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05-28-2019, 12:30 AM - 6 Likes   #1
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Could Ricoh make the camera without compromise? (Ricoh-Patent on PDAF and/or CD AF)

A Ricoh-Patent on PDAF and/or CD AF describes technology that would enable a DSLR with an OVF (optical viewfinder) to alternatively support CD (contrast detect) AF without disabling the OVF.

This technology would hence support face- or eye-detect AF while simultaneously supporting framing with an OVF.

In combination with Ricoh's switchable hybrid viewfinder patent, the described innovation could be used to offer a camera that truly offers the best of both worlds: The perfect refresh rate and eye- and battery-friendliness of OVFs combined with the utility (focusing aids, advanced AF methods) of EVF/MILCs.

Will Ricoh find the initiative to provide a true alternative to MILCs?

AFAIC, I don't really need anything more than a classic DSLR but in order to stay relevant, i.e., competitive in the light of the MILC craze and the admittedly useful face- and eye-AF functionality of MILCs, it would be excellent if Ricoh could create a camera that doesn't force one to make a choice.

P.S: The "size"/"compactness" argument that once could be made in favour of MILCs has long evaporated due to the fact that most modern MILC lenses are behemoths and turn a small camera into an ergonomic liability and the consequence of multiple MILC models having become larger (and heavier) to a point where they become actually adequate for normal-sized hands and in combination with anything but the the smallest and lightest pancake lenses.

05-28-2019, 01:20 AM - 2 Likes   #2
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This is interesting, however the patent is a bit old. The patent request was filed on 30 June 2014 (JP2014-134774) and published on 21 January 2016 (JP2016-12094A). What you saw is the patent being registered on 22 May 2019 (JP6515452B). Out of the 20-year protection granted by the patent, 5 years have already gone by.

The switchable hybrid viewfinder patent is more recent: the patent request was filed on 15 March 2017 (JP2017-049367) and published on 27 September 2018 (JP2018-151588A), the patent isn't registered yet.
05-28-2019, 02:50 AM - 1 Like   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mistral75 Quote
This is interesting, however the patent is a bit old.
I see, thanks.

This isn't encouraging with respect to Ricoh actually realizing the idea. However, in combination with the more recent switchable hybrid viewfinder patent, it may become so attractive as to warrant implementation after all.

With a tighter arrangement of more PDAF areas, the two focusing systems could inform each other regarding subject distance, subject tracking, etc. AF could become as convenient as it is with some MILCs already without implying the headache-inducing mini-TV experience.
05-28-2019, 03:01 AM - 1 Like   #4
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There was that mysterious comment about not showing a new APS-C mock-up or prototype even in silhouette because this might give something away, IIRC - this might fit that bill? However, one has learned not to get too excited about possible future developments so as not to be disappointed - particularly not to urge things that I can't currently afford even if it did appear.

It would be great if they did crack that one, though

05-28-2019, 03:22 AM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by ffking Quote
There was that mysterious comment about not showing a new APS-C mock-up or prototype even in silhouette because this might give something away, IIRC - this might fit that bill?
The thing it would give away was the Xiaomi badge

Sorry, couldn't resist - at the risk of this being posted on rumor sites 5 seconds after I'll click Submit.
Pentax more or less made the modern SLR; it would be nice if they would further evolve the concept - which was stagnant since well before the digital revolution.
05-28-2019, 03:22 AM - 1 Like   #6
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If the AE sensor was replaced by a kind of compact camera image sensor, a DSLR might be able to include some mirrorless features (face AF, maybe eye AF, and one or two indicators at the bottom of the OVF to indicate high light clipping / histogram info). Even with the current 86K RGB sensor it should be possible to add histogram indicators in the OVF (for the folks who want an EVF to see if their high light are clipped or not).
05-28-2019, 04:56 AM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mistral75 Quote
This is interesting, however the patent is a bit old. The patent request was filed on 30 June 2014 (JP2014-134774) and published on 21 January 2016 (JP2016-12094A). What you saw is the patent being registered on 22 May 2019 (JP6515452B). Out of the 20-year protection granted by the patent, 5 years have already gone by.

