Nikon patents for illuminated F-mount, duplicated electronic mount contacts and hybrid viewfinder

Nikon LED mount lighting patent

Nikon filed patent application 2013-57757 that will make changing camera lenses in the dark easier by illuminating the mount/lens. The implemented LED light source in the camera will transmit light to the mount and lens via an optical path located above the optical elements.

Nikon duplicated electronic mount contacts

Another patent application (2013-58840) describes duplicated electronic mount contacts that will ensure communication between the lens and the body even if one of the contact sets is damaged/dirty.

Nikon hybrid viewfinder patent

Nikon patent 2013-54232 is for technology that instantly switches between an optical (OVF) and an electronic viewfinder (EVF) - something similar to the hybrid viewfinder inside the Fuji X100.

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  • Vin

    There it is!

    • Vin

      We are on the road, how fast will they push this one forward? ..!!

  • Spy Black

    Yes, but will it really be for the F mount, or the 1 mount?

    • Hard to say from the patent, I just assumed it will be F-mout.

  • silky33

    Nikon patent 2013-54232 which is cool,,,we used to given nikon suggest since 2008

  • Micah Goldstein

    Single shutter, or just simplified for the diagram?

  • Eric Calabos

    I didnt know duplicating something in a device can be patented

    • MyrddinWilt

      It is an application, not a patent. Can apply for anything, but I doubt they will get it just for duplicating the contacts. There is ample prior art.

      Quite often companies will apply for stuff just to find out what the prior claims are. It is cheaper to have the USPTO do the research than hire someone. If you do get a patent it might stop a troll getting one. Since it costs $2 million + to defend a patent lawsuit pre-trial, companies are very risk averse.

    • David Kasman

      Well, without knowing the patent application’s “claims”, it is difficult to comment. I doubt that they are as broad as “a device with redundant electrical contacts”.

  • Pablo Ricasso

    Not sure that’s an F-mount, sorry. It looks completely a new lens mount to me, once again.

    • chubbs

      I don’t think they need the details of the mount for this, just a demonstration of the lighting concept. It’s just a plain picture that’s not supposed to shit the exact threads of the mount.

      • Zivko Radovanovich

        Whatever it is, it won’t fit the F-mount. Not without major modification that would render most of the existing lenses unusable.

        • chubbs

          Yeah, it probably won’t be an f mount.

      • Pablo Ricasso

        I was referring to the mount not the concept. This “ground breaking idea” will require a new style mount.

        • Reggie

          You said it looked like a completely new mount. He’s pointing out that the details of the mount aren’t in the mock up. They don’t need to be. It’s just a smooth cylinder. He understood what you meant. It might be a completely new mount, but you can’t tell that by looking at these diagrams. They’re just blank parts to show the structure.

        • chubbs

          Gotcha, yeah it won’t be an f mount as you say, I don’t think so.

  • D4ve

    All of which will be implemented in the new D400. Please, just give them a D400 to shut them up. And, if you have any sense of humor, offer it in D3100 red.

    • After d400 is released people will start to cry: “Where is my d4s/d4x” or d900 🙂 but i’m paitiantly waiting for d400 asmy d300s is a very good camera with bad ISO performance (compared to recent cameras)

      • Calibrator

        I already saw people whining for a D4x but it’s too early for D900 whining. The D800 is only out for a year and people know that Nikon won’t bring the D900 in the next one to two years from now. 😉

    • umeshrw

      Wow. Now actually the D400 haters start whining about it before the D400 wanters.

  • Hker

    Hi all, it is an actual problem changes lenses in low light, especially theatres. I have stuck a small yellow reflector, say 5x5mm (like construction workers wear) on the white dot on all of my camera bodies, and also have this yellow reflector on all my lenses. That way I can align the body and lens by sight and also by touch to assist the attachment. Hope the light they mentioned in the camera body is not too bright, as would be distracting to the audience.

    • Blacksyrium

      It’s only made to light dust and oil spots… thank you Nikon!

