Patent: Canon multiple lens camera system

Canon Rumors Guy

Canon EOS 40D
CR Pro
Jul 20, 2010
Here’s an interesting patent from Canon uncovered by Canon News. It’s a multiple lens camera system that is somewhat similar to the Light Camera L16 system. The Canon uses different focal lengths and 8 cameras to make the image.
Focal lengths in Japan Patent Application 2018-200484: (35mm equivalent)

5.2mm F2.88 (29mm)
7.5mm f2.88 (42mm)
10.50mm f2.88 (59mm)
15.00mm f2.88 (84mm)
4.4mm F2.88 (25mm)
8.1mm f2.88 (45mm)

It looks like the camera system is for 1/2.3″ sensor size as the image height is 3.88mm. There is a crop factor of 5.6, which you can see in the parenthesis of the patent focal lengths above.
We have no idea if this will ever become a consumer product, but Canon continues to R&D niche market systems like 360 cameras and multi-lens systems.

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Mar 25, 2011
The obvious use for the patent is a smart phone. Some smart phones already use multiple lenses and cameras to allow wide / telephoto images, but this is a single camera sensor with multiple lenses.

The unique thing about this is that it uses that single sensor to do a optical zoom over a fairly wide range. Each lens focuses on a different portion of the sensor. So, you get a very short zoom lens that can focus from very close to infinity and is small.
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Mar 25, 2011
YES, YES, YES! Finally! The concept of computational Imaging also popping up at "innovative" Canon.

A better version of the Light L16 by Canon with an excellent UI would be fabulous. I'd definitely buy it.

btw: it is a "multiple cameras camera", not just a "multiple lens camera".

The patent indicates a single sensor.

The imaging device of an Example has a compound eye image formation optical system constituted by the image formation optical system of a plurality of single focuses. The a plurality of image formation optical systems include at least two image formation optical systems from which a focal distance differs each other. And the imaging device is imaged with one image sensor which has an imaging region (photoelectric conversion region) where the optical image of the object (object) formed in a mutually different region in the image surface by a plurality of image formation optical systems, respectively is corresponded for every image formation optical system (photoelectric conversion is carried out). Or it images with the image sensor (multiple jams were provided) provided for every image formation optical system. Image sensors are optoelectric transducers, such as a CCD sensor and a CMOS sensor."
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