Now this is interesting! According to a report by Nikon Rumors, Nikon has filed a patent for an electronically controlled lowpass (‘AA’, ‘anti-aliasing’) filter. The lowpass filter’s job is to slightly soften the image that the sensor records, in order to prevent the so-called ‘aliasing’ (or ‘moiré’) artifacts that occur when the optical resolution of the incoming image is higher than the physical resolution of the sensor. While moiré is reduced thanks to a lowpass filter, resolution is as well, which is why camera companies have recently begun to introduce alternative versions of their high-end cameras without a lowpass filter. Cameras that come without such a filter are, for example, the Nikon D800E and D7100, the Pentax K-5 IIs, and the Sony RX1R. This new technology would allow the user to switch the lowpass filter on or off, depending on the situation.
Unfortunately, since the details of the new technology are all in Japanese, we are unable to figure out how exactly it works. Nonetheless, the idea is neat, and we’re curious whether it will be implemented in future Nikon camera models. You can find the full patent description over at Egami.