can be achieved if you have time mixed with talent.

        Time is a factor but so is making more than ten cents an hour.

        • …you can certainly increase the blur of a background with software. What is much more difficult to recreate (impossible?) from a 2d image, is the effect of the transition areas.

          Picture this: you take a picture of a person 5 feet in front of you with a 50/1.4 wide open, focused on their eye. You can mush out the background 100′ behind them, but you can’t fake the subtle softness just in front and behind the plane of focus. It doesn’t look right if their nose and ears are still super sharp, like they would be with a significantly smaller aperture.

          • JamesWyatt

            It would require the camera map the objects close to it in three-dimensional space. If it could do that, then it could apply an effect to mimic the transitional blurs. Of course the effect would only be as good as the programmer – but – could hold unique possibilities for modification in RAW and third party solutions.

            It’s the mapping of the subject(s) in 3d space that will require some smart application of existing technology or the development of something new.

            • Teun

              Sony point and shoot’s (at least my wx5) have got the option to take two consecutive images, one focussed properly, and one focussed at the nearest focussing distance. The camera then compares the two images and detects fairly well which parts should be more out of the DOF and replaces those parts with parts from the second image. clever, but doesn’t always work very well. But when it does, it’s very good!

      • @Archangel – I must say you are incorrect in saying that people do not buy fast lens for bokeh. Tell that to all portrait photographers. Sure you can blur using photoshop but if you are working on many photos that becomes almost impossible and the outcome is not very natural.

    • Jk

      I agree, lets give the everday person more features that present another reason not to hire a professional. I am saying this from the standpoint of people that say “my cousin has a good camera he is going to take the pictures”

      Not once do they mention if they are talented or mot

      Just a other reason to fool the untrained eyes our images will not look as different in due time with all these mock up effects.

      Large apertures are not only for low light but subject isolation as well.

  • Cool WHip

    Isn’t that fake bokeh function on Sony NEX cameras?

    • Not “fake bokeh”. More of “built in LensBaby”.

      • nah


      • Cool WHip

        This is directly from the Sony site…
        “Background Defocus” control
        Cameras with APS-C sensors take beautiful pictures because they can blur the background. That helps make your subject stand out as the center of attention in portrait photography. But you’ve had to know about aperture f-stops and shutter speeds. Now Sony makes it easy. Simply turn the Control Wheel one way for backgrounds in focus, the other for background defocus.

        Lensbaby? I think your thinking of effects.

        • Michael Houghton

          Right. It’s not ‘fake bokeh’ at all; it’s simply an alternative expression of the aperture control. In short, it’s aperture priority but with, I think, an auto-ISO tendency too; I’ve not tested it in any depth.

          • Cool WHip

            Then that function would only work on fast lenses or a tele lens at the right distance, etc… The Cybershots have this function as well.
            I found this…
            …because I really wanted to know how they do that, lol. Looking at the process now, I can see how Nikon could be different. Maybe instead of taking multiple shots, like Sony, it recognizes the slight bokeh in the picture and enhances it.

    • UseFilm

      So far I know all CMOS allow such manipulation at sensor level. Sony do it, Panny do it, especially for video use.

      “The evolution of the CMOS image sensor is already bringing “super reality” and new image expression capabilities to future cameras. The following four “super realities” are making new modes of image expression possible: (1) ultrahigh-speed imaging, (2) Global shutter extracting still images with high-reliability and no distortion from high-speed video, (3) wide dynamic range that can image both dark and bright parts of the scene at the same time, and (4) capturing images with bokeh (out-of-focus areas), the intentional blurring of the background used in movies.”

      It is funny when people say “no photoshoping”. I guess that photoshoping is nothing compared to the in body 10010101110101 manipulation. :-)))

      • Sometimes, a person’s grasp of an idea is so helplessly off base that seems foolish to try and bring them back to reality.

        This is one of those times. But I will try to help anyway.

        Any camera with an aperture control can be forced to calculate an aperture/shutter combination which will give the minimum depth of field, and hence maximum background blur. This is all this means. Software picks shutter/aperture/ISO for max mush.

        The calculations to do even straight up Gaussian blur at a couple frames per second on even 10mp images is far beyond the on-board processing of any and all of today’s digital cameras. Expeed/Digic/you name it…they don’t have the power to do it. They don’t even have the power to do a proper demosaic and sharpen properly. (this is why raw photos run through desktop software always squeeze out a little extra resolution–the chips in cameras are built for speed, not accuracy)

        There is no faster hardware equivalent, except for a) lenses or b) micro-lenses (like in front of the Lytro’s sensor). There is currently no other processing chip or sensor configuration that 100% reproduces the effect of a fast lens. And with fast glass under $200 new, the development dollars aren’t there for it to happen any time soon.

