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Nikon patents hybrid optical and electronic viewfinder


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Nikon was granted a patent for a hybrid viewfinder that allows users to switch between optical and electronic viewfinders.

Nikon-hybrid-viewfinder-patent Nikon patents hybrid optical and electronic viewfinder News and Reviews

Even though Canon is the top Japanese patent filer in the US, Nikon is trying to play catch up, while filing for patents in key areas. One of the latest Nikon patents consists of a viewfinder system that allows users to switch from optical to electronic viewfinder and vice versa.

This looks like an attempt to provide a similar technology to Fujifilm’s own hybrid viewfinder. Such HVF is available in the X-Pro1 mirrorless camera as well as in the X100 and X100S compact cameras. It uses both optical and electronic parts, combining the best of both worlds.

Although it might not add it to its line-up in the near future, Nikon is probably aiming to experiment with this technology, testing its viability. Here is what we know about the patent!

Patent summary

The patent was filed on June 24th, 2011, and it was approved on January 10th, 2013. This shows that patent applications have to go through a complex process and that it still takes a lot of time for them to be approved by the regulatory authorities. The Nikon patent was published bearing the following number: 2013-9163.


The patent describes a way to show zoomed-in live view scenes as well as zoomed-out scenes in the optical viewfinder. Nikon’s DSLR cameras, which will be equipped with this technology, will have the ability to observe the object using OVF, then switch to EVF, in order to make the subject look more lively.

Using Nikon cameras based on this patent, photographers will be allowed to observe the subject in the optical viewfinder, while choosing the correct settings in the EVF. Photographers will be able to set focus and exposure levels in the electronic viewfinder.


A polymer liquid crystal layer will be added on top of the LCD, being used as an electronic viewfinder. This means that a DSLR’s LCD will act as an optical viewfinder, while the semi-transparent layer will have the role of EVF.

Another advantage of this system is that field of view levels can reach 100 percent. Additionally, the settings in the electronic viewfinder can be set even when the user has zoomed-in on the subject.


The patent description does not set a clear time frame in which Nikon plans to incorporate the technology into its DSLRs. When this OVF / EVF switch becomes available, it will compete against Fujifilm’s hybrid viewfinder – already present in many of the company’s cameras.

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