The switchable hybrid viewfinder patent is more recent: the patent request was filed on 15 March 2017 (JP2017-049367) and published on 27 September 2018 (JP2018-151588A), the patent isn't registered yet.
It would not be unusual at all that the implementation of a patent might lag the filing/granting of one by a few years. Oft-times the availability and cost of the supporting hardware isn't there yet and the patent needs to wait for the structure to catch up. I wouldn't discount a 2014 patent over that. Of course most granted patents are never used anyway, and sometimes filed as simply a defensive effort to keep competitors at bay.

Personally I believe this one has real merit from a market perspective, and fits with Pentax stated intent to concentrate on their current DSLR's and take a wait-and-see on mirrorless. I would not be at all surprised to see this in an upcoming APS-c.

Last edited by gatorguy; 05-28-2019 at 05:04 AM.
05-28-2019, 06:30 AM   #8
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That could explain the delays for a new APSC or MF.

05-28-2019, 07:09 AM - 1 Like   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
Could Ricoh make the camera without compromise?
Do cameras have compromises? Maybe yes.
Do cameras exceed display media capabilities: absolutely (...)
Do people take display media into account? Nope. Still looking for a better camera even though it already exceed what the media can display.
05-28-2019, 09:00 AM - 2 Likes   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
Do cameras have compromises? Maybe yes.
Do cameras exceed display media capabilities: absolutely (...)
Do people take display media into account? Nope. Still looking for a better camera even though it already exceed what the media can display.
Today, CNN is reporting tornado damage in Celina, Ohio - a town 60 miles east of where my family formerly lived for twenty-one years - so I sent my family a photo I took there in 1980. I took the photo with a Pentax-M 50mm f/2 lens mounted on a Pentax ME/SE camera; that was good equipment back then, and it fit into my budget, but that was back then. Today my KP + DA 18-135mm can easily take much better photos - but I don't have a "way back" machine that allows me to retake photos from forty years ago. What any of us does today is a balance between resources available to us and what is "needed".
05-28-2019, 11:17 AM - 1 Like   #11
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Thanks for digging this up, Class A.

Would definitely appreciate if Ricoh could and would bring those patents to fruition. It would be a significant selling point for future models. Dare I hope they incorporate something like that into the APS-C flagship they're developing? Let's see what happens.

Last edited by Madaboutpix; 05-29-2019 at 02:50 PM. Reason: typo
05-29-2019, 01:45 PM - 1 Like   #12
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Replaceable Viewfinder would Elevate the Idea

On another forum, member falconeyes (he used to be a Pentaxian) added a great idea:

Ricoh should offer a K-1 Pro body that supports exchanging the viewfinder. He suggested the following variants:
  • Traditional OVF as the affordable base model.
  • A traditional EVF for video, macro, product shot work etc.
  • A more expensive high eye-point hybrid VF.
  • Maybe, a few more special VFs like a sports VF etc.
In my view this would both create an economic advantage for Ricoh to cost-effectively offer many camera variants and at the same time give customers the opportunity to spend only as much as they need.

Customers would even be able to upgrade their viewfinder depending on available funds and changing requirements.

To fully capitalize on the idea, however, Ricoh would have to up their video game as some of the viefinder concepts benefit from the body being a capable video performer.

Last edited by Class A; 05-29-2019 at 01:50 PM.
05-29-2019, 02:15 PM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
Ricoh should offer a K-1 Pro body that supports exchanging the viewfinder. He suggested the following variants: Traditional OVF as the affordable base model. A traditional EVF for video, macro, product shot work etc. A more expensive high eye-point hybrid VF. Maybe, a few more special VFs like a sports VF etc.
In the past I suggested that Ricoh could make a camera with dual VF: one OVF in the center, and one EVF in the corner, so that the user can use both eyes, some kind of stereo VF. The user wouldn't even have the change the view finder, he would be able to switch between the two different view finder tech with the blink of an eye.
05-29-2019, 03:15 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
On another forum, member falconeyes (he used to be a Pentaxian) added a great idea:

Ricoh should offer a K-1 Pro body that supports exchanging the viewfinder. .
You don't have to go to another forum for that suggestion. It has been suggested numerous times on this one by several people. The first one a decade ago at least.
I suggested many years ago that this was a way to make a mirrorless Pentax without discarding the OVF, but as an option; with a EVF on the camera the mirror stays in the up-position transforming the camera for all practical purposes into a mirrorless.

Last edited by Pål Jensen; 05-29-2019 at 03:29 PM.
05-29-2019, 09:28 PM - 3 Likes   #15
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Adding a periscope on top would be nice.
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