|Publication number||USRE41798 E1|
|Application number||US 11/442,740|
|Publication date||Oct 5, 2010|
|Filing date||May 25, 2006|
|Priority date||Jul 14, 2003|
|Also published as||US6741809|
|Publication number||11442740, 442740, US RE41798 E1, US RE41798E1, US-E1-RE41798, USRE41798 E1, USRE41798E1|
|Original Assignee||Shan-Wen Chang|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (13), Classifications (11), Legal Events (6)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to an image capturing apparatus, and more specifically, to an image capturing apparatus with laser-framing viewfinder and laser pointer functions.
2. Description of the Prior Art
In todays modern information based society, information devices are increasingly following the trends of small size, light-weight, and portability. Examples of such devices include: USB flash drives, recording pens, MP3 players and so on. Manufacturers want to integrate as many functions into a portable device as possible and the digital camera is no exception.
Digital cameras have become popular digital products and are positioned to eventually replace conventional film cameras due to low prices and compatibility with other electronic peripherals. Please refer to FIG. 1.
However, the image displayed on the electrical viewfinder 18 is limited by resolution and size and because it is a result of an image signal captured by an image sensor and then processed by a digital signal processor (DSP), distortion when compared to the actual image is observed. Users may discover blurry images due to non-focusing or hand trembling that is not apparent when shooting them. Moreover, the electrical viewfinder 18 has high power consumption and has a limited angle of view.
Alternatively, users can view the object through the optical viewfinder 14. In this situation users are required to hold the camera close to their face, which is not only inconvenient but also slows down shooting. Additionally, the LCD or LTPS used in the electrical viewfinder 18 costs a significant amount and is not profitable on low-level digital cameras or small-size digital image capturing apparatuses. Thus, there is a need to design a lower cost viewfinder for small-size low-cost digital image capturing apparatuses.
Furthermore, digital cameras have become popular digital products and are divided into high-level and low-level product lines. Low-level digital cameras do not have many functions, such as image zoom or other shooting condition settings, so they can be reduced to a size as small as a pen disk. Because the function of low-level digital cameras only supports image capturing, this product design really needs to be improved to follow the modern trend of integrating many office functions into a single information device. Additionally, portable storage devices only provide functions such as data storage, voice recording, and playing MP3 files and do not provide other office functions like image capturing or laser pointing in a meeting. Thus, there is a need to design an apparatus integrating the many functions mentioned above into a single portable information device.
It is therefore a primary objective of the present invention to provide an image capturing apparatus with laser-framing viewfinder and laser pointer functions to solve the problems mentioned above.
Briefly summarized, an image capturing apparatus with laser-framing viewfinder and laser pointer functions includes a housing, a laser source installed inside the housing for generating a laser beam, a first lens group installed inside the housing for diverging the laser beam from the laser source, a reflecting object installed inside the housing in a rotatable manner for reflecting the laser beam from the first lens group, a second lens group installed inside the housing for diverging the laser beam from the reflecting object, a framing mask for masking the laser beam diverged by the second lens group and displaying a laser-framing viewfinder, a third lens group installed on the housing for focusing the laser beam from the first lens group, and a camera lens installed on the housing for capturing an image framed in the laser-framing viewfinder. When the reflecting object rotates to a first location, the reflecting object reflects the laser beam from the first lens group to the second lens group which can diverge the laser beam to the framing mask and the framing mask masks the laser beam for displaying a laser-framing viewfinder. When the reflecting object rotates to a second location, the third lens group focuses the laser bream via the first lens group from the laser source.
These and other objectives of the present invention will no doubt become obvious to those of ordinary skill in the art after reading the following detailed description of the preferred embodiment that is illustrated in the various figures and drawings.
Please refer to
Please refer to FIG. 6.
Please refer to FIG. 7.
The second digital camera 22 further includes a framing mask 46 installed inside the sliding set 38, which includes shading material for masking the laser beam diverged by the second lens 45 and reflected by the reflector 42 to form a laser-framing viewfinder. Please refer to FIG. 8.
