Nikon patent for a camera you can toss in the air to take pictures from above

Junho Yoon's Sky view camera

Junho Yoon's Sky View concept camera

Nikon's patent 2012-189859 is exactly what designer Junho Yoon envisioned: a camera that you can throw up in the air in order to snap picture from above (see more camera design concepts here). The patent describes built-in velocity and acceleration sensors that can detect when to take pictures while in the air. In order to survive the fall, Nikon will make the camera "impact resistance" and will use a collapsible lens in order to protect the glass.

Some drawings and quotes taken directly from the Japanese patent application (machine translated):

Digital camera with collapsible lens

This figure is showing the period when a digital camera is thrown

The above figure is showing the digital camera 10 when a user throws the digital camera 10 up, and change of the speed in a height direction in throw photographing mode. For example, if a user makes the point A the point which threw the digital camera 10 up, the speed v in the vertical direction of the digital camera 10 in this point A will serve as v0. Since gravity influences the digital camera 10 thrown as everyone knows, the speed v becomes small gradually and is eventually set to 0. When this speed v is set to 0, the digital camera 10 reaches the highest position (point B). Then, the digital camera 10 falls in response to the influence of gravitational acceleration (g), and the digital camera 10 is caught by the user at the point C.

Figure 4: timing chart which shows the protected operation of the patented digital camera

As shown in Fig.4, time [ to start the operation which makes the 3rd lens group 21c collapse ] TF will be dependent on the position of the 3rd lens group 21c, if speed of the 3rd lens group 21 at the time of collapsing is made into constant speed. The time TR to start the operation which makes the lens barrel 12 collapse will be dependent on the position of the position of the 1st tube 12a of the lens barrel 12, or the 2nd tube 12b or the 1st lens group 21a, and the 2nd lens group 21b, if the speed of the lens barrel 12 is set constant. It may start, in response to the fact that the operation which makes the 3rd lens group 21c collapse was completed, and the operation which makes this lens barrel 12 collapse may be started when the 3rd lens group 21c makes it collapse to a predetermined position. Since time [ to start the operation which closes the lens barrier 16 ] TB is constant, when the lens barrel 12 collapses to a position, it should just perform operation which closes the lens barrier 16. Thereby, the time T2 to start the protected operation of the digital camera 10 is computable.

Flow chart of the involved image processing

Although the speed of the digital camera 10 when thrown is found in this embodiment from the signal outputted from a velocity sensor, it does not need to be limited to this and it is also possible to use an acceleration sensor instead of the velocity sensor 44. In this case, the speed calculation part 53 of CPU41 asks for a vertical acceleration component from the detecting signal outputted from an acceleration sensor, and computes the time quadrature of the vertical acceleration component in predetermined time as a speed of the digital camera 10 thrown. Thereby, even if it uses an acceleration sensor, the speed of a digital camera can be found like the case of a velocity sensor.

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

    Oh yes: i want one. I’ll try with my new D800E and Nikkor 300mm f/2.8

    • JD

      Works better with one D4 and the 800mm f/5.6 🙂

      • Kids please!

        Works better with a D4 + Sigma 200-500mm f/2.8

        • J

          What if all landed on your head?

          • Troll Prozac

            Use a macro.

    • not even hipsters would buy this one trick pony camera.

      • Andrew

        This one trick pony eliminates the need for an articulating arm in situations where it is not possible to pull off the shot. I want one!

        • good luck you will have it when you need it.
          when i was young, i would crawl to the tree to get the shot or bind the camera with timed shutter and shoe laces to the branch for a selfshot

          • PC Police

            With your constant negative views and advanced age I’m surprised you’re able to use a computer from your treehouse.

  • Charlie

    I can just see it now, photos of down womens shirts. Not that I’d be complaining though. Would have to be the size of a PoS P&S.

    • porns

      you are talkinf of the size of what is inside the shirts, right?

  • Acornburrka

    good for pornstars I guess?

  • kid

    no, i want one with a disposable laser turret.

  • Eric

    I hope this guy already filed a patent:


    • RWJ

      Very interesting the quality is not at great on the video, however if Nikon’s product works like that one it could be appealing.

  • Jeremy

    Will it offer spot metering? Bracketing? Tripod mount?

    • RW

      Yes – adding a tripod will greatly increase in-flight stability 🙂

  • SWC

    Come on Nikon. Use your R&D money on something useful like a 20-70 a 1.8 vr zoom lens.

    • ad

      Use the time you waste here learning how to use primes.

      • Me

        Awesome. Well played.

        • SWC

          The four things everyone can count on… Death, taxes, cyberbullies and fools to follow.

          • Anthony

            Face it: you got schooled. It happens.

      • Aldo

        Or even better… spend all the time you waste here working… and you could afford to go FX and forget about DX for once and for good.

    • Thaumazein

      AF-S 20-70mm f1.8G ED VR N would cost 4000$. At least.

