Nikon patents removable heat storage for cameras

Nikon removable heat storage for cameras patent Nikon removable heat storage for cameras patent 2

The latest Nikon patents filed in Japan: in order to prevent camera overheating, one of the patents describes a removable/interchangeable heat storage that will absorb the heat produced by the sensor (Peltier effect). The heat storage can be replaced, similar to to the camera's battery and memory card. This will be especially helpful during long video recordings. One of the related patents described the removable heat storage being located behind the LCD screen which provides a close contact to the sensor through a dedicated heat conductor.

From the patent description (machine translation):

"In a digital camera, a latent heat storage material is arranged near the image sensor, and there are some which suppressed the temperature rise of the image sensor periphery by carrying out accumulation of the heat emitted from the image sensor to a latent heat storage material by a phase change."

Via Egami

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  • F200

    Maybe we’ll see a removable sensor for Nikon soon…

    • Sundra Tanakoh

      Maybe we will see my grandmother rise from the dead before Nikon ponies up with the D400 also.

      • Evan Richardson


    • HotDuckZ

      Removable for what? It’s non-sense. Camera will look old if you used it’s every-day in one year. Why it’s need to removable? It’s very expensive, tiny and breakable.

      • F200

        It’s pretty obvious why, so that you can use different sensor. Being modular would be a great advantage in terms of flexibility. Imagine changing sensor, and processor of course, while maintaining the same ergonomics that you’re used to for so many years. Use your D700 body that’s still very much in good shape (except for the lousy rubber grip) and change sensor to that of D4….

        • Aldo

          ambitious thinking… but unlikely imo.

          • F200

            Knowing Nikon, they’ll patent such a design….and keep it in the filing cabinet waaaay at the back of the design dept…

            • Calibrator

              Dude, companies patent crazy stuff all the time – often just to build a patent portfolio for strategic reasons (legal battles etc.).
              They may have an actual product in the works but it’s often more likely they won’t.

        • HotDuckZ

          Stop thinking like a kid, that toy was impossible.

        • Neopulse

          Well there is something like that in existence. For the MF digital backs. The 40 MP are different in size compared to their 60 & 80 MP counterparts. Also forgot to add that certain circuitry would have to change along with it including a whole new interface system that would need constant updates. The idea of running a D4 sensor on older Expeed technology is not a good idea.

    • fjfjjj

      …or an F200 😉

  • Calibrator

    Removable heat storage elements…
    How to handle them when they are hot? With asbestos gloves? 😉

    Also, these are probably not the type of kind of Peltier elements that were used in the 90ies for cooling PC- and Mac-CPUs. One of the major disadvantages back then were the possibility for water condensation in the PC. Not something I’d want. (I guess they solved that problem…)

    Like the Wikipedia article says there could be another problem: Energy efficiency – as Peltier elements need electrical energy to work.
    Which translated to less shots per battery (or less minutes of video)…

    Good that Nikon uses a consumer body for the patent illustration, then.
    I can’t help myself but this patent looks like your typical “we need to get x patents per year to build our patent stock” and not something that will be realized in a body in the forseeable future.

    • Joel

      It wont be a peltier cooler due to the energy requirements. Nope, this is just a hunk of copper that can swapped out when it gets warm enough to start affecting the image quality.

      Perhaps Nikon could look at patenting technology to make cooler sensors rather than patenting cooling solutions that complicate the act of shooting even more so.

      • Calibrator

        So we get additional weight instead? Some pros will be fine with that but I don’t see a pro body in the patent illustration.

        In fact I see a consumer body – perhaps because it’s easier to replace the cooling element in a movable screen instead of a fully sealed body with fixed LCD?…

        Do consumer bodies really have this heat problem the cooling element is meant for? Do mirrorless cameras have heat problems even though they use the sensor all the time (permanent live view).

        Or do we see an illustration of a future (semi)pro body optimized for video? This – and a body optimized for astro-photography (like Canon does) – would be the only real situations for a body pictured like this.

        As for sensors does Nikon still really does their own sensor development instead of simply ordering ones according to specification?

        • fred

          Maybe the new body is ALL (tough) plastic. No more metal…..that’s when a copper/metal heat transfer device is needed.

  • syd

    Personally I think this will be for an astro version of the camera which Canon has but Nikon doesn’t. It would make sense for low noise during long exposure when using the camera for astrophotography.

