Patents are always fascinating beasts as they at least give you some idea of what a company is considering. And sometimes you end up scratching your head. The latest patent filed by Canon Japan is definitely the latter.
For ages now DSLRs have had adjustable LCD panels on the back you could swing out to the side. A new patent shows that Canon has a slightly different idea, however, that would see the panel swing up so that it would be above the camera body, but also clear the viewfinder so you could switch back and forth depending on which you wanted to use. The patent also displays a much larger LCD than we have seen on past Canon models which should come in handy to be sure when the panel is rotated around for a view from the front.
While this sounds nice in practice, there is a major drawback we see in the patent drawings that when the panel is in the down position, it’s size means that a lot of controls are covered. To access these controls you will have no choice but to lift the panel, and that seems like something that could get old fairly quickly, especially to amateur photographers who won’t know immediately what settings they want.
As with any patent, this is not a guarantee that the technology will be put in to use. Apple has a war chest of patents for technologies that have never seen the light of day and probably never will. It just means that should any other company want to do something similar, they would need to seek a licensing arrangement with Canon.
As ideas go, it’s an intriguing one, but how practical it would be remains to be seen.