Canon Introduces Another Wild Idea

Canon Introduces Another Wild Idea

Canon has recently filed a patent application that has caught the attention of a few eagle-eyed photographers, as it could radically transform the ways in which we can use any lens. 

Traditionally, achieving tilt effects required specialized tilt-shift lenses, which are often expensive and limit photographers to specific focal lengths. Canon's innovation, a tilting camera sensor, as reported by Canon Rumors, could democratize tilt photography by enabling any lens to produce these creative and technically advantageous effects.

The proposed technology involves tilting the camera's sensor, rather than the lens, to control the plane of focus. This ingenious approach offers several advantages. First, it eliminates the need for bulky and complex mechanics within the lens. Second, it opens up a world of creative possibilities by allowing photographers to use their existing lens collection for tilt photography. Third, it means we could even have zooming tilt lenses.

While such capabilities would be appreciated by a wide range of photographers, don't hold your breath just yet, as Canon has a wide range of photography and videography operations outside the consumer world, and it's very possible they're eyeing a different application with this. And as with all patent applications, this isn't even guaranteed to make it to any market. Nonetheless, it's an exciting idea and one I hope to see in some iteration one day. It's also not entirely unheard of, as Pentax did something similar with their AstroTracer function in the K-1, which I found wildly fun to use. Hopefully, we'll hear more soon! 

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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Sounds like a simple idea, they filed. I like that fir the chances it opens. Agree, let's see IF it reaches the market. And the WHEN and WICH products and HOW MUCH... Making an IP can also block competition.

Would this also be useful for architecture photography? I guess it's easy enough to edit but would this do the same thing as large format film bellows cameras with movements

It only mentioned tilt, not shift. Besides, Canon keeps building lenses with crappy corners, so how brave are you to go outside of the image circle on *any* lens?

Yep... Only half the job of a T/S.

We can take search for some 645,6x6,6x8 second-hand lenses for this sessions. But yes, yes they are mostly film lenses, less resolution, etc

Editing in PS is ok for most applications, in particular for real estate (like kitchen shots from high enough to not show the underside of the cabinets, but still showing the lower part of the counter/island), but for high end architecture, a T/S lens is a better option because it's not distorting pixels.

So, Canon is finally is catching up on Pentax's over 10yo technology? In my old Pentax K-5 I had the availability to move my sensor to tilt up and down, left and right, to adjust my composition.

Actually, what you described is lift/shift, not swing/tilt, but point taken.

Canon filed a different patent around a decade ago for an EF to EF-M adapter that allowed both tilt & shift using FF EF lenses on EF-M mount bodies. Alas, it was never released as a product.

I cannot think of how this can possibly be patentable, since it is obvious, and since there is prior art. The only thing that is patentable is the how.

Modern swing/tilt lenses were always partially handicapped anyway, because of the lack of swing/tilt on the sensors. It is not one or the other, but they go hand in hand.

Anyway, good to see old, useful technology returning to modern systems, (assuming it will be coming to DSC systems).

Ohhhhh la la. Sucked me right in with that title. Great article boss

Exactly how is this good for architectural photographers? This will solve the tilt problem but not the shift. Canon still needs to build better lenses with larger image circles. Their corners are not very good.