updated 04:00 pm EST, Thu December 3, 2009
Patent would simplify Canon pro cameras
Future Canon DSLRs could be some of the first to switch to touchscreens for much of their input, a newly unearthed patent filing shows. The application shows an interchangeable lens camera that would use both a touchscreen and an optical viewfinder but which would implement a unique system to avoid accidental input on the touch display immediately below. By setting a determining which eye would use the viewfinder, the system could partly disable the touchscreen to prevent accidental input while still maintaining some level of control.
The patent spotted by Photography Bay also describes some of how the touchscreen interface in question would work. Photographers would always have quick access to the aperture and shutter speed through swiping gestures; regular taps would adjust other settings like the exposure, ISO levels, metering and other tasks that normally require a directional pad or a scroll wheel. One image in the patent shows a camera back with these controls absent and hints Canon may completely scrap those particular controls, although it still has physical buttons and dials for quick access to common tasks.
As a filing, there is no guarantee the patent will be granted or implemented, Canon nonetheless began producing its first touchscreen PowerShots this summer and saw its DSLR patent published in October, implying that any camera of that class won't appear until next year at the earliest.