PetaPixel

Canon Working on In-Viewfinder LCD and Sensor-based Stabilization

Based on patents recently filed with the United States Patent Office, Canon seems to be working on technologies that could have a huge impact on how you photograph.

Since these are simply patent applications, there’s no guarantee the technology will find its way into cameras anytime soon. However, it’s interesting to see what the camera corps are working on and what we might expect sometime further down the road:

Viewfinder LCD

One of the developments is the introduction of a small LCD screen in the viewfinder, separate from the live, optical view. In the images from the patent application shown above, you can see the LCD view above the traditional optical view and information bar on the right.

This means you can keep your camera pressed to your face while shooting, reviewing prior images on the in-viewfinder LCD rather than the LCD on the back of the body. If you constantly pull the camera away from your face to review what you just shot, this feature might give you an extra boost in productivity.

Sensor-based Stabilization

Another interesting thing found by Photography Bay in the patent application for the in-viewfinder LCD is the mention of an in-camera image stabilization feature.

This is interesting to note due to the fact that Canon and Nikon have long advocated image stabilization and vibration reduction built into lenses rather than camera bodies, even while other DSLR-makers (i.e. Sony) have offered stabilization built into bodies via sensor shift technologies.

Will we see Canon and/or Nikon introducing sensor shift stabilization soon? This would be a big deal, since it would instantly improve the performance of non-IS/VR lenses.

Your Thoughts?

You can learn more by reading the patents yourself here: 20100003025 and 20100002109.

What do you think of these two features? Do you want them included in Canon/Nikon bodies, or would cameras be better off without them?

(via Photography Bay)


 
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  • lolovroom

    Regarding the LCD Viewfinder, it has to have at least the same quality image than the mirror. And here I'm not sure that the pixels won't be seen. It requires such a resolution on such a small display. Might be very expensive?

  • lolovroom

    Ok did not saw it was added to the optical live view. But still in order to be able to have an idea of a picture a minimum of quality is required. Not convinced here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Josh-Zytkiewicz/1305407149 Josh Zytkiewicz

    From what I've seen about image stabilization, certain focal lengths benefit more from in lens technologies, while others perform better with in body. Having both available can't be a bad thing, especially if they're able to communicate with and augment each other.

  • mattlacey

    An in view finder LCD would be better for just showing the histogram from the last shot rather than a preview. Pretty much all I'd use it for the trial and error metering I do when using a much older lens. Yes I could buy a light meter but it seems a bit like overkill when I can see a full histogram in a couple of seconds.

  • ricardobeat

    Pentax filed a patent for this back in 2008. It was rumoured to be a feature in the K7, but it looks like it's not yet technically/commercialy feasible.

  • http://shuttersounds.thedailynathan.com nathanyan

    It depends on the usage. Would you be able to assess focus at a glance as easily as a larger rear LCD? Probably not. But think of all the other things that you use the LCD review for: exposure, composition, whether you got the right timing – all of these can be checked with a quick glance. And most people who really worry about focus are assessing it by zooming in on the image anyway, which you could still do with the in-camera LCD.

  • http://shuttersounds.thedailynathan.com nathanyan

    The lens-based systems theoretically stabilize better overall because they correct for rotational shake, which is the dominant source of blur for medium-to-far distances and more narrow angles of view (telephotos). Sensor-shift systems correct for lateral shake, which is still effective but less so the narrower the angle of view and longer the distance. But sensor-shift works well for short shooting distances, like macro, which is an area that lens IS hasn't done well at until the recent introduction of the “hybrid IS” systems recently that also correct lateral shake.

  • http://shuttersounds.thedailynathan.com nathanyan

    It depends on the usage. Would you be able to assess focus at a glance as easily as a larger rear LCD? Probably not. But think of all the other things that you use the LCD review for: exposure, composition, whether you got the right timing – all of these can be checked with a quick glance. And most people who really worry about focus are assessing it by zooming in on the image anyway, which you could still do with the in-camera LCD.