The operation of the second digital camera 22 is as follows. When viewing an image, the user switches the reflecting object adjusting device 35 to the lower end to position the reflecting object 42 and main body 36 at an angle of 45 degrees, and switches on the laser source 40 using the control button set 33 so that the laser source 40 generates a laser beam. The laser beam passes through and is diverged by the first lens 44 and is then reflected toward the second lens 45 by the reflector 42. The angle between the reflector 42 and the laser source 40 can be adjusted according to a required angle of reflection. The laser beam is further diverged by the second lens 45 and directed toward the framing mask 46. The framing mask 46 partially blocks the laser beam to form a laser-framing viewfinder projected around the object. Please refer to FIG. 11.
When an object is too far from the second digital camera 22 or no object exists for the laser beam to project a viewfinder box on, the laser-framing viewfinder cannot be used. In this situation, as shown in
The shutter of the second digital camera 22 can be two-staged. The focus can be automatically determined when the user presses the shutter button 32. Automatic exposure and white balance can be switched off in order to prevent the intensity of light from being effected by the laser beam. When the shutter button 32 is pressed to the first stage, the second digital camera 22 finds the view and focuses automatically, and when the shutter button 32 is pressed to the second stage, the image is captured through the camera lens 26. Furthermore, the laser source 40 is switched off to prevent from interfering image shooting. If the shot is going to be aborted, the user can release the shutter button 32 at the first stage.
Please refer to FIG. 12.
In contrast to the prior art, the present invention provides a laser-framing viewfinder of small size and low cost for image capturing apparatuses to replace conventional electrical viewfinders with high power consumption, high cost, and large size. In addition to these advantages, the laser-framing viewfinder can be used in the nighttime or in other low-light conditions where it would not be possible for conventional optical or electrical viewfinders to operate. Additionally, when the laser-framing viewfinder cannot be projected due to the object being too far from the second camera 22 or no object exists, users can slide the fourth lens set 48 to the position between the two optical viewfinder ports 31 in order to view the object through the optical viewfinder 30. Thus, the present invention includes optical and laser-framing viewfinders. Moreover, by adjusting the angle of the reflecting object 42 of the second digital camera 22, the laser-framing viewfinder function or the laser pointer function can be selected. Thus, the present invention further provides a laser pointer function unavailable in conventional image capturing apparatuses.
Those skilled in the art will readily observe that numerous modifications and alterations of the device may be made while retaining the teachings of the invention. Accordingly, the above disclosure should be construed as limited only by the metes and bounds of the appended claims.
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|US6741809||Sep 4, 2003||May 25, 2004||Primax Electronics Ltd.||Image capturing apparatus with laser-framing viewfinder and laser pointer functions|
|US6809772||Oct 28, 1999||Oct 26, 2004||Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P.||Shutterless digital camera and method of using same|
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|U.S. Classification||396/431, 362/131|
|International Classification||H04N5/225, H04N5/232, G03B17/48|
|Cooperative Classification||G03B17/54, G03B13/04, G03B17/48|
|European Classification||G03B13/04, G03B17/54, G03B17/48|
|Jan 22, 2007||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: PRIMAX ELECTRONICS LTD., TAIWAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:CHANG, SHAN-WEN;REEL/FRAME:018785/0617
Effective date: 20030904
Owner name: TRANSPACIFIC PLASMA, LLC, TAIWAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:PRIMAX ELECTRONICS LTD.;REEL/FRAME:018785/0654
Effective date: 20060626
|Jan 25, 2011||CC||Certificate of correction|
|Sep 23, 2011||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8
|Jun 17, 2013||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: GIZMODO LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY, DELAWARE
Free format text: MERGER;ASSIGNOR:TRANSPACIFIC PLASMA, LLC;REEL/FRAME:030628/0659
Effective date: 20130213
|Jun 18, 2013||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: INTELLECTUAL VENTURES I LLC, DELAWARE
Free format text: MERGER;ASSIGNOR:GIZMODO LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY;REEL/FRAME:030639/0298
Effective date: 20130214
|Oct 27, 2015||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 12