There is no doubt, Canon’s Dual Pixel AF technology is some of the best out there, especially for video and when it comes to tracking subjects. So, when a new report comes out indicating some patents that suggest Nikon’s upcoming ‘pro’ mirrorless camera could feature some similar technology. Let’s just say that peaks our interest.
According to some new reporting over on Photo Rumors (via Nikon Eye) a couple of new patents from Nikon have appeared recently in relation to sensor AF technology. From what the descriptions indicate, it seems to work similarly to Canon’s Dual Pixel AF technology.
In case you don’t recall, dual-pixel AF basically works by splitting the photodiodes of one pixel into two. Then the signal of light can be used between the two to do what is effectively phase-difference detection. It’s phase detection AF, but on a per-pixel level, rather than only at specific points like with a normal sensor, or an entirely separate sensor (like in most DSLRs).
Anyway, according to these Nikon patents, Nikon has been working on a technology that allows them to use a similar idea, but adds time of flight measurements (a Sony introduced tech) to that which could make this AF system not only incredibly fast at acquiring focus, but also with tracking. This would be a really impressive technology, assuming it will work as intended.
As with all patents, this isn’t a reliable indicator of what will be in Nikon’s upcoming mirror less camera for certain. However, it is a possibility, and at the very least it’s an interesting indicator of the sort of things Nikon’s R&D squad are looking into in Japan. We are really looking forward to this mirrorless release and seeing what Nikon brings to the table!