View Full Version : A glimpse into Nikon's future?

20-06-2010, 10:15am
I just found a post in another forum, and had to share this info with my Nikon mates on here too.

This looks to be either 'promising' or a 'disaster waiting to happen', if I understand the tech details in the link.

A link to a Nikon Patent Application (http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&sl=ja&tl=en&u=http://egami.blog.so-net.ne.jp/2010-03-10&prev=_t&rurl=translate.google.com&twu=1)(the google translation is a bit a workout on the internal conversion processes of my grey matter this early in the morning too!).

They seem to be transmitting electronic info form lens to camera via radio transmitters rather than physical contacts(nothing new). and this would then allow the ability to produce some very exotic lenses and suchlike.. but they(Nikon) mention mirrorless cameras in there.

I guess there is an expectation that there will soon be a line of compact mirrorless cameras from both Nikon and Canon (a la, Olympus Pen, EP series, Sony NEX.. etc) to cash in on the trend towards more compact DSLRs for those that really want a P&S :p
Alternatively< as I've read in some other places, there is also the possibility that Nikon DSLR's will no longer have silly mechanical mirrors in them at all.
And many say this is actually a good thing due to the mechanicalness of the mirror, and it's inherent design problems.(of course that means EVFs, and we all know how bad they currently are! :D)

Nikon used to make rangefinders(the S range) and they also used to manufacture adapters for a few of their lenses to mount from F to S and backwards(I think).
This is probably a new far distant future development, and no one would be stupid enough to think that, as camera design progresses, that the F-mount will last into the far distant future. While it works perfectly workable now.. I doubt that it will be relevant in say... 25-50years time.. so they probably have to start looking into that future now.

Cameras(ability) seem to have progressed far quicker in the preceding 10 years than they have over the last 100 years, and as we basically understand it, electronic technologies seem to progress far quicker than just about every other genre(relevant to photography that is!). All driven by the consumer of course.

interesting development!

20-06-2010, 12:05pm
Interesting stuff, Arthur.

Electronic info from lens to camera wirelessly

What is the point? I simply cannot imagine why anyone would want to do this, not what advantage it would have. The lens still has to attach to the camera to allow the light to strike the sensor, so there is no reason whatsoever not to use cheap, simple, reliable, secure mechanical contacts instead of expensive, complicated, unreliable, insecure radio transmission. I can't see any reason at all. Enlighten me!

Mirrorless SLRs

OK, I just coined an oxymoron - if it hasn't got a moving mirror, it's am SL, not an SLR, but let that pass.

There are essentially two ways to do this:the EVF method is fairly new and, as you say Arthur, still pretty horrid. Nevertheless, It's no more horrid that the things they do with P&S cameras, so there is no reason why it won't go well. Micro 4/3ds seems to be successful so far, so it's reasonable to expect some sort of response to it from Canon, Nikon, Pentax, and Sony.

The other way is to use a pellicle. This is not new. The majors have both done this before, in commercial-release mainstream SLRs.

Canon Pellix (1965)
Canon F-1 High Speed (1972)
Nikon F2H, (1976)
Canon EOS RT (1989)
Canon EOS 1nRS (1994)

20-06-2010, 12:09pm
I have no idea what all that means.....but I wish they would put some effort into some decent mid level lenses.......

With technology everything moves so fast and everyone wants the latest and greatest regardless of the fact that it may be no better than the last incarnation.....but never the less it sells and we end up stuck with it.....In the end no matter what the change in technology in this arena, it will not make people take better shots....as I cannot forsee any technology advances that will replace the person!


20-06-2010, 1:23pm
I believe that the mirrorless cameras are already on the retail market.

Pellicle mirrors were just that, they were still mirrors - albeit semi transparent, and they did reduce quality, and restricted the aperture choice.

Why would companies be doing this - simply reducing size, bulk and weight, and still maintain high end quality



20-06-2010, 7:25pm
I thought that I read somewhere that Nikon were/are licensing the sensor from the Sony NEX line to put in their own compact line...?

old dog
20-06-2010, 8:12pm
if information is growing in a hyperbolic curve (correct me if this is wrong) then technology will be there too. Amazing advances will be made in the next several years and many of us will be saying...I want that but what will I do with all this stuff I`ve got. Gradual change over. I hope slr`s with mirrors last a long while yet as I love my gear and feel very blessed/privaleged to be able to have it.

20-06-2010, 9:53pm
Japanese translation = urgh my brain!
Interesting concept, though, I'll wait for an english-written article before i make my own opinions.

20-06-2010, 11:14pm
The only concept Mongo is interested in (and been thinking about for some time) is how to get rid of the traditional mirror (and mirror shake and delay) in SLR bodies without mucking about with the lenses. That would be a true achievement.

Mongo can see this happening one day by creating a reflective surface which could become completely transparent by reversible, instant electro-chemical process when you press the shutter buttom.

One of these days........

