Canon has filed a quite intriguing patent, deals with the facilitation (or complexity) of the focus pulling (and zoom) actions. Canon wants you to focus by circulating with your finger on a touch panel. Focus pulling reinvented?
The foggy title of Canon’s patent application JP,2021-043294, A, doesn’t exactly indicate its purpose (like in any other patents). However, the images pretty speak for themselves. The images demonstrate a plain lens without focus and zoom rings. At the side of the lens, we can clearly explore a touch panel. The patent further explains that this touch panel is designed for the action of pulling focus (and zoom) by touch. Check out the images below.
The operating unit includes a detecting unit a which has a round shape and detects a touch operation made clockwise and a touch operation made counterclockwise.
According to the patent description (translated from Japanese), the patent is a lens device that has an exterior part containing a lens unit and an operation part provided on the exterior part and operated by a user for controlling the controlled part. The operating unit includes a detecting unit a which has a round shape and detects a touch operation made clockwise and a touch operation made counterclockwise. That means the focus pulling will be perfumed by circulating the finger.
Here’s the techniques as stated by the application: “ As a technique of providing a user with a touch panel that can be operated by a user on an interchangeable lens that can be mounted on a camera body, and focusing is performed by a user operating the touch panel. In this case, it is considered that, for example, after bringing a finger into contact with an end of a touch panel, a user moves a finger to an opposite end. However, the finger is moved 1 time from the end of the touch panel to the opposite end. When the amount of movement of the focus lens unit is smaller than the desired amount, the user must once separate the finger from the touch panel and repeat the same operation”.
Operated by an ultrasonic motor
The application emphasizes that the engine of the focus is Canon’s ultrasonic motor as stated: “Each of the driving units includes a stepping motor or an ultrasonic motor capable of moving each lens unit”.
The action of zooming will also be performed by touch. As described in the applications: “When a finger is in contact with an area on the upper side of the area, zooming is performed at a high speed, and when the finger is in contact with a lower side area, zooming is performed at a low speed”. That means, that the zoom speed will be also controlled by touch. Also, s states that: “When the switch button is pressed, switching between focusing and zooming is performed”.
When a finger is in contact with an area on the upper side of the area, zooming is performed at a high speed, and when the finger is in contact with a lower side area, zooming is performed at a low speed.
This new patent might indicate Canon’s new strategy for a whole new lens lineup that is operated by touch. The goal to develop a touch-based lens, not only for focusing but for zooming as well, as the patent points out. At first, it sounds intimidating, and that’s because we’re all used to physical rings. However, it may initiate a reinvention of the methods of how to operate a lens. We’ll continue to follow on this to keep you posted.
What’re your insights about the method of focusing and zooming by touch? Comment below.