Nikon’s patent reveals passcode protection of lens-body combination

Nikon password protection patent

In order to prevent the use and resale of stolen gear, Nikon filed patent 2013-61508 in Japan that will require the photographer to enter a passcode in order to make a certain lens-camera combination usable. The authentication process will most likely use the lens and camera serial numbers and link them to a pre-selected password. Unless the correct password is entered, the camera and lens will not be operational (Google translation):

"Conventionally, the imaging device provided with the security function is known. In such an imaging device, the technology which makes photography impossible until the password set up previously is entered, in order to prevent a theft and a mischief."

I am actually surprised that no camera manufacturer has implemented a similar password protection yet.

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  • NW

    Entering a password in the camera might take long time.

    Why not simply using your finger print to unlock the camera and lens? Some Lenovo laptop models have such slot type finger print reader already.

    Or put a retina reader right inside the viewfinder…

  • Neopulse

    I like the fact that the lens could be rendered useless unless one inputs a code. Living in a city where theft happens too often it helps. Plus I think insurance on equipment might be lowered if implicated.

  • dnguyen

    Let’s review a list of checks that photographers forget and causes them to miss the moment: 1. Camera is not on, insert charged battery 2. Camera tells you you have no memory card inserted to record images 3. Your camera body doesn’t have a lens attached 4. You can’t see anything because your lens cap is on (applies to SLR users) 5. You forgot to change the settings (e.g. mode, iso, etc.) from your last shoot so the exposure is off. **Now you must enter your password to make sure that the lens and body combination is authorized. Since there’s no keyboard, it would go something like this… *scroll scroll scroll, enter* *scroll scroll scroll, enter* *scroll scroll scroll, enter* *scroll scroll scroll, enter* *scroll scroll scroll, enter* *scroll scroll scroll, enter* *scroll scroll scroll, enter* *scroll scroll scroll, enter* Password Invalid. Please enter password. *scroll scroll scroll, enter* *scroll scroll scroll, enter* *scroll scroll scroll, enter* *scroll scroll scroll, enter* *scroll scroll scroll, enter* *scroll scroll scroll, enter* *scroll scroll scroll, enter* *scroll scroll scroll, enter*. Password accepted. Thank you.

    • sonhn

      With the old bodies you have to scroll so to save your time Nikon will bring touchscreen into new bodies and charge more. Brilliant !

  • Sam

    I was just wishing there were more applications for passwords. I need more random little things to struggle with…

    • stevos

      I already have to remember too many PINs.

      My credit/debit cards (+ ‘secret’ passwords), ATM, internet banking, online accounts, phone, and ISP. At work the password changes every 3 months to something long and random – (I write it down 🙁 ). I don’t need another one to remember.

  • I want to see this feature ASAP !!! and I hope it applies to older camera like the D7000 or even the D90

  • Nick-Nikon

    Why not introduce a pincode (like on phones etc.) on cameras + blocking an attached lens. must be a piece of cake!

  • phonatic

    This isn’t a patent app for a feature, this is the D400!!!

  • nobody

    Only problem it can’t be implemented properly, allowing for rentals, resale, death of the owner, identifying people from differing countries, etc.

  • Pieter Molenaar

    If you go to the source, the patent application published by the Japanese patentoffice, you will read that the user verification is done with an integrated irisscanner in the lens (nr. 271 in the drawing).

  • Manuela

    I thought 1st April is over…

    • stevos

      The consumer should vote with their feet and just not buy it if the system is too restrictive.

  • Leo

    Protect against theft is a valid approach. Disable Sigma lenses would not be a good idea. It would be better to offer new services maintenance, or new technologies. Installing stabilizers lens 1.4 and 35 provide competitive values​​, as did the Sigma.

  • Valeri

    Патент на обьектив -бед. тогдя я старый не смогу продать и такуже купить Б/у более дорогой. Можно подумать что у нас каждый день воруют камеры .Да и взломают ваши чипы . Ток хакерам зарплату добавите

  • Mike_Strong

    Breathtaking stupidity! I cannot imagine who came up with that one. Maybe Nikon lost all of its photographers (kind of like Microsoft seems to have lost its core programmers). You, know, people who actually use the product. I can just see trying to login as I pull my camera up for a “fast” shot.

    More cynically this is not so far from the recent trends to rent you a license for software (i.e. cs6) which has to be constantly authorized over the internet to keep using it. I managed to buy the disk upgrade (less than $200) but Adobe sure did want to sell me a $30/month usage contract. $200 buys me 6-2/3 months (about 203 days) at $30/Month (If I upgrade every three years the $30/month is about 5.4 times more expensive or about $1080 for the 3-year period just for the upgrade which is more than the full cost).

    Usually I upgrade every three or four years (and have been since 1992). What next, pay per wearing clothing? And what if the clothing loses authorization connection via the internet when you are in the middle of a crowd? The wonders of “the cloud” which used to be just called thin client only now their is the added method of high prices, slow service and you never have control.

    • stevos

      ‘The Cloud’ will eventually control you.

  • Wood Maven

    Companies do things like this for their own benefit – in this case I believe they want to discourage reselling of lenses by throwing out one more stumbling block. Imagine the eBay discussion: “Sure, I’ll send you the code AFTER you pay for the lens…..”

  • this is the dumbest idea ever.. gear will always get stolen and sold.. this just makes it harder for honest people to sell thier lenses

    • ShaoLynx

      No it doesn’t: just remove the pwd or just *tell* the buyer the damn thing. May be a new concept, though, to tell a pwd on sale…

  • time to move from nikon if this is the extent of thier creativity.

  • zyga

    what do I think? a Nikon user for last 15 years? I will tell you: first day this device arrives the same day I sell all my Nikon stuff
    I don’t want another Apple or Microsoft in my house and what Nikon is doing is going to be exactly the same … story

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