Nikon files patent for in-camera panning feature

Nikon filed a patent 201294984 in Japan for a new panning feature that will combine a high shutter speed image of the main subject and a low shutter speed image of the background:

From the patent application (machine translated):

"It has a synchronizer which synthesizes the part of the image corresponding to the main object area and the background and generates a new image composing the extracted part from the main image with the background from the second image"

This entry was posted in Nikon Patents. Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.
  • Ken Elliott

    Can’t wait to see the amusing photos this creates when it gets confused.

    • Andrew

      You must not be an engineer then. These are the types of issues that are worked out before production. And when it gets confused, it shuts down that functionality and simply takes a normal picture. But on a brighter note, the idea of taking two streams of shots, one for the foreground and the other for the background is quite intriguing. It will be interesting if this feature makes it into the D600.

      • Mock Kenwell

        You’re right, engineers have it all locked down and everything they do is perfect.

        This general concept exists already as an iPhone app. Only difference is that it takes many photos of a non-panned scene and “deletes” people walking by over a series of photos, i.e. making a crowded street seem empty except for your subject. Same general principle and it works quite well a lot of the time, but has hilarious gaffs as well.

        You can’t make a perfect AI execution yet. Even face detection gets locked on some hilarious stuff sometimes.

        • Andrew

          Mock, actually human perception is quite forgiving. Engineers deal with approximations but to the human eye, some of those approximations may appear as perfect. When I refer to engineers, I am not talking about the “pride” of being an engineer since I do not consider one profession as being more important or necessarily more desirable than another. Design concepts such as the Nikon 1 are brought into fruition because of the work and synergy between the different professions, including the demands of the casual and professional photographer.

        • LesM

          Mock, I think you mean “gaffe”.

      • mike

        Is this something we’re thinking on nicer cameras? Maybe it’s just me, but I put this in the category of gimmicks like smile recognition that would go straight to Point and Shoot. Could just be me..

        • Andrew

          Think about it, face recognition is definitely a desired feature on a nicer camera for obvious reasons. Why should one be denied the ability to selectively focus on a desired person in a group? And what about video capability, many purists disdain such a feature on a professional DSLR, yet hordes of professionals and photojournalists select their cameras with this feature as one of their primary requirements.

          Photographic art has no limits and sets no boundary on creativity. Would you also scuff at a photographer’s involvement with time-lapsed photography? So what you call gimmick is easily viewed by others as a desired feature. Aren’t you content to simply purchase your $6,000 camera and operate in the stratified air of the photographic profession? Why would you want to impose your stringent requirements on the masses that may be drowned to the D600 that will be allegedly priced at $1,500? I for one would not even mind if a projector is built into the D600. It even amazes me when I hear someone arguing that a top end camera should not have built-in flash for reasons that it is less durable. The bottom line is that technology is being pushed to the masses, and many professional photographers will take advantage of those lower prices regardless of if the camera has face recognition built in or not!

          • Andrew

            correction: “drawn” and not “drowned”

            … “Why would you want to impose your stringent requirements on the masses that may be drawn to the D600 that will be allegedly priced at $1,500?

            • Mock Kenwell

              Also “scoff” and not “scuff.”

              The flowery prose about interdisciplinary harmony is all super heart-warming, but let’s see it in action first before we start patting engineers on the back for saving the universe.

              Lets’ not forget that they were also responsible for “no-blink” technology as well. If that’s not hubris (we can control your eyelids!), not sure what is.

      • fjfjjj

        I pray you’re not a practicing engineer, because if you are, you have the type of hubris that leads to engineering disasters.

        • Andrew

          fjfjjj, you really do not know what you are talking about or else you are afraid to voice your opinion so as to solicit an intelligent response. I hope you will prove me wrong.

          I have worked at an IBM development lab where I solved a software engineering problem regarding the testing of the microcode of a minicomputer they were about to release; and yet there was no known solution to the problem at the time. I have both an electrical engineering degree and a master of computer science degree. You really do not seem to understand the whole nature of disasters. I hope this response will provoke you to utter a few more words so we can determine whether you are more thoughtful than you sound or just offering sound bites.

          Mock Kenwell has responded to my original comment in an intelligent and insightful way and has enriched everyone by his knowledge – which I appreciate. I seriously hope you could do better!