        I hope this helps explain things. Thanks for reading.

  • 10mm f/2.8!

    • Probably for the Nikon 1 cameras, though.

      • There’s already a 10mm F/2.8 for the Nikon 1. This will most probably be for the DX system. If it’s for FX, expect it to cost as much as the next flagship FX, or more.


        • Recent Convert

          Neither FX nor DX. Patent mentions an angle of 78.6 degrees, and an image circle radius of 8.2mm. That is clearly J1 territory.

  • T.I.M

    LOL !
    Most people don’t need special features to take blurred pictures !
    BTW, D700 still out-of-stock everywhere…..I’ll order my D800 friday at 3PM ! (9AM in France)

    • is there something I missed?

      • Captain Obvious

        Translation: “Most people are not able to focus anyway!”

        (A poor joke because not everything in the final image will be blurred but he gets a half comedian point for trying)

    • to-mas

      D700 in stock in Slovakia at least.

    • Thom wHO?

      Really TIM, I hate you so much. ^^

      • Thom wHO?

        Sorry TIM, but if you know the release date, do you know the D800’s specification?

        Btw, I’m interested in a 24-70 cheaper than the current lens.

        • T.I.M

          @Thom wHO
          Tarmon 28-75mm f/2.8

          • Thom wHO?

            I like something wider than 28. And I prefer a better construction than the tamron.

            • T.I.M

              @Thom wHo
              Tu veux le beurre et l’argent du beurre (et la crémière si elle est disponible…)

              The 28-75 f/2.8 is your best option if you’re broke, I had one and I was very happy with the results, try it.

            • I’ll second that about the Tamron. Built like a toy, but it’s a murderously sharp toy. Some samples are maybe a touch more sharp than the new or old AFS Nikkors.

              The Tokinas are all built more robustly than anything else with AF. But they’re not as sharp. Usable, but not as sharp. The very newest Tokina is the best one they’ve made yet. It’s passable.

              If you want sharp, get a Tamron new (try a few and pick the sharpest). If you want a lens you could kill Chuck Norris with, buy the latest Tokina. The best all around is still the newest Nikon, and it costs. No way around it.

    • The invisible man

      Il devrait y avoir une annonce de Nikon à la cité des sciences et de l’industrie vendredi 18 Novembre.
      4 nouveaux produits dont le D800, mais malheureusement Peter n’a aucune confirmation pour l’instant.
      J’ai peur que se soit encore reporté comme c’était le cas en Octobre.
      Mais bon, on croise les doigts (et les orteilles)

      • 120-300 os

        four new products hopefull but thrue?

        • T.I.M

          I hope so too, tired waiting for Santa Nikon.

  • Anonymus Maximus

    That blurry thing is good for small sensor cameras where you will never get a lens with sufficiently small DoF.

    Remains to be seen how good the borders look.

  • yhannoby

    i wish they can make a 50mm f/1.2 AF-G

    • I’m sure it will come sooner or later.

    • MJr

      There are enough 50ies, i would rather have a AF-S 16mm F2.8 G DX.

    • ben

      i just want a 50 with VR even just a f1.8

      • Why? 50mm is such a short focal length that hand-holding it, even at slower shutter speeds is not a big deal. Now the 85mm should have VR, but would increase the cost even more and the bulk/weight a little. If you take into account the focal length modifier of DX sensor cameras, that will change it slightly, but it still shouldn’t be a huge deal unless you think you need to hand hold at 1/4 second or something. (Buy a good monopod or tripod in that case.)

        • Madias

          ” i just want a 50 with VR even just a f1.8 ”

          hahahahah… You should try football or something.

  • Fake blur? It is so Pentax-ish…

  • Ren Kockwell

    Oh my God. Fake bokeh. This is all kinds of wrong.

    • Sem

      Natural bokeh? This is soooo last century 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Seriously, I think it’d be possible to make creamier bokeh artificially assuming that a distance profile is available for the image, which isn’t I guess (without additional eyes). I smell problems if guessing the distance from existing blur. Any original harsh bokeh would be difficult to tell from the sharp part of the image.

  • fred

    Haha! What did I tell you? Okay, I was a little early.

  • Fake blur, what will they think of next?!

