An interesting new patent from Canon Japan details the schematics for a lens that’s capable of being “reverse mounted” onto a camera to give macro capabilities with full electronic control.
There are a handful of adapters out there that will let you mount a lens backwards on your DSLR or mirrorless camera to effectively turn your lens into a macro lens. But none of them give you autofocus, aperture control, or EXIF data transfer.
That might change though, if this patent comes to fruition. According to patent publication number 2016-206568, the lens would feature mounts on both ends of the lens and contacts to transmit information and control the electronic components.
By adding mounts on both ends, the lens would be able to be used as a standard lens at whatever focal length it is, as well as a macro lens. Below is a vague schematic of the two mounting plates that would be on opposite sides of the camera.
We reached out to Canon USA for comment, but were told “Canon USA and Canon Inc., as a policy, do not comment on patent filings.”
A few initial thoughts about such a lens brings up concerns about protecting the exposed contacts and mounting plate when the lens is attached to a camera. But that could easily be resolved with a hybrid cap/hood that protects the contacts and mount.
A reversible lens might seem like a novelty, but it could prove incredibly useful. One instance I can think of is wedding photographers, who might like the macro ability for ring and detail shots without having to worry about buying a whole new lens for what usually ends up being half a dozen shots.
As with all patents, there’s a chance such a lens will never leave paper, but the possibility is intriguing nonetheless.