          • fjfjjj

            You said, “And when it gets confused, it shuts down that functionality”

            Sorry, you’re wrong. Not every system is engineered to fail-safe. Systems that don’t know when to shut themselves down are the root of “glitch” trends in visual arts, music, and elsewhere.

        • Andrew

          fjfjjj, this is a response to your next comment regarding “And when it gets confused, it shuts down that functionality”

          True. Engineering presents us with opportunities to learn from past mistakes and tackle new challenges. A system is only as intelligent as how it is engineered to perform. Problems occur in engineering systems many times despite our best efforts. I think you are reading too much into my statement by implying the I am contending that every system is engineered to be fail-sage. It is untenable for any experienced individual – be they an engineer or not to hold such a view. Engineers deal with constraints the same way that people in many other professions deal with constraints. In engineering, glitches occur for many reasons. Sometimes it is because of bad engineering (design or construction). Other times it is because of faulty materials or the operation of a system beyond its design constraints. And still other times it is because of insufficient testing. Problems also occur when insufficient testing is done because of cost constraints. The Hobble space telescope had a defective mirror that could have been identified with sufficient testing. But to test the deployment of the mirror prior to launch would have cost tax payers $800 million. So NASA took a chance and was wrong. This is what we call risk assessment. Anyway, thank you for your response, it is sincerely appreciated!

  • Teo

    Any news one the blurry image reduction adobe previewed a few month ago with CS6 ?
    Not sure how they called it, but it tracked the camera movements and recombines the pixels so a blurry picture is sharp again.
    I can see this feature being great for a panning effect…

    • St.

      Hey Teo,
      have you done panning???
      If you did you would know how panning and anti-shaking feature in Photoshop are two totally different things.
      Take your camera, go to a motocross race get a pass to shoot from the truck and enjoy.
      Panning has nothing to do with the anti-shaking feature in PS!

      • Rpz

        I don’t see any indication in Teo’s post that suggests he doesn’t know what panning is, in fact he calls it ‘blurry photo reduction’ which suggests he does know it’s not panning. He’s merely suggesting it may be useful like how many filters/functions in PS are useful beyond what they were actually created for.

        Your post, on the other hand St., stinks of pure ignorance and suggests you know less about PS than you pretend to know.

        • Mock Kenwell


        • Anne

          100% agree. Seems like a lot of folks are ornery on here today. I am quite adept at Photoshop and I use many filters and tools in ways other than what they were intended. Great post. I think it makes sense that one could use an anti-blurring filter to enhance the effects of this panning feature. It seems that it will make the “sharp” portion sharper! Then use layer mask to keep blurry portions blurry. I just ordered CS6 so I will definitely try that on pics I already have.

      • Rpz


  • zebrazebra

    not really usefull.. u can do it on your pc in a few seconds..

    • mike

      You can even do it in camera in less than a few seconds.. 1/8th second even! Give or take..

      • Hawkeye

        Actually, I can do it in my D7000 RIGHT NOW. Actually, even in my D80, and maybe even FE if I try hard enough. It’s called rear curtain sync 9or in the case of my trusty FE, hitting the flash trigger at the end of the shot. You get a blurry image of farther away things with your subject in sharp focus.

  • englishfil

    Yet more de-skilling of the ‘photographer’ in the name of progress. At what point can I stay in bed, let my Nikon make its own breakfast and then take itself off for a busy day of taking award winning photographs? Bring my Ilford Sportsman and a roll of whatever wet film is still manufactured – I am heading for a cave to reminisce.

    • hunt

      your nikon eats breakfast? You make food for it too?

    • erviar

      You should have mailed in your comment instead. This internet thing for snarky remarks is way too modern for you.

      • Josh

        You sir are my hero!

  • Mark J.

    Congrats you win at life..

    Of wait, that was people who make a worthwhile comment i was thinking of.

  • Rex

    I should file a patent on my technique that makes the whole image blurry.

    • IBikeTo


    • Teo


    • butter


    • LJK


    • Mark J.


      • InfinityMan

        Ha, ha your computer sucks, your 8 is totally sideways. lol

    • 大子


    • cruser2469


    • LOL!