20-06-2010, 11:36pm
Tony, I suppose before the advent of digital imagery, there really wasn't any other way to reflect(ie. reflex) the image to the viewer other than using a mirror system.
So the term reflex in the name is pretty obvious, and well understood.
But with the advent of the digital sensor, the idea behind the mechanics of the camera is the same, ie. the Single Lens initials in the acronym, but the reflected, or more accurately termed Remote image is simply done differently now. So the term SLR still holds true, even though the R may no longer mean Reflex(by mirror) but by a Remote means using and electronic method.
I think the acronym SLR is still appropriate, and not as moronically oxidized :D as it may first appear, simply because the mechanics system have been changed.

I can't imagine any valid (technical)reason why you'd want to change to a contactless connection system, but I can think of a few benefits.

CPU systems can be built into the RFD chip, so minimising the need for a CPU located somewhere inside the lens, and the need for the copper strip cable for the CPU to the contact block. Can be a manufacturing advantage for zoom lenses, in not having a copper strip curling up inside the lens barrel every time the lens compresses/decompresses(from what I've seen of my Nikon mount lenses, that's how they all seem to operate).
Also, other less important advantages as lens firmware updates... wirelessly(via the RFD chip) and no need to connect/disconnect the lens form the camera as you test for accuracy.
(note the recent Sigma service note where they're recalling many lenses for firmware updating due to focusing issues)
If you notice some of the diagrams in the patent link, the communications chips could be placed anywhere in the lens, and therefore not intrude into the diaphragm design(as they all seem to do). That allows more room for diaphragm size(a sore point for Nikon F-Mount.. being very small compared to the Canon mount as an example).
Something like that could make it easier to design an 85mm f/1 for Nikon, with a totally new mount design of course.. and that really leads to the issue raised by my post.
Is this a sign that Nikon have plans to introduce a new mount system for some future DSLR camera design, whether mirrorless or not(even though they mention the mirrorless topic in their description).

I suppose it's just Nikon speculation on a pretty wild level and looking at the possibility of a change of mount away from the 50 plus year old F-mount at some point in the far distant future.
RFD chips are known to be very reliable devices in all manner of operating conditions(such as tagging sea turtles over thousands of klms through some of the worlds harshest conditions.. so I guess the reliability of the RFD chip system wouldn't be a topic of contention.

many times you hear the problem of "Oh! my lens stopped working, and won't focus and I get err69 on my camera.. etc, etc" and a lot of the replies will be along the lines of "check the contact pins, and rub them lightly with an eraser" and so forth.. so the way I see it, the mechanical connection of gold plated contact pins seem to be more of a point of unreliability than an RFD chip system may be.
Being a long time car fixing freak, I know how unreliable physical electrical connections can be(moronic oxidation again!? :D).
As the connection is basically a means for communication with most of Nikons old lenses this kind of makes sense. But for the newer AF-S type lenses, there'd still have to be a physical connection for power to the lens, unless they design the lenses with their own power source.
I think the (ridiculous)Sigma 300-500/2.8 has it's own on board lithium battery supply for focusing the lens, and not rely on the camera's battery supply.

If Nikon were to introduce a line of a new W(for wireless) mount cameras, you would expect a larger diameter diaphragm opening for them to begin with, which would make it easier to maintain backward compatibility with the F-mount lenses.
Canon did it with the EF mount(from FD mount), and they didn't seem to lose any sleep over it, and are now reaping some benefits from the improved mount system I guess, with some pretty exotic sounding lenses.
Nikon did the same with the transition from the pre Ai system to the Ai and beyond lenses, with their Ais conversion kits(where pre Ai lenses were converted to suit the new camera bodies that could accept non Ai lenses).

It sounds a bit like a double pronged change in philosophy and future direction, where I guess it'd be easy to predict that in the near future, Nikon will introduce a new line of mirrorless SLR cameras along the lines of these PEN/NEX psuedo rangefinder type cameras(so that they don't get left lying in the dust of the latest camera fad).
I guess that they want to do it properly, unlike Olympus and Sony who require their owners to purchase an adapter(which may or may not have glass elements in them??) to attach their current range of lenses.
Once Nikon's new mirrorless/EVF system is both proven(reliable) and offers better viewfinder system compared to the current system of mirror and prism, which is expensive to manufacture and hence an inevitable future I think!!.... they'll introduce a proper DSLR(or more a pro version of these camera types... along the lines of more compact D3 type pro camera with an EVF that literally sees in the dark and not limited by the availability of light.
These mirrorless cameras will have so much more onboard space on the camera body due to the massive miror box and prism no longer being there, they they can literally ad more battery power and even fan cooled super duper CPU's into the camera body for real speed!(for processing and bandwidth advantages).

If we're currently able to capture images at ISO104K, which is akin to seeing in the dark now, at todays semi usable quality level, and we predict that in 5 years time we're seeing well into total darkness at ISO's of 800K and more, well .. as the camera operator I know I'd want to be able to see the image in such darkness that I'll be able to capture so easily too at that point, and not just look into the viewfinder and see a black abyss :D