Olympus recently filed a patent in Japan for a vari-angle LCD screen. While that’s not exactly groundbreaking, the illustrations in the patent appears to show some kind of medium format digital camera. What’s more, it looks nearly identical to the Samsung digital medium format prototypes that emerged earlier this year.
If you’re curious as to which prime lenses Canon has marked for refreshing, recently filed patents may hold the answer. The lineup consists of a 50mm f/1.4, 85mm f/1.2, 85mm f/1.8, 100mm f/2.0, 135mm f/2.0, and 200mm f/2.0. There are also rumors that a 35mm f/1.4 Mark II is already floating around in the wild, which suggests that it will be officially announced in the near future.
(via Egami via Photo Rumors via Canon Rumors)
Image credit: Canon L series Primes – 35mm F/1.4 by Benjamin Ellis
Olympus and Panasonic might be cofounders of the Micro Four Thirds movement, but the companies appear to be taking different approaches toward 3D photography. While Panasonic offers a special 3D lens that contains two lenses, a newly discovered Olympus patent shows an even more novel approach: adding a second lens to a camera via its hot shoe. Simply stick the lens on and turn your camera sideways to transform it into a stereoscopic 3D camera!
(via Photo Rumors via PopPhoto)
If you’re a fan of Fujifilm’s X100 and X10, then you might want to brace yourself: the company’s next camera might be the one mirrorless camera to rule them all. Fujifilm’s upcoming mirrorless camera will likely have the same sleek styling as the X100, but with one colossal difference: a revolutionary new “organic sensor”. Fuji has been developing the technology for years now, and the new camera — supposedly named the Fujifilm LX — is rumored to be the first to pack the sensor.
It’s not just big tech companies engaged in patent wars: Luma Labs has discontinued their Luma Loop and Luma LoopIt camera straps after Black Rapid was awarded a patent for camera slings with sliding connections on November 1st. In an open letter to customers, the company writes,
We did our research, consulted our lawyers, and found more than enough prior art related to this concept.
[...] the idea of a sliding camera sling isn’t an amazing new invention. It’s just a really good idea that’s been around for a while and which has been iteratively developed. Neither we nor our lawyers believed that the USPTO would grant a patent for the claims related to this concept. It was a surprise, then, when our competitor was granted a patent covering the concept on November 1st, 2011. To say that we’re disappointed that the USPTO couldn’t find the prior art around the idea is an understatement.
Not wanting to engage in a costly legal battle, Luma Labs has decided to killed off their main products. Despite this setback, the company is planning on sticking around: it’s working on a new strap concept that will be released in December.
An open letter to our customers, past and future [Luma Labs]
Thanks for the tip, Kim!
Nikon is developing an X100-esque hybrid viewfinder for DSLR cameras. A recently published patent filing by the company describes and shows a DSLR with a viewfinder that can switch between optical and electronic modes. The purpose appears to be for providing the photographer with an optimal view of the scene — if the scene is too bright for the photographer (e.g. the camera is pointed towards the sun), then the camera switches to an electronic view that provides the user with a view that’s more suitable for their eyes.
Unlike the X100′s viewfinder, however, there is no electronic image overlaid on the optical one when in OVF mode.
(via Egami via Foto Actualidad)
After arriving late to the digital photography party, Kodak took another step away from the market yesterday by selling off its sensor business to CA-based firm Platinum Equity. The sale of Kodak Image Sensor Solutions (KISS) — which includes the company’s 263,000 square foot facility in Rochester — will hopefully give Kodak the boost of cash it needs to avoid bankruptcy and turn into a healthy business. Kodak sensors are found in a number of popular cameras, including the Leica M9 and S2.
The company is also looking into selling a chunk of its patents to raise more cash, which will help it in its current efforts to transform into a printer and ink company.
(via Business Wire via 1001 Noisy Cameras)
Contrast detection is one of the two main techniques used in camera autofocus systems. Although focusing speeds continue to improve, the method uses an inefficient “guess and check” method of figuring out a subject’s distance — it doesn’t initially know whether to move focus backward or forward. UT Austin vision researcher Johannes Burge wondered why the human eye is able to instantly focus without the tedious “focus hunting” done by AF systems. He and his advisor then developed a computer algorithm that’s able determine the exact amount of focus error by simply examining features in a scene.
His research paper, published earlier this month, offers proof that there is enough information in a static image to calculate whether the focus is too far or too close. Burge has already patented the technology, which he says could allow for cameras to focus in as little as 10 milliseconds.
(via ScienceNOW via Fast Company)
Image credit: 2011 12×12 Vancouver Photo Marathon by 12×12 Vancouver Photo Marathon
We may be close to seeing a Canon DSLR with an articulating touchscreen — and possibly even built-in Wi-Fi. A patent filing discovered by Photography Bay has more details on the touchscreen, which we reported on two years ago. A sensor above the screen prevents your nose from changing settings by detecting when your face is pressed against the camera. There are also what appear to be network and Wi-Fi icons on the screen, suggesting that Canon may soon bring Eye-Fi style data transfers to DSLRs.
View the Patent (via Photography Bay)
P.S. Canon will reportedly be announcing a new camera tomorrow. Stay tuned.
A Nikon patent published today details a new dust reduction feature that might make its way into future Nikon DSLRs. The basic idea is the introduction of a hole at the bottom of the camera’s mirrorbox that is designed to catch dust when the mirror swings up. Nikon claims that the feature reduces dust found on the sensor by 50% after 10,000 actuations.
(via Photography Bay)