Epson’s patent to display manual lens information on screen/viewfinder

Epson filed patent 2012-186726 in Japan for a way of displaying manual lens information (aperture, focal length, focusing distance) on the camera LCD screen or viewfinder. This can be achieved with a small camera located above the lens that captures the lens information and shows it on the LCD screen:

This is how the lens information will be displayed on the screen/viewfinder:

The patent mentioned also that Optical Character Recognition (OCR) can be used to automatically load the lens profile in the camera.

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  • Oh thank Buddha, we finally may get R-D2

    • Huggs

      That was first reaction when I saw this post. Fingers, toes and eyes crossed.

  • 103David

    Holy Crap. Does Meg know about this? It could be the salvation of HP, not to mention her campaign for Governor of California…Oh wait, that’s all over, isn’t it…?
    Looks for bad news to Meg…

  • Dave

    Huh? This is a bizarre idea — a little antenna that reads the info off the exterior of the lens?

    However, if this means they’re making a FF RD2, I’m in. I just hope that’s what it means…

  • EnPassant

    At first it looks like something from funny patents that never made it. Modern digital cameras set the aperature from the camera and don’t need to read them optically from the lens. But then rangefinders, even digital ones are camera dinosaurs from the past. And Epson once made the digital R-D1 based on the Voigtländer Bessa body.

    Making the “lens reader” movable is understandable, although not the most elegant solution, as rangefinder lenses are different.

    As the first poster wrote; Is this a sign we will see a R-D2, but with a full-frame sensor?
    I wonder which sensor will be used and how they then will solve the problem with light rays from wideangles hitting the sensor in a steep angles?

    And what about the wievfinder? Will it be the same as before or some hybrid like fujifilm’s? Will it be possible to use an external EVF?

    Price, if it will become real should be about half the price of Leica M.

    • The design shows the lens image stream embedded in the viewfinder area… so yeah, it’s a hybrid.

    • Once made? The R-D1xG is still in production, just not exported out of Japan.

  • rw

    This “lens reader” remembers the optical aperture reader of nikon.

  • Alain

    This seem to be inspired by the Voigtlander Bessamatic Deluxe window (original Voigtlander, not today’s one).

  • Camaman

    I guess many before them have thought of this idea, cause it looks like a solution you think of first then dismiss when you think about it more and after you think of a better one. No wonder nobody ever patented this before…
    It is idiotic! Like some noob home inventor thought of this.
    Much cheaper to program a few lenses in camera…

    My guess is they patented it cause nobody else did! hahaha!

  • Sascha

    Oh my god is this ugly!

    It’ a complete miracle to me why they do not just use a small camera that is looking out of a window on the camera front in an appropriate angle (and they could even electronically correct distortion).

    In analogue times engineers managed such things without elegantly, like on the Pentax LX EVEN WITHOUT anything reaching over the lens, like on may other SLRs from that time.

    • Thyl Engelhardt

      Much like Nikon. However, those lenses had standard positions for the aperture rings. In contrast, Leica M lenses happen to have their aperture rings at rather different locations. A fixed optical path would not work.

  • FBY

    Maybe this will be a feature of the R-D1xGn. Anyway, as long as it can be safely tucked away it shouldn’t be a problem for most people. Just another reason to increase the price!

  • Frank

    I don’t really see the point in this to be honest. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a position where I couldn’t remember the aperture I had manually set or figure out where I was by feel

  • Kerni

    My R3 has the same thing – just in an analog way: you can see the aperture number through the viewfinder by a mirrow.

  • Thyl Engelhardt

    Sometimes, such patent applications are just filed to widen the patent portfolio. E.g. as a defense, or to prevent others from using the idea, even if the inventor (i.e. his company) has no intention of ever using it.

    Still, I am very excited that Epson evidently still has a development department for cameras. I really thought that any further development of the range finder line had ceased.

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