  • Pablo Ricasso

    (I want a wireless camera balloon.)

    • jeff


    • BartyL

      All praise FSM.

    • Theist

      Oh great. Reddit is leaking Atheists.

  • PeterO

    Thank heavens. I’ve been waiting for this since forever. Which poor Nikon employee in a tiny dark cubicle was assigned this stroke of brilliance?

    • Koichi

      No, he wasn’t in a cubical but hung to the ceiling.

      • PeterO

        Now that’s funny Koichi.

        More importantly, does it work horizontally? Then, with the camera tethered to yourself, you could spin around and take endless pictures of yourself spinning around. Facebook needs more of those. It’ll also need WiFi so that you can instantly send the pictures to all your friends who are also spinning around sending everyone pictures.

  • FDF

    rofl @ machine translation.

  • Accessories

    Self-opening parachute, deploys at 3 ft in case you didn’t catch the camera.

    Special introductory offer $599.95.

  • jg

    Nikon has R&D resources to develop this piece of crap, but not a D400 or a DX wide angle prime? It’s getting to the point that I am seriously considering switching to an Oly OM D EM-5. It is light weight, decent IQ and a full spectrum of lenses to chose from.

    I’ve never sold anything on eBay. How difficult is it?


    So *THIS* is the new D400?

    Get on with the D400 and fast, DX wide angle prime lenses and stop this B.S. Nikon.

    And no more “Nikon 1” … or Coolpix announcements next week. OK?

    I’ll send in the Italians if you do….

    • Carsten

      Congratulations, I just went through the comments to find the first one that complains that this “is something nobody needs” to mention D400/D700s (that nobody needs neither)

      • Richard

        Obviously, you must believe that there are a lot of people who think they need (or simply want one, there being no difference to Nikon if they make a sale) a D400 for you to go looking for the first person to make such a post. Whether or not there is a D400 relation to this “throw in the air” camera or not, one certainly must question Nikon’s priorities in devoting resources to this project. Name a project, any project, and I think you will conclude that it surely must have a higher marketing priority than this novelty camera.


        • Carsten

          Took one hour until some fish took this bait.

          Hello: Nikon has 25,000 employees, they are not working like a little-league soccer team (except marketing:-)

          A company of this size has to satisfy different types of customers to create the resources for the next product line. If Nikon would make nothing but high-end DSLRs we had Leica prices. The whole infrastructure in such a production follows the economy of scale; the more units Nikon pushes through its channels, the better for the whole of its products.

          We should be happy that Nikon has a constant flow of products and new stuff in the pipeline, because this also ensures that there will be resources for the high-end sector. This is the causality.

          Yes, this is a novelty. Not every project a R&D group starts will be a paradigm changer like an iPhone, but you should at least try to win, otherwise you loose for sure.

          DX in general: I also was hoping for a D400, but I gave up on this and went full frame. I don’t think I am the only one, so the segment for high end DX might be diminishing in total, not a good outlook for high-end lenses and bodies there.

          D700s: According to this forum Nikon has to produce a D700s,t,u,v,w,x,y,z where each letter stands for a feature of the D700, all other features may improve under the condition that the price is halved . Very likely.

      • ROFL MACHINE….

        @Carsten …

        You said “Congratulations” … I say “Thank you”.


  • What’s this crap?

  • CJ

    I want a bouncy camera ball that will take picture of girls skirt, NOT their tits, they are already showing everyone their plastic ones….

  • Seriously?

    Great so see Nikon focussing on the important stuff, and not wasting their time on some silly D400.

    Making a camera you can throw is far more important than trying to keep some existing customers.

    Maybe they could make a model that automatically sells it’s self on ebay if it doesn’t get updated after 4 years? I could use one of those.


      All *I* can say is… What a load of Balls!


      Perhaps Nikon have stock in a ball manufacturing company?

      They have given up on making cameras for normal people (and photographers, it would seem)!

  • Plug

    I want a stealth version.

  • D700guy

    This is nothing new. I throw my D4 in the air all the time.

  • Something like this already exists:

    Throwable panoramic ball camera

    • Troll Prozac

      That’s cool. The photos suck, but that’s cool

  • T.I.M

    No need for that crap, just use google earth !

  • gsum

    Nikon used to make metal bodied lenses of the highest quality. Now they allow Voightlander and Zeiss to take their market whilst they drown in gimmickry. Somebody at Nikon needs to wake up.

    • T.I.M

      The 14-24mm f/2.8 is $2000
      The same lens in “all metal” would be around $3000
      Are you ready to pay more for a lens that will be heavier and won’t improve the image quality ?

  • I just checked my calendar and it isn’t April 1st.

  • Sylar75

    Kai from DigitalREV (not the very good source of reviews but good entertainment in a weird kinda way) made a camera tosser video.

    He even throws a 5D MK III, a D7K and a 550D during a typhoon!

  • Seriously?