    • + π

    • Mock Kenwell

      Best comment in the thread!

    • Susan

    • LOL

      Or totally black!

    • D400

      -1. If you did that, I would have to pay you every time I took a blurry shot.

    • BartyL

      That’s pretty funny.

    • Rick Sick

      + ( o ) ( o )

      You’re cool man

    • 🙂

    • Josh

      Sorry…you’re a little late to the game. There is already one – it was on lone to Canon for a while…:)

  • Me

    This is probably the highlight of your day, congrats.

    • Yoan

      Day? I’d say year 😛

  • kex


  • Oh thanks Nikon !!!

    …. ok now please make a patent for an In-camera IS…. WHY NOT ?!!!! don’t be silly !! it will be fun and no need for IS lenses… cheaper lens…. no ? ok fine… be stuburn… (i still love u though)

    Oh and i meant VR not IS tssssss

    • AL

      Canon spy!!! sound the alarm!!!

      • hehehe

      • Spy?….. canon spy?
        haha seriously?
        I am a Canon owner yes but I could have said the exact same thing for Canon… why don’t THEY make an in camera IS like the others?…

        ps I can’t wait to switch back to Nikon… just waiting for the $$$$

        spy…. hahahah that’s funny
        At least i didn’t get the “you canon trolls !!”

        • Andrew

          How low does the price have to get before you switch? There is the “D 1200/2” model coming at $3,000/2. Sorry I could not be more explicit.

          • Hi Andrew…
            I didn’t get what u meant by “D 1200/2″….
            but yes the D800 seams very appealing but I do a lot of video shooting but the moire in a lot of samples that i’ve seen is catastrophic. And with the rumors of the D600 I really just can’t decide…

            And you make it sound like 3000$ isn’t a lot (2800€ where i’m from) but all u get is the body…. and we all know how much good lens cost…


            • Andrew

              Duncan, thanks for the reply. I was being very cryptic. I like mathematics. 1200/2 = 600 (i.e. the D600) and $3000/2 = $1,500 (i.e. the D600 is rumored to be priced at $1,500). So what I meant was if you were ever thinking of switching, then the D600 at a price of $1,500 appears to be a phenomenal bargain. Of course we all have to wait for its real-world performance to tell the true story. But based upon Nikon’s recent history, I doubt they will disappoint us.

              You mention moiré, but I thought that moiré will only surface in the D800E and not the D800; by your statement, moiré in the D800 will be a surprise to me. Anyway, I think the D600 will be my next camera. I hope Nikon gives us a normal ISO range of 100 to 12800 and a large buffer. I really prefer taking pictures without flash. I guess that even with video, low light performance is something you would dearly appreciate.

        • Spies get nervous

          You seem nervous…

          • …. i do live on the edge

            • Spies live on edge

              O rly?!

            • Well yes…
              Can someone explain to me why is my picture showing whenever I post a message on internet…?
              And how can i change it ?

            • ShaoLynx

              @ DD: ever used gravatar?
              Me too. See my picture?

            • @ShaoLynx: I think a while back… but i thought it was called Avatars or something like that… damn… and where do I change it? I’ve had this photo up for years now….

            • ShaoLynx
            • Thanks I’ll do that.
              Have a good one

    • ME

      You got Canon spy from that? “stuburn” stood out to me…oh wait, right..Canon spy.

  • Roper Doper

    I can see it now…. Hey Nikon, my In-Camera-Panning feature is broken….all my pictures are in perfect focus and I’m pissed!

  • it is good to see how many people are truly excited by this new patent!

    when i got my d7000, i found it highly complicated and there were often 2/3 ways to do something. my dial is superglued on “m” much easier…

    • I’m not excited about this. I’m holding out for the masterpiece button.

      Maybe an app, but not more than $1

      • BartyL

        I thought that’s what the ‘M’ on the dial stood for.

        • silmasan

          Oh, that one was for “Menial”

      • rocky

        Is that something like the AS button I keep hearing about? (Anti Suck)

  • AM

    While I welcome some technical advances, there are things that are just off their field. It seems like camera manufactures nowadays forget that photography is an art rather than a technology. I just wonder if the Statue of David would have been that famous if instead of Michelangelo, it had been made by a CNC machine.