    Otherwise why now build the heat conducting element which interfaces with the metal body. It would dissipate more heat than a chunk of copper can store.

    • Adam Skagius

      It wouldn’t be a piece of copper, i would be a bag of a mixture with salt and water with much greater entalpi than copper.

      • fjfjjj

        For those wondering what “entalpi” is, look up enthalpy.

  • Aldo

    seems very inconvenient… I sure hope they know what they are doing.

  • tertius_decimus

    Nikon, you should make warm battery slot for those living in cold regions.

    • Evan Richardson

      They have, it’s called your pocket 🙂

  • IanDarwinPhoto.Com

    When I first saw the “heatline”, having recently been photographing in the Arctic, I thought maybe they were providing a way to keep the camera warm in -40 weather. Then I looked at the picture… Ah well.

    • zoetmb

      Well, shoot some video and the camera will warm up!

  • bjrichus

    This is of considerable importance for cameras with CMOS sensors and doing movie work. Lets just say that there are some cameras out there in the m4/3 format that don’t do more than 10 or 15 minutes of video recording before they shut down due to internal heat.

    • Guest

      SO WHAT
      Show me one movie ever that uses a 10 minute scene.
      99.9% of movie scenes are 10 seconds or less.

      • Alessandro Aimonetto

        i shoot video at weddings. maybe not 10 minutes clips, but rather 4-5 minutes continuous clip in sequence (with little or sometimes no time to cool) on a steady…camera gets hot, so sometimes I’m forced to switch off to cool

        • Jo

          Yes, you shoot video, not movies.

  • Art Mullis

    Possible new feature coming to the D4x later this year maybe?

    • D5100 owner

      no. In order for it to be removable behind the LCD you would lose all the weather sealing that makes the D4 indestructible. they would be better off transferring the heat to the alloy, spreading it out and not sacrificing durability.

      • fjfjjj

        Yeah there’s no such thing as a piece of weather-sealed equipment with removable parts.

    • Neopulse

      Genius post

  • If they’re going to allow hot swapping of a big thing behind the sensor, make it an iphone (at least as an option). If you’re going to allow a hot-swappable heat sink, put some vanes on it or allow for active cooling systems.


    How about patenting a DSLR in an FX body with full Internet and networking capabilities. Throgh in an internal 3 TB drive and your set. Then maybe photojournalists can compete with iPhones. I’d pay a lot for that.

    • Calibrator

      Quite the contrary:
      Some newspapers are already getting rid of their photo journalists and offload their work to the regular journalists which get outfitted with an iPhone as their “standard issue camera” and a “photo-journalism for dummies”-book.

      Thom Hogan had a blog entry on Jun, 2nd about that.

      Also see the last entry here:

  • Gab

    This is kind of ridiculous. CMOS sensors do get warm, but if they could be connected to a passive cooling system no heat storage unit would be needed. For example use small heat pipes to transfer the heat to the mag alloy body, it wouldn’t be enough heat to make it more than slightly warm to the touch if at all noticeable.

    • fjfjjj

      It’s amazing that Nikon spent the effort on this patent, because nobody ever said to them “passive cooling is enough.” If only you had been there to tell them, before they wasted all this time.

      • fred

        Maybe the SB900 could have used a heatsink. I don’t shoot video with my DSLR so not an issue.

  • Sahaja

    Might be useful with on-sensor autofocus – because with that the sensor is on all the time

  • Hot&Bothered

    This is a clunky solution.
    Water cooling has to be the way forward.

  • tmay

    While it is conceivable that Nikon could use heat pipes, thermoelectric devices, a mass of metal, fan and heatsink, a phase change material, or some combination of these, most likely this is strictly a phase change material, similar to a cold pack used in athletics and medicine. It’s cheap, single use, effective and mostly just simple and reliable.

    Probably could be activated merely by closing the lcd display with the pac in place behind the sensor. Maybe Nikon would sell a box of 20 for $20.00 or something retail.

  • Captain Megaton

    Needs more liquid nitrogen.

    • Evan Richardson

      Wait until someone starts trying to over clock the cameras processor.

  • Tomas Jensen

    Why not convert the heat energy to electrical power an charge the battery with this? That would be nice 🙂

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