    Well, I am sure that the 654749641354986 Nikon consumers who are not pros will buy this up. Especially the folks who want cleavage shots like the one used to promote the new camera.

    Think of it this way,

    If Nikon can sell a bundle of this gimmick, then they will have more profits. More profits = more $. More $ = more $ for R & D. More R & D = cool sh*t for us.

    Silver lining baby…

    I just want a decent lens that I can afford (2-3k) to take bird pictures. That ain’t happening…

    • Parus major

      Not so, as Charlie pointed out at the top, you could photograph tits with this.

      • T.I.M

        The way women are now dressing, you don’t need an aerial picture to see boobs !

        • and it is good so

          me gusta especially bra-less shirts. even more then downblousing. but well i am an old fart. nowadays teenagers saying nekid or go home, no imagination, teasing whatsoever

    • Sahaja

      You think Nikon spend some of the profit they make on selling Cool-Pix and gimmicks like this on R&D for DSLRs? – No, they probably just spend that money on R&D for more Cool Pix and more gimmicks.

  • Zoot

    From the sample picture provided, I’d say that there’s a right focus issue.

    • sensori

      Maybe user has set closest-object focus priority, so not a right sensor issue.
      User setting boo-boo…

  • Jacob

    Nikon please get effin real.

  • D750 urgent

    In anticipation of a new release to finally replace my d700 … Nikon cried.

  • 103david

    Lord knows, From time to time I’ve wanted to toss my (Nikon/Leica/Canon/…fill in the blank with appropriate brand name here…Chevy/BMW/Ford/Mercedes…etc…into the air…off the cliff…into the lake…feed the volcano…out the waist gun port…
    Well, you get the idea…
    Always remember, unless it’s your Dad’s pocket watch, It’s just stuff….

  • Non D400 owner

    Nikon designing cameras for tossers.

  • Hunt

    I don’t understand why people are complaining about this ideal. Is it not good to push out new ideals and innovations. We are in year 2012 people going on until 2013, 2020, and so on. This might not be perfect at fist but in the future it can improve and spawn new tools just from this device. I think it’s time for us to open our eyes and stop being selfish. I’m sure someone will find use for such device.

  • s o

    Actually, I could see the HPR rocket crowd being attracted to this.

  • Robert k

    Nothing new under the sun.
    I remember years ago a wedding photographer shooting pictures by throwing a Canon 1Ds in the air and timing it so it released at the top point.
    Quite funny group pictures , but he of course always was in the centre of the picture.

  • Jim

    Will not lose any sleep waiting for this one. YAWN.

  • Guy in a Trench Coat

    Ho doesn’t need that stupid camera, I can see her tits from here.

    What he needs is a mirror on his shoes

    Bloody amateurs.

  • Mark J.

    It’s called a monopod with a head that has a high degree of tilt… Photojournalists been using the technique for a few generations now to achieve those images you see on the news hovering over large crowds, protests, events, etc.

  • EAJ

    You don’t need a patent, you just need to know how to catch:

  • TheInconvenientRuth

    You bunch of unfunbags… Can’t you see the fun you could have with this? I’d love one. If its a decent price and ready before next x-mas, it could be THE gadget to have next season. On the beach, at concerts, parties, take a self pic of me dodging bullets in Helmand. I’d pre-order one right now. Even better if they made it waterproof and floating. I’m giddy at the idea of lobbing one over Obama’s head during a speech and then trying to explain that you were just taking a picture. 😀

    Or think about it thus way; if this becomes the next hype since Lomo and Instagram, it will earn Nikon enough to R&D a whole line of DX primes. Happy now?

  • Jaap van den Bosch

    In todays market you can never have too many patents. If you don’t claim ownership, somebody else will and it will cost you dearly…

  • Janice

    “I didn’t notice the camera to turn on while pulling and rotating… ”

    I’m sorry admin, but is English your native language? Either way, you need an editor. Nikon Rumors is an interesting but poorly written site.

  • Tony Montana

    For filming i think its awsome !!!

  • Hawkeye

    I’m assuming this is going to be a new ability added to coolpix cameras, not a new camera. The picture of the weird sphere thing is the concept camera, right? The patent has pics of a coolpix-like camera. So chill out, they’re just doing the same thing they’ve always done. It’s like smile-detection. Not that I disagree about it being silly; it’s just no sillier than usual.

  • David H.

    Look at flickr group “Camera Toss” there are some nutters who regularly throw serious DSLR’s with expensive lenses into the air!!!

    They amaze me!!

    This would be a cheaper fun option!!

    Dave 🙂

  • Budz1179

    first to get stiches on the head from nikon…..

  • steve

    Nikon is currently floating the product name “Photo Bomb” for this new addition.

  • SiliconVoid


  • Ummmm, this is already on the market… SMH Maybe Nikon can capitalize on their brand to make it more widespread, however.

  • Maciej

    It already exists:

  • Back to top