Is Nikon working on a new 360 camera? A patent by Nikon shows a 360 camera with a novel lens protector design.
Japanese camera news site Digicame-info found a patent from Nikon showing a 360 camera with a new design for a lens protector, raising hopes that Nikon is working on a new 360 camera. The diagram shows hinged bars that can swing over the lens to protect it from being scratched. It’s a novel design that I haven’t seen yet for 360 cameras.
Patents alone don’t mean much. Large companies file patents for many inventions that they don’t have any intent to produce. However, in this case, there is a reasonable chance that Nikon has an intent to produce a 360 camera.
Nikon had produced a 360 camera previously — the Keymission 360, released in September 2016. It was one of my first 360 cameras and I liked how it did not require stitching for either photos or videos. I also liked its replaceable front lens element. But the Keymission 360 was plagued by serious blur at the stitch line and Nikon did not produce other 360 cameras after that.
A lot has changed in the 360 industry since September 2016. 360 cameras began to have stabilization and higher resolution video, and could be used as third person view cameras. More importantly, the compact camera industry has pretty much dried up, whereas the 360 industry has grown. That alone would give Nikon a good reason to get back into 360 cameras.
Nikon has already invested in 360, so it would not be starting from scratch. And it has much better name recognition among photographers than any of the 360 camera companies. I hope they do produce a new 360 camera that incorporates the more recent improvements in 360 cameras.
Thank you very much to Giorgio Marchetto for bringing this to my attention.