Is this another nail in the coffin for mechanical shutters? Canon submits patents for fingertip haptic feedback

Canon patent haptic feedback
(Image credit: Canon)

It was only two days ago I was writing about Canon's latest trip to the Japanese patent office with HDR sensors, and it appears that they have returned for the third time this month!

Canon has submitted two patent applications that would provide cameras with a haptic feedback vibration when an exposure is taken. The best Canon cameras are being created with a focus on electronic shutters, and considering the growing trend of global shutters, mechanical shutters are seemingly being phased out. This would mean losing the audible 'clunk' to notify you that an exposure has been taken - hence the need for vibrations!  

(Image credit: Canon)

For regular readers, this may sound all too familiar, as I recently wrote about Sony's patent application for what seems like the same type of feedback. In both cases the patents involve placing a vibrating device in the camera body, that vibrates when you take a shot, replacing the audible notification with a haptic one.

Canon Rumors has delved into the patent, providing a more digestible description, "[the] feedback motor is underneath the grip, your middle fingers would feel the feedback as your hand grips the camera". The detailed schematics show the location as the middle of the grip, which coincidently is also in the same position that Sony wants to put its version.

(Image credit: Canon)

The main concern with intentionally adding vibrations to your camera is motion and sensor blur, after all, we have just been sold on various image stabilizations. Canon has outlined its way of combating this by isolating the device with a rubber assembly that acts as a dampener, reducing the vibration of the camera housing.

Unlike the Sony patent, Canon has outlined a different way of transmitting the vibration to the user. Instead of a button-like device through the grip, Canon has described a rectangular motor that sits underneath. The rubber in this area of the grip will be made thinner (0.5mm), to enable the feedback to be felt.

Canon Rumors points out that the body used for the patent diagrams is a 1-series body, therefore we may see this first implemented in the Canon R1 (or future iteration). This may also mean that it becomes the first Canon camera with a global shutter.

As with all patent applications, this by no means is a certainty. What it does show is what Canon is focusing on in terms of research, and when looked at next to Sony's, it is a pretty strong indicator of where the market is leaning and may involve phasing out mechanical shutters.

You may be interested in our guides on the best Canon DSLR lenses, and the best Canon RF lenses

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Kalum Carter
Staff Writer

Kalum Carter is a UK-based photographer, writer, and photo editor. Kalum has been working as a freelance photographer for the best part of ten years, covering a wide range of assignments for well-known brands and publications in areas including portraiture, fashion, and documentary. 


Between commercial assignments, Kalum is currently working on a personal photography project exploring his connection to the Gower region of South Wales UK, as part of an MA in Photography from The University of West England.