back to article Say CHEESE: Samsung files patent for transparent camera

Korean electronics giant Samsung appears to be upping its efforts to crack the digital camera market after a patent filing emerged detailing designs for a compact camera with a completely transparent display. The filing with the Korean Intellectual Property Rights Service (KIPRS), seen by the Wall Street Journal, describes the …

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  1. DougS Silver badge

    Transparent display?

    Is it transparent in both directions? It would be a bit hard to compose the shot since the display will show what the actual picture will look like, but what you see through the display will be completely different.

    There's no value in the photographer seeing through the display, and I can't really see why the subject(s) should be able to see the photographer through the display except for "ooh, that's neat!"

    1. LarsG

      Re: Transparent display?

      You mean they have patented a window?

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Transparent display?

        "You mean they have patented a window?"

        Yes but on a mobile device!

        1. Ted Treen
          Coat

          Re: Transparent display?

          "Windows mobile"???

          Redmond will sue!

    2. Horridbloke

      Re: Transparent display?

      It's potentially useful when photographing fast-moving subjects such as martial arts bouts. My current digital compact takes the shot almost immediately when I press the button, however the display on the back of it lags by about half a second. It's therefore not possible to watch the bout through the display because by the time you see something happening the moment has passed. The current workaround is to not look at the display, keep things reasonably wide-angle and hope the camera is pointing in the right direction.

      (In theory an SLR is better, however that can suffer from being TOO fast - I found I had to slow myself down to grab the perfect glove-in-face moment.)

      I don't claim to be any sort of photography expert, but this transparency gimmick seems weirdly suited to this problem.

      1. no-one in particular

        Re: Transparent display?

        > In theory an SLR is better, however that can suffer from being TOO fast

        >I found I had to slow myself down to grab the perfect glove-in-face moment.

        It is hard to control the "press too soon in anticipation" reflex - but just stick the camera into continuous shooting mode, without re-focussing between shots.

    3. Psyx

      Re: Transparent display?

      "Is it transparent in both directions?"

      Seeing as the stated reason was for subject and 'tog to retain eye contact, I would guess so...

    4. Norm DePlume

      Re: Transparent display?

      @DougS: being able to maintain eye contact is very useful with young children as they don't know to look at the camera. Instead they'll look at practically any human face (which may, of course, be in completely the wrong direction).

      At the moment I hold the camera next to my face and hope that my hand is coordinated enough to keep the camera pointing at the child.

    5. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

      Re: Transparent display?

      > the display will show what the actual picture will look like, but what you see through the display will be completely different.

      Why? No. Compacts with an optical viewfinder work somewhat similarly, and high-end compacts such as the Leicas or the Fujifilm X100 have optical or "opto-digital" viewfinders too, with or without paralax correction. There's decades of technical expertise in that field. I have 2 rangefinders from the 70s that even have mechanical parallax correction (ie the viewfinder physically moves as you change focus, so that the field of view in the finder corresponds to the image projected on the film). Another widely known example is the dual-lens reflexes, in which 2 different mechanically coupled lens are used, one ->eye and the other ->film.

      Of course it won't work for macro, as the distance between the viewfinder and the lens becomes a problem at very short distances, but starting from ~1 m it's virtually indistinguishable.

      1. TechnicalBen Silver badge

        Re: Transparent display?

        I've no expertise in the field, but I had to explain to a neighbour that there really expensive (nice though) SLR Digital camera could not use the screen as a viewfinder. It uses the eye viewing windows only, and the screen for confirming the shot afterwards.

        So it's both quite a nice camera, but also not the one they necessarily wanted to use. :/

        1. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

          Re: Transparent display?

          Yeah, there's this stupid SLR fashion... everyone now gets one, often an entry-level one, and they keep the kit zoom that came with it (which is unvariably a crappy one). So you end up with something bulky and overexpensive that makes not-so-good pictures. Most people would be better off with a high-end compact (Canon S series, Panasonic LX series, or even Nikon P310). Less expensive, easier to handle, and better cameras if you're not going to change the kit lens on your SLR (which most people never do).

  2. Mark 85 Silver badge

    NX Mini

    Oh joy... a camera designed for selfies. I guess it will be just a matter of time before one is invented/designed to be used for cats to take selfies. But seriously, the NX Mini sounds like something for an ultra-niche market....

  3. McHack

    And now for something completely different

    I'm looking through a window at something outdoors. All the light from the object that my eyes focus into the object's image will pass through the clear glass in that window.

    So when do I get a "window" that will detect the frequency (color) and direction of the photons passing through it, with that data being first sorted as to which photons would be heading towards a hypothetical eye, then it's computed what image would be seen? Then reprocess again for whatever viewpoints are wanted?

    Haven't we gotten to the point where we can have a camera without a lens?

    (Yes, detecting the photon destroys it, so how do you get direction? You'd actually have quite a few identical ones on the same path, at light speed. So the first transparent layer of detectors catches one, while the next layer simultaneously gets another of identical frequency but twenty detector pixels left and thirty-three up, while third finds one that's forty-one left and sixty-five up from the top layer's detecting pixel, etc. Software can sort it out.)

  4. David Paul Morgan
    Stop

    bring back the view-finder?

    'nuf said.

    1. no-one in particular

      Re: bring back the view-finder?

      Please accept 1 million upvotes

    2. James 51 Silver badge

      Re: bring back the view-finder?

      Yes please.

  5. Frankee Llonnygog

    A transparent camera?

    Let's all the light pass through, and doesn't block any? I see no problems with that...

    1. TechnicalBen Silver badge

      Re: A transparent camera?

      Could be a single micro second of a change to take the picture though. Like an LCD or some other mechanism.

  6. g e

    Am I the only one to realise

    That if you put it into a monitor you can look at the screen and be looking at the person you're videoconf'ing with ?

    Does anyone know if Samsung also make display panels?</sarcasm>

  7. Cynicalmark

    Compatibility

    Given the Samsung track record it will be compatible with nothing at all for about half its shelf life.....good old Samsung

  8. Stu

    Probably based off this tech -

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NuoIGteFC20

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