  • http://shuttersounds.thedailynathan.com nathanyan

    The lens-based systems theoretically stabilize better overall because they correct for rotational shake, which is the dominant source of blur for medium-to-far distances and more narrow angles of view (telephotos). Sensor-shift systems correct for lateral shake, which is still effective but less so the narrower the angle of view and longer the distance. But sensor-shift works well for short shooting distances, like macro, which is an area that lens IS hasn't done well at until the recent introduction of the “hybrid IS” systems recently that also correct lateral shake.

  • Happy_Tinfoil_Cat

    I, for one, would like to have the option of seeing a hi-res image showing blow-out areas when the shutter is pressed half way down. The pixels can be as small as you want, even to the point you can't see them; It's just a silkscreen process. The increased cost comes from a slightly more sophisticated graphics controller to handle increased number of pixels.

    After the age of 40, I have not been able to adjust focus in-camera very well. Years ago I had a Sony F707 that would temporarily zoom into the frame when you adjusted the focus ring. It was a nifty way to see what you're focusing on (if it happened to be in the center). It would be much nicer if Canon sets it up to zoom in on the active focus point. You can buy a loupe for the viewfinder but these are hundreds of dollars, especially for the electronic versions.

    I am not so jazzed over the current IS stabilization mechanisms. Stabilization softens the shot, have limitations for panning, or in shaky environments, eat a bit of light, and reliability is a known problem in some lenses. For the money, faster glass is sharper and more versatile. Hopefully, any in-body IS will be well implemented.

  • Happy_Tinfoil_Cat

    I, for one, would like to have the option of seeing a hi-res image showing blow-out areas when the shutter is pressed half way down. The pixels can be as small as you want, even to the point you can't see them; It's just a silkscreen process. The increased cost comes from a slightly more sophisticated graphics controller to handle increased number of pixels.

    After the age of 40, I have not been able to adjust focus in-camera very well. Years ago I had a Sony F707 that would temporarily zoom into the frame when you adjusted the focus ring. It was a nifty way to see what you're focusing on (if it happened to be in the center). It would be much nicer if Canon sets it up to zoom in on the active focus point. You can buy a loupe for the viewfinder but these are hundreds of dollars, especially for the electronic versions.

    I am not so jazzed over the current IS stabilization mechanisms. Stabilization softens the shot, have limitations for panning, or in shaky environments, eat a bit of light, and reliability is a known problem in some lenses. For the money, faster glass is sharper and more versatile. Hopefully, any in-body IS will be well implemented.

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  • Dave K

    Just because a patent is issued doesn't make it defensible.
    Off the top of my head I can think of a number of other devices that would cover the prior art and obviousness criteria for this setup LCD in the view finder.

  • Dave K

    In the military devices for augmented reality I can think of three or four devices already using similar setups. If I thought about it I bet I could come up with more.

  • Anu

    Wrong. AFAIK there is so far only one lens with rotational correction for shaking, while Pentax K7 corrects for this as well. Before this all corrections were for lateral movement.

    Sensor shift works just as well, if not better than lens based systems, under all conditions – the real difference is that Canon and Nikon started making stabilized systems durting the film era when it was the only possible option. As they have a portfolio of such lenses as cash cows, they have to defend their way.

    And all the IS systems at the moment are not too good at macro-distances. I am guessing this has something to do with changing angle of view.

  • http://shuttersounds.thedailynathan.com nathanyan

    Nope, you've got it precisely backwards. ALL lens-based methods correct for rotational shake, and almost none of them work on lateral shake. This is why most IS systems are ineffective for macro images. At short subject distances, lateral shake becomes the dominant source of image blur.

    Here is a Canon animation demonstrating how their IS system works. Note that the type of shake shown is very clearly a rotation of the camera.

    http://www.canon.com/bctv/faq/optis.swf

    Sensor-shift methods mostly work on lateral shake, which is why they've been regarded as not quite as effective for telephoto images. However a few of the newer ones (like the K7 you mentioned) claim to correct for rotational shake as well.