  • niXerKG

    That illuminated mount sounds like something that could go on the D4S when they finally decide to do dual XQD or back to dual CFs.

    • Cloke

      Was just going to post that this would go great on a D4S. The illuminated buttons are already a huge help during dark shoots. I often have delays switching lenses in dim environments.

      • niXerKG

        Exactly what my train of thought was. It’d be a natural progression of that lovely idea of illuminated buttons. Hopefully there is a D4S which puts it coming out next year maybe, otherwise 2016ish 🙁

  • An illuminated mount? Newbies will like it but if you know your camera and lenses well enough you could change lenses even with your eyes closed…

    • Gord

      Why? For combat situations? I’m sure even some experienced photographers would like the convenience.

      • a4

        Have you ever seen/held a pancake Nikkor 50/1.8 AiS? If so, then you shold understand why THIS is a complete nonsense…


        • Gord

          Yeah, I have. And I’ve put a little glow in the dark sticker on it so I can quickly and easily attach it in the dark. Like my other lenses too.

          • a4

            …or you could have as well felt and used the little bulge seen on the picture ;). This simple yet elegant solution, if used on all Nikkor lenses, would be more than enough imho…

            • Gord

              No, I have nerve damage in my hands and trouble feeling. I have to do it by sight. Like I said dude, some experienced photographers might like the convenience. If they need it or not.

            • a4

              In your case this would definitely be helpful, right.
              Anyway, before even reading the whole article, I was thinking of something more innovative – like a tiny LCD on the lens backlit from the body, showing focus distance info, which is quite often missing in nowadays lenses (mainly for mirrorless). So this is pretty disappointing for me.

      • WH Mitty

        COMBAT??!! Give the enemy a target. That’s the ticket! Call me a cynic but I think Nikon has too much free time.

        • Ron

          You’re right, instead of wasting their energy in stuff we don’t use they should start working on new lenses because right now a lot of Nikkors are eating Sigma and Rokinor’s dust 🙁 And i wish i could buy a 400mm like Canon without having to spen $10K for a 2.8.

      • Mike

        No, for Super Bowl blackouts.

    • hker

      I guess you can change the lens in almost pitch black conditions when given time. But when in a rush and you got to align lens and body in split seconds it is much more difficult. Particularly as the white dot to align lens / body is not raised enough to feel easily where it is. In a similar respect it’s like the illuminated buttons on the D4, something which I find very useful in the theatre/low light events, but you could say an experienced photographer will know exactly where the buttons are in the dark. From my experience when working under pressure, any slight modifications to make your life easier helps. Have a go and switch off the light and attach lens to body in a few seconds, I believe most will find it fiddly and possibly damage the mounting ring by putting in the lens the wrong way. I currently carry a small torch to sort this issue, but another thing hanging around your neck or trying to find it in the dark 🙂

  • Smudger

    Great. But can we have the black screw back now?

  • xjxjxjxjxjxjx

    comes in handy on these nights when i wake up with a sudden urge to remount all my lenses. just to make sure I still know…

    • Smoq

      Lol, exactly. As much as I admire Nikon developing new technologies for their cameras, they are stubborn enough not to include the existing ones, like WI-FI, onboard. Even my $50 ip camera has wifi, Nikon people…

  • j v

    Not sure if this is not a solution looking for a problem… A simple bulge on the lens should be enough to be able to align it nicely with the mount in the dark. The double contacts may be interesting, but again: was this really a problem?

    The patent 2013-54232 is more interesting, I wonder in what ways it differs from the Fuji X100 method that it gets accepted as a patent.

    • MyrddinWilt

      Like they have on the Nikon 1 lenses… ?

      I suspect they looked at lots of technologies when designing the CX mount and this is simply one of the ones that didn’t make it but they thought worth filing a patent on just in case.

  • pick up the pieces

    Only another japanese toy.

    And…I ask to my self how long does it works?

  • Camaman

    Looks to me they are becoming over confident in their ISO capability.

