Canon patents a 45x zoom lens that could go into a waterproof compact

by Felix Esser

posted Monday, July 21, 2014 at 12:51 PM EST


Waterproof cameras are either extremely large -- because they're regular cameras that have been put in an underwater housing -- or lack functionality. The latter is the case in many waterproof compacts that you can take snorkling, which need to stay small and at the same time make sure no water gets in.

Canon has had a series of waterproof compacts for a while, which started with the D10 in 2009 and was concluded by the D30 earlier this year. While the D10 started out with a 35-105mm equivalent 3x zoom lens, the D20 and D30 extended its reach to 28mm on the wide end and 140mm on the telephoto end. In order to keep a slim profile while offering a higher zoom factor, the D20 and D30 both use lenses that look 'around the corner,' i.e. that bend downwards inside the camera body.

A new patent that has been unearthed by Egami now raises hopes that Canon may soon update its D-series with a new model that features an even more powerful zoom lens. The patent shows a lens that bends downward just like the one used in the D20 and D30, but it sports a whopping 45x zoom factor. While that sounds exciting for underwater photographers, there are downsides to such a lens design, though.

In order to maintain a slim profile, the lens needs to be extremely compact, which means there's no space for a large aperture. And indeed, the patent sketches an f/3.9-9 aperture, which is not only comparatively slow at the wide end, but really extremely slow at the tele end. Considering that the lens will probably be used with a very small sensor, f/9 would be way beyond the diffraction limit. That of course means no fine detail at the telephoto end.

The detailed specs of the lens include an equivalent focal length of 26-1170mm, 12 lens elements in 9 groups, aspherical elements, one UD lens and one fluorite lens. As with most patents, it's tough to judge whether this particular lens design is actually being considered for a future model, or whether it's just a concept.

(via Canon Rumors)