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(FT3) Olympus patent rumors: adapter with integrated wide lens and adapter with SWD auto focus.


Just received an interesting email:

Got this first from and they linked to which has another link of the original Japanese post. It is about 2 new Olympus patents, it included the patent numbers but don’t know the validity.

1st patent is an M43 adapter that have an internal wide angle lens which can do the following:
it will half the original focal length of the legacy lens, then when used on M43 for the 2x focal length, the result will be exactly 1x the original legacy lens focal length.

2nd patent is to add an electronic contect to the adapter above which will somehow uses the SWD to control auto focus.

I don’t know much of the details, as the original Chinese translation of the Japan original is very weak as well. I am just translating what I know.

Editors note: If Olympus really patented it this doesn’t mean that they will bring it on market. But we can say there is a fair chance that will happen.

P.S.: Thanks A.!

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  • Marcello

    Google translation doesn’t help much, but I think that the second patent is more likely about using the adapter contacts to provide focus confirmation (which btw would be great…).

  • RomeoBSM

    I want to add a little note: if the rumor about the 0,5x adapter is true it would be simply GREAT! I want to explain why:

    1) Many wideangle lenses can be adapted, tilt&shift included
    2) Depending on the optical-layout an increase of the relative aperture is possible: if the full 35mm image is projected on a smaller area (like 4/3, m4/3 sensor) this mean a rise of the beam density! A gain of about 1 stop is virtually possible.

    For sure, this adapter will not deliver the same optical quality as the ZD lenses but it will bring a lot of creative lenses: tilt&shift, brighter lenses, wideangles, compact primes, …

    I am really happy for this rumor, and I hope it will become true!!! :D

  • Duarte Bruno

    This is without as doubt the most interesting rumor of the month!

  • This is something I would really want for my 4/3 camera as well! (Not only m4/3) Lets hope its true and possible!

  • Agent00soul

    The holy Grail!

  • alfons

    DAMN! The first one sounds _really_ good. I hope that adapter won’t lengthen the mount-to-sensor distance too much… Image quality is another concern but I put my trust on Zuiko :)

  • Torstein

    I am with you on that but looking at the rear of my 24mm OM it has a light baffle that would protrude into and possibly through the 4/3 OM adaptor. I am not sure if other OM wides have a similar arrangement. If Olympus clear the mirror box of all that flapping stuff then it would be practical.

    Looking at my OM’s in terms of extra illumination it could be

    24mm F1.8 – 2.0

    50mm F1.4~

    100mm F1.8 – 2.0

    180mm F1.8 – 2.0

    200mm F2.8~

    I hope Olympus come through with this as the lack of affordable wide legacy lenses is one of the drawbacks of the (m)4/3 adventure,

    The 24mm shift is going to be even harder to come by.

  • Agent00soul

    I wonder what mount they would put in the other end. OM would be natural, of course. The ultimate would be Canon EOS with full digital communication. In our dreams probably…

  • CR102

    The 1st patent is great news for users of legacy wide angles, but image quality may suffer.
    The 2nd patent sounds like an implementation to speed up focusing of “classic” 4/3 lenses. In my experience the ZD 12-60 auto focuses much faster on the E-P2 than any other 4/3 lens I tried. SWD may account for the difference. Actually, the 12-60 compares to the Panasonic 20/1.7 in AF speed, so it’s arguably useable for moving subjects.

  • kesztió

    I really cannot understand why American (and Japanese) people are so stupid to think that everything that comes in their mind should be patented immediately. This adapter is a really useful thing but far to be a revolutionary idea.

    When patenting every small innovation––that is, forbidding other companies to use a similar idea––the customer is the one who really loses heavily: prices are kept high due to the unfair competition.

    BTW do you know, guys, that even the progress bar and the double click are patented in US (by Microsoft)? What a bullshit…

  • Scott

    You do understand that getting patents on every small idea could turn a profit right? Small companies could patent some obscure thing and some giant conglomocorp would have to pay them to use it. It’s a solid system.
    What is a business doing if not making every reasonable attempt to protect itself and thrive?