    • Jake

      Don’t whine. This feature is destined strictly for Coolpix or the Nikon 1.

      • Anne

        Agreed, I wouldn’t want to see this on my DSLR.

  • Most of you guys are really showing your age.

    Now this is the part where you tell me to “get off your lawn.” 😉

    • astroholic



      It is merely a patent. A software one no less. They don’t need to implement it, and you don’t need to use it if they do.

      Being angry that someone is saving you work is like being angry there is a sale when you go shopping!

  • NC_Mike

    Ideal name for this new thing: “Dragging Your Arse”

  • toonces

    Is that ET riding shotgun in the photo?

    • I think so – this was during Helloween in NYC.

  • Bord81

    There’s nothing to “worry” about. This feature is like “the eye-guided AF”(sorry for my poor English :). The technology is still ages away from what human creativity and “way of perception”can do. But anyway, thanks a lot Nikon for excellent cameras & lenses (esp. D300s & 105 2.5 Ai). “thumbs up”.

  • JC

    What might actually be useful is they used those engineers to develop an in-camera motion-tracking HDR setting.

  • jms

    king for a day… fool for a lifetime…

    • Yeltsin


  • jason

    all this james bond stuff, after you ship the d800, please…

    • Anne


  • mike


  • strange, i wonder why they used a graphic with Simplified Chinese writing in a Japanese patent?

    • Sahaja

      Probably developed by someone working in their Chinese plant.

    • Wublili

      Are you sure ? It sure looks like Japanese to me. I can understand few words from the paper.

      Either way, this is something we might find in Nikon V2… So could be developed in China, too.

  • Sounds like yet another gimmick. Just make a better camera dammit, ideally a V1 size with a better sensor.

    • Bernard

      + 100000000 !!! 🙂

  • Yagion

    People complain about almost everything. Every time there’s a news, it’s flooded with complains in a couple hours. Admin should change the headline “Post a Comment” to “Post a Complaint”. Anyways, TGIF everyone!

    • The comment above just sucks… It just does.

  • Cam

    I hear that the D600 has a Mona Lisa button. It detects the annoyingly chirpy smiley idiots in the crowd and makes the image more uniform. Lets see CS6 sort that one out in one click.

  • DOH

    More features I hope to find in the next camera, the NIkon D70000001. I leave it to you to give the definitions:
    1. UFC – ugly face correction
    2. OR – overweight reduction
    3. WC – weather control
    4. BCU – background clean up
    5. CR – costume rendition
    6. CA – craiglist alert (tells you to sell the camera because it’s
    about to break)
    7. KRR – ken rockwell rendition
    8. CB – car boost

    • mikils

      You sir, made my day!

      may I add few features
      HL – Horizon Leveller
      SSR – Street Sign Removal
      EO – Eyelid Opener
      IS – Instant Sunlighter
      WF – Wildlife Freezer
      BC – Baby Cheerer

      I could go on for days

    • Susan

      LOL! To both of your posts. BTW I believe there already is an HL – horizon leveler.

  • … at least, that’s what the D800 told me last time I had it in TM (talk mode)

    • mikils

      You don’t understand. I will have no stupid line in my wiewfinder telling me to lean a bit this way or that; I need a big fat crowbar that can effectively level the stupid horizon even with my frame! :-))

  • Nelson

    This actually makes sense in a camera like the Nikon 1 System.

    With small sensors it’s almost impossible to make pannings in the daylight, unless a ND filter is used.

    If you close too much the aperture, diffraction occurs, the background is in focus, the “panning blur” will also look harsh.

    The smaller the sensor, the harsher.

  • Well MockKen

    When engineers work, their concepts are reviewed and approved, based on business decisions and marketing, then they implement their concepts. Hence, the patent is quite promising for something that you, the consumers, will have in your cameras. Do not think Nikon is dumb, they pay for patent fee folks.

    Thousand years ago, most scientists were thought being crazy, from narrow minded people. But, these scientists’ inventions are being used today. So, do not laugh…I am laughing at whomever thinking Nikon’s idea is worthless.


  • chrisq

    isn’t this essentially the same as shooting with a rear curtain sync and low shutter speed? or am i missing something?

    • ShaoLynx

      Who said this was flash photography?

  • Back to top