    Shooting in a dark is not yet possible to such extent that I don’t see the lens mount…

    • Ken Elliott

      Think about the theater where the stage is well lit, but the shooting area is dark. Same with concerts, dance performances, night shooting (time lapse), etc.

    • No longer Pablo Ricasso

      Or maybe they assumed you were going to use the flash they provided…

  • maggy

    I want D400… not lighters in future lenses.!!!

  • It seems like they plan ro illuminate the mount and the lens when mounted (assuming the lens incorporates the light channel). Why? Why not a simpler design where the LED is located where the dot is now? And how is this not obvious? Did they also patent backlit buttons? Why not just use phosphoresent paint? Works for watches.

    OTOH: Hybrid pentaprism sounds like an awesome idea. If you have phase detect on the imaging sensor you get all the benefits of Sony’s SLTs with none of the downsides.

    • umeshrw

      One obvious answer comes to mind. Nikon can charge a lot for this than it can for just an led dot.

  • MyrddinWilt

    Illuminated for changing in the dark? Isn’t there a risk that might accidentally expose the film?

    • Nino N.

      you can change you lens out in the sunlight and everything will be just fine 🙂

      • MyrddinWilt

        Oh this isn’t for large format then?

  • Dormant

    The illumination could be useful – as long as there is a way to switch it off.

    • No longer Pablo Ricasso

      Agreed. And I also think that we should be able to change lenses in the dark. But I suppose I’m spoiled in that sense because most of my lenses have prongs…

  • Nino N.

    It is awfully hard to change a lens in the dark while you are in rush.

  • upuaut

    this is a welcome convenience. I’m into outdoor night photography (star trails etc) where no city light or moon are present. Many a time I was reluctant to change lenses because I could not decide orientation by touch alone.

  • For me these patents seem to be an april-joke, but let’s see what will happen …

  • Anonymous Coward

    Headlamps cost like $2.59 these days…

  • Jonathan Ingram

    This will be handy for night-scapes, but we will probably have to wait for the next generation of cameras. I guess I’ll have to keep using my $5 headlamp for now. This technology will probably be most useful in situations where a tool like a headlamp is not OK to use, such as when shooting formal events.

    Just a thought- the mounting dots would need to glow on both the lens and the body in order to make this very useful in complete darkness.

  • JJJJ

    Have fun changing your lenses in the wild. Bugs are going to love and be attracted to the light. You will enjoy scraping dead mosquitoes and flies from your sensor. Take it from me, having used 1×1 LED panels in a forest. Took awhile to clean all the bugs out.

    • fred

      Nikon could make the led light yellow to not attract bugs and insects.

      I don’t like Nikons’ LED concept though.

      I like the ‘glow-in-the-dark spot’ dimple on body and lens idea. You can do it yourself, Google glow in the dark nail polish or paint.

  • Drazen B.

    All we photogs really need is a lens mount markers (white dots) on the camera and the lenses to be made of luminous fluorescent material that glows in the night at least faintly. This should be enough to give us points of reference when aligning a lens to the camera mount.
    No need for this new patent shown above, really. It’s just another gimmick.

    • mandrillo

      Ahh, the common sense which is rare these days on forums…I agree with you, great suggestion.

  • tengris

    Illuminated gizmos are really a long awaited feature if your core business is “changing lenses”, “attaching sunshades” or “mounting/dismounting flash units”. If it’s outdoor photography, where you may unreckonedly face the triceratops while you stump through knee-deep mud, you are boiled in your own shit. Changing Nikon lenses in short time works fine on the kitchen table. Changing them quickly outdoors with two hands for one camera and two lenses, with no option to drop anything, is a bit more of a challenge. I would have appreciated a mount that allows lens change quicker and safer in bright sunlight, where I prefer to shoot. Integrated torchlights are fine for finding the toilet in the dark. But in this case the display illumination will do the job.


    Redundact contacts for Pro Bodies would be totally welcome! I’d pay extra money for that.

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