In this patent application (2024-011653), Canon explores using electronically controlled lenses (aka EF or RF lenses) in other fields that they currently offer products for such as medical and industrial imaging. Essentially Canon is looking at the industrialization of the EOS platform. Where all our external controls would be either network, ASIC-controlled or by various other means. From the lens perspective, it would feel to the lens that it was attached to a camera so it operates as normal. It's the automation and control over the lens communication that this patent application deals with.

With RF lenses more than with EF lenses, I suspect there's a lot more handshake and communication between the camera body and the camera lens. This deals with not only AF, IBIS communication, firmware update, and DLO configuration information. With greater communication speeds, Canon started to do a lot more talking between the lens and the camera.

I guess currently Canon's other divisions are using their homegrown imaging solutions and mounts, and Canon feels that is pretty redundant and wants to use technology they have already developed and have out there. So things like industrial, security, and medical may soon feature networked and/or autonomous camera boxes with RF lenses.

In Canon's patent language speak;

The device needs to have a means of communication with the interchangeable lens and a compatible mount. Furthermore, interchangeable lenses generally do not have a power source, and the unit within the interchangeable lens cannot be driven when not attached to a camera. 

An object of the present invention is to provide a control device that can control units within an interchangeable lens without being attached to a camera. 

According to the present invention, it is possible to provide a control device that can control units in an interchangeable lens without being attached to a camera.

This patent isn't going to be used on any Canon camera. However, the technology could work its way into drones and other applications. I find it interesting, and part of me goes “Wait, weren't they already doing this?” but here we are and I guess they are not.

Source: Japan Patent Application 2024-011653

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