    • glu

      fake focus 🙂

      • peterw

        this actually exist: holographic pictures are being made, in which focuspoint can be chosen later on. And also places to be out of focus.
        sadly i didn’t keep track of the link. Perhaps google will help.

        Note that adobe is working on correlation algorithms to undo motion blur.

        Very much is possible, thanks to overdose in pixels – it will cost some of the resolution – and masive calculation speed of present personal computers.

        Now is possible for everybody what thirty years ago geophysicist of oil companies could do only at very high cost: use your image to model your subject, and choose later on how to present this image best to your public (the directors of the board).

        • RichST

          It seems like it would be a lot easier to have a simple burst capture mode that adjusts for focus with each shot, much like exposure bracketing (I think there’s a term for that)

          • AluK

            Focus bracketing.

    • paf

      I have some ideas…

      In camera hair club for men.
      In camera teeth whitening.
      In camera “Jenny Craig” results.
      In camera breast implants.
      Aperture ring controlled face lift…

      I should be getting paid to come up with these!

      • PeterO

        Absolutely brilliant! Where do I send a donation?

    • John Richardson

      So this is like the lip-sync of the photography world.

      • Lip sync World

        Well if Milli-Vanilli got rich and popular while doing it, Nikon figured they may give it a go as well

        • AM

          One of them ended up committing suicide. So, does this show Nikon’s suicidal tendency? For what they’ve been doing lately, looks like it.

  • I love me some bokeh as much as the next guy, but to buy a separate lens just for that seems like a reach for my wallet more than a new dimension in photography.

    • Worminator

      A new dimension? No. Something you can just replicate by a blur function in software. Definitely not. Approximate? Yes. Worth paying for the genuine article? A matter of opinion.

      • peterw

        Why not do in processing what can’t be done in the lens.
        Nikon Capture NX (2) has an option to correct the curvature of the field and vignetting… Why not.

        First see the results, then judge.
        (perhaps I misinterprete your comment Worminator?)

  • paf

    DC the 1 way.. meh….

    Sounds like Nikon is trying to make up for a small sensor in other ways. I suspect that IF this lens ever makes it to the real world, it won’t be found in the “bargain bin” once again demanding that users pay a premium for the 1 series components.

    Forgive me as I’ll save my pennies for a “manly sensor” instead of getting all excited about this “junior sized chip”. But I suppose it’s good news for those who want that creamy background out of a pocket sized cam.

  • Mat


    Make a $900 AF/as-f 50/1.2
    Make a digital back camera for the FE lines
    Make a classic digital rangefinder with nikon S lenses or new compact FF lenses
    Make macro 1.8s all over the place
    Make some odd lenses with a min of an f/2.0 like 180mm, 150mm, 18mm all FF!
    MAKE BAZILLIONS OF MONEY!! don’t shut yourself out of all the new markets opening!

    The New J & V 1s are piss poor compared with what is out.

    and if they charge $4500 for the new D4/800 what makes me want to stay when I could get the new Red Scarlet X for another 5k with a nikon adapter…..

    This is all coming from a Photographer/videographer

    cheers, sorry for the venting….

    • Mock Kenwell

      Well, there’s an audience of about 13 for your requests. So I’m sure they’ll get on all of those. Especially the cheap-as-hell f/1.2.

    • Worminator

      The design requirements for macro and fast apertures are diametrically opposed.

      Digital back: spending $4000 for a digital back for a long discontinued film body camera when you can get a D700 for $1500. Not too many takers there.

      Digital rangefinder? Well, you might get one but it will have a CX sensor.

      Paying 2-3 more for a F1.2 50 that will perform the same or worse than the F1.4 50. Not too many takers there either.

  • been there guy

    Why reinventing the wheels from CS5?

    • Re-engineer

      Well given that new patent does not necessarily equate to new invention, I guess re-engineering is what Nikon figured they would do and would not have to pay some one for implementation and use of the blur feature implementable via some signal processing algorithm. The addition to the feature set of low-end cameras is improved, and indeed low end Nikon cameras have been criticised on this very point.

  • Moth Flopwell

    Dear Nikon……I can think of better things you could be doing…ie D800 release.

    Ok Nikon have a great day.

    your Customer

    Moth Flopwell

    • Mock Mockwell

      D800 = Day 800……come on be patient, it hasn’t been the 800th day yet til its release.

      Note D4 will Day 4000…. 🙂 …keep waiting.

  • nah

    the fake bokeh thing is not a lens, people. jeez! it is software based as you can clearly read.

