Sony Wants to Put Haptic Feedback into its Cameras’ Shutter Buttons

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Sony appears interested in expanding how its cameras communicate with photographers by adding haptic feedback that can be felt through its cameras’ shutter buttons.

In a patent application filed today and spotted by Asobinet, Sony describes a vibration system that would be connected to the shutter button, the majority of which would be housed inside of the main grip. The company describes the use case as being able to communicate to the photographer a specific vibrational feedback that is linked with a “predetermined operation.”

Sony Haptic feedback patent figure

One reasonable extrapolation of this function would be linked to autofocus, where a photographer would feel feedback when perfect focus is reached. Feasibly, if no limits are placed on how much the button can vibrate, it could provide a photographer with a different feeling while focus is being obtained than when a photo is actively being taken.

Sony did not elaborate on what it specifically believes would be a use case of haptic feedback, but it doesn’t take much imagination to consider at least a couple of possible ways to use it.

Sony Haptic feedback patent figure

High-end Sony cameras are capable of firing a silent shutter that can capture upwards of 20 frames per second, the only indication of which is a blinking thing red square around the frame of the electronic viewfinder or rear LCD. For some, this might not be enough, or perhaps Sony believes it could be better, and lightly vibrating the photographer’s finger might be one way to make taking high-burst photos literally feel better to use.

It is also possible that Sony is considering use cases where a photographer might be in total darkness or similar situations where visual confirmations are significantly impeded.

Sony Haptic feedback patent figure

The numerous figures attached to Sony’s patent application show that, for now, it would only work with the shutter button. So for those who like to half-press to focus and full-press to fire, that has the potential to feel a lot better than for those who like to back-button focus.

Asobinet notes that this is not a wholly novel concept, as Canon patented a similar feature last week. That said, what Canon has proposed appears to work on more buttons and also in tandem with headphones.

Image credits: Header photo by Vignesh chandran.