Who says you can’t put an awesome optical viewfinder in a compact camera?
In a recent US patent application, Fuji seeks to patent an optical viewfinder that has optical elements inside and zooms to match the focal length of the camera’s zoom lens – or as Fuji calls it in the patent application a “Real-image zoom viewfinder.”
You can see the patent drawing above that looks at the camera with the front pointed down and shows the dissected view of the optical viewfinder. The two optical, elements labeled Sb and Sc, move back and forth to magnify the optical image so that the user sees what the image sensor sees through the primary lens.
Fuji claims that it can do this while still keeping the camera compact and the optical performance of the viewfinder very high.
Here’s some of the patent-speak describing the essence of this invention:
the present invention is directed to providing a real-image zoom viewfinder that can achieve thickness reduction in the imaging direction without degrading the optical performance, and an imaging apparatus employing the real-image zoom viewfinder.
The real-image zoom viewfinder of the invention is a real-image zoom viewfinder substantially consisting of, in order from an object side, a variable-magnification objective lens system having a positive refractive power, an erect optical system, and an eyepiece lens system having a positive refractive power, wherein the variable-magnification objective lens system substantially consisting of, in order from the object side, a first lens group that includes a first lens having a negative refractive power and a reflective member arranged in this order from the object side and is fixed during magnification change, a second lens group that has a positive refractive power and is moved during magnification change, and a third lens group that has a positive refractive power and is moved during magnification change, the erect optical system has at least one reflective surface for converting an inverted image formed by the variable-magnification objective lens system into an erect image and is fixed during magnification change, the eyepiece lens system has a positive refractive power and is fixed during magnification change (USPTO Appl. No. 14/146,019)
This could be awesome or it could be a bust depending on the execution. Fuji has done a whole lot right lately, so if this invention ever makes it to market, I have my hopes set high that it will work well.