When companies patent an idea for a product, it’s not always necessarily something that will later make it into production. Some patents are merely sketches of crazy ideas that the company wants to make sure nobody else ever realizes without paying them royalties. This latest patent from Canon may just be such a crazy idea.
The patent, which was filed in late 2012 and was published only a couple of days ago, depicts a camera sporting a circular array of smaller lenses instead of one larger lens. According to the somewhat quirky Google translation of the Japanese original, the camera can do light field photography, angle of view changes, perspective changes, HDR and distance estimation (which we assume is something similar to what the depth camera in the new HTC One does,) among other things.
In addition to the strange lens array, the patent also shows a vertical grip at the bottom of the camera body, which according to the description can be used to dial in various settings. Could we be seeing a new concept for camera operation here? Besides the grip, the lens array itself can apparently also be turned, and from the translation it appears that this will somehow change the lens characteristics.
Overall, this is one of the weirdest patents we’ve seen in a long time, and we’re not exactly sure as to what it shows, nor whether this camera or aspects of it will ever make it into an actual product. From what it looks like, though, it seems to be some kind of all-in-one product that can do a lot of awesome things you’d normally need different specialized cameras for–such as a Lytro and a DSLR. If that should be the case, this could be a truly revolutionary product.
Via Canon Rumors