  • WOAH…that would be an awesome new buddy for my OM lenses ^_____^

  • jason

    Thank you very much kesztió for your broad insult to the american and japanese people.
    Just so you know, patents not only protect the ideas of big companies like MIcrosoft, but they also protect the ideas of the average guy/gal from getting their ideas stolen from the big companies. Do you think that if I came up with a Holy Grail adapter design that I would make any profit from it without gaining a patent first?
    I will admit that there are some companies that abuse the patents like Harley Davidson, who tried to patent the rumbling sound of a V-twin engine, but for the most part, getting a patent on an innovative idea is a smart move.

    By the way, please let me know what country you are from so I can tell everyone that the people from your country are all bigots who like to make dumb stereotypical generalizations about people from other countries.

  • Someone

    Jason, You and kesztió must be from the same country since You also like to make “dumb stereotypical generalizations about people from other countries”.

  • jason

    It was sarcasm.

  • jt

    I think kesztio makes a vaild point. The patent system is routinely abused by corporations- stifling innovation.

  • RobertG

    Sure kesztio has a point. But his jerkish tone is unappreciated.

  • Manolito

    The ZD 35-100 f/2 is a 70-200 f/2.8 with a wide converter at the rear. But it works really well because it is specifically designed for that and only that lens. Now trying to make a wide converter work that great with many different lenses is… well, a dream. But it’s better than nothing though -specially for those looking for ultra wide or tilt/shift lenses.

  • jason

    I just can’t stop thinking about the .5x converter/adapter!
    If this turns out to become a real piece of quality than a travel kit could consist of a single, fast wide angle lens + adapter! 20mm for wide angle shots and 40mm for normal.

    And for some reason I want to think that a .5x converter could potentially put out even better resolving power as compared to a lens without the converter since it would be cramming a larger amount of information onto a smaller area – similar to how it would increase the potentially increase the amount of light being received!

    Excitiing stuff!!!!!

  • kesztió

    Well, excuse me for my ”jerkish tone” and my bad English (not enough good for explain such things) but I’m highly disappointed by the fact that US engineers spend their precious time for patent checking (and hacking!) instead of creative and productive work. I live in an EU country where––at least––software patents are not allowed but my brother-in-law is system engineer at a Micron division and I know very well how graphic and 3D accelerators are made: by ”coming around“ existing (software) patents, instead of developing something new BASED ON OTHER COMPANIES’ ALREADY PUBLISHED RESEARCHES.

    Let me give a more specific example: assume that we are in early 60s, and a company registers a patent for ”the ability of a photo camera to automatically focus on the center of the image frame to be taken“. That is, the company effectively patents the general concept of autofocus! :D

    In this case no other company is allowed to develop even THEIR OWN technology of autofocusing unless paying a generally huge technology fee for the patent owner. Instead of freely developing an even faster and more reliable method and maintain the competition––resulting in better and better technology at lower price!

    That’s why I’m not a fan of the ordinary “technology-stealing” but I’m also dead set against the patenting concept which makes technology development much more difficult!

  • achiinto

    to CR102 :
    [The 2nd patent sounds like an implementation to speed up focusing of “classic” 4/3 lenses. In my experience the ZD 12-60 auto focuses much faster on the E-P2 than any other 4/3 lens I tried. SWD may account for the difference. Actually, the 12-60 compares to the Panasonic 20/1.7 in AF speed, so it’s arguably useable for moving subjects.]

    I think the 2nd patent is meant to enable auto focusing on manual focus lens using SWD. but I dont know how that will work out technically.

  • achiinto

    For the 2nd patent, I think what it meant was that the SWD was used on the optic of the adapter in the 1st patent to move such optic or [other optic??] to accomplish auto focus for lens that have previously no auto focus capability or lens that have only manual focus b/c it was legacy/incompatible to new digital camera or brand.

  • Adrian Lewis
  • innym, nie obawą zanim smokiem. healer Był
    w obcym mieście, w obcym danym kraju, o ciekawych,

    niepojętych zwyczajach. Zdawał sobie niejasno transakcję,
    iż rozprawa ze smokiem to pierwsza zasada kłopotów.


  • Dmitry Anisimov

    [JP,2010-028328,A] is silly. There is no invention.

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