  • Hmmmmm

    The subject seems to get a little blurred too…

  • Mimmo

    Mmmm really interesting, but…. Nikon D800??????


    22-80 wow!

  • AnoNemo

    Am I missing something? I mean basically all of these are pretty much belong to #2. (I call the 1 system as #2 because that is it….crap). Now I have serious doubts about the direction Nikon is taking.

    Fake blur … if Nikon keeps it up pretty soon we won’t need a camera and lens to take pictures. I guess the message to those who are waiting for FX product(s) is to buy a frickn’ paintbrush.

  • @ADMIN

    Is the Nikon Rumors Google Gadget broken? I haven’t received an update since the ‘Top 10 posts for October 2011’ post!

    I thought things had gone a little quiet…!

    I’ve tried reinstalling it but it’s still not updating.

    • I mention this few times already – maybe I should do a post about since I got like 50 requests for this widget:

      This is not my widget and I have no control over it. I don’t know who did it and how to fix it. My suggestions is to just use NR RSS feed ( and add it to google reader.

  • kaze kaze

    oh… fake bokeh… or was it how they did those UFO picture back in the good old days?

  • António

    Nikon has special purpose lenses that do this in 35 mm full frame for a long time now – the 105 DC and the 135 DC – and are fast and expensive lenses.
    Porting it to a small sensor it is not that a strange idea, depending on the way it works it can prove to be of interest or just a gimmick.

  • CamaMan

    Callapsible lens? It looks Nikon finaly enginered something complicated! Great job!
    Hopfully i gets released soon nikon1 needs it.

    24-70mm f3.5 variable aperture? For whom is this? Damn…
    And for what format? Useless lens…

  • EnPassant

    It’s a sign! Non constant aperture kit-zooms belongs to consumer cameras! The pro D3 (D4) already have the 24-70/2.8 and “Enthusiast”/Semi-pro D700 (D800) have the 24-120/4. If Nikon make one or several of the above zooms it means they want to sell them to “FX-consumers”. But wait. They don’t have any smaller than the aging D700 FX-camera yet? This is the first sign they are working on such a camera! (Propably FX in a D7000 type body.)


    donno how bout others, but I don´t like the look off the photo with the blur enhancement processing used – looks ugly, plastic, looking almost like it has nothing at all to do with optics … not for me.

    on the other hand – any news on 20/24/28mm + 85mm at f1,8 or 2,0 G (etc. … :-)) – there shall be some, really

    • paf

      Agree with you 100%. I am assuming though that the picture above is an exaggeration so that it’s clear to the patent office what is being done.

      Having said that I should add this:

      I never appreciated the DC function in the 105 and 135 – it was giving definitely better results in my 135 than the 105 which lead me to believe that focal length was the key anyway. The way the 105 and 135 are constructed today – the produce superb images without the DC, so really this “snake oil” DC business hasn’t been that successful (for me at least, but I am no authority on DC). I’ve seen the results from artificial background blurring and they are very subjective — some of them are awful but a mild amount of blur can actually work.

  • photdog

    Don’t be mistaken: in our days not all patents point to a direct intention to bring it on the market this way. Sometimes it’s just about findings on the way of research for a quite different thing. Sometimes it’s just to secure internal knowledge, which could become relevant later on or for someone else from whom one could require license fees.
    However, if I were into a style of photography in where nice blur were frequently important, I’d go with the 135mm DC – it’s a good lens anyway.

  • I don’t think this method will be as precise as de Bokeh of fast lenses. The example shown is not as descriptive.

    • AM

      Who cares what you think Canon user?

  • Bob

    dumb question… why blur out that nice windmill in the background?

    Isn’t that a case where you want big depth of field? sheesh… at least pick an image that’s believable… like put a slaughterhouse or the Eiffel Tower in the background…

  • 120-300 os

    Blurrr well all factories are blured un fortunedtly so blured water foto´s enough come on Nikon start up the goodies soon with xxx your our hart.

  • Ren Kockwell #4


  • Mock Mockwell

    Indeed, i like this new artificial blur enhancement….at least it is a good excuse for my blurred photos.

    ….”sorry for these blurred photos, it is not all my fault. I only caused it blurred on the subjects, the rest is the camera…” 🙂

  • KnightPhoto

    OVF and EVF switching is a sign that future DSLRs will have on sensor PDAF as an option. That’s super as far as I’m concerned!

    And I agree with En Passent, those consumer FX lenses imply consumer FX cameras are coming!

  • What is Nikon innovating these days? 🙂

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