Canon is looking into putting continuous LED lights into the pop-up flash of its cameras, according a recent patent application.
Japanese patent application 2019-056787 (translated) details how Canon could put continuous LED lights inside the pop-up flash alongside the conventional xenon tubes used for still photography. This combo would not only provide a modeling light function, but also serve as a continuous lighting source for video.
An illustration from the patent application highlights the LED lights (part 15) attached to the heat-dissipating substrate (part 16a), which would then be reflected off the aluminum substrate (part 14) through the fresnel lens (part 11) at the front of the flash unit.
According to the patent text, the LED array would lay flat at the bottom part of the flash housing with the diodes facing upwards. When turned on, the LED light is then reflected off a specialized aluminum substrate through the fresnel lens on the front of the flash unit. This arrangement not only allows space for the standard Xenon tube to operate, but also helps to dissipate the intense heat the LEDs will put out when used for extended periods of time. Canon does note, however, that the exact arrangement is still 'flexible' to account for any overheating and alignment issues.
A profile shot of the flash unit showing the LED lights (part 15) attached to the heat-dissipating substrate (part 16), which would then be reflected off the aluminum substrate (part 14) through the fresnel lens (part 11, 11a) at the front of the flash unit.
Canon also addresses the spread of light from the LED units, saying it can narrow or widen the spread of light through alteration of the fresnel lens and limiting the throw of the LEDs, but notes it also has to balance the throw of the xenon tube as well.
An illustration showing the pop-up unit open (left) and closed (right). Note the illustration shows a DSLR, not a mirrorless camera, although that could be because Canon hadn't yet launched the EOS R at the time of this patent application's development and didn't want to give away any hints.
As with all patent applications and patents, there's no way of knowing whether or not this technology will make it into future cameras, but it's interesting to see what Canon is cooking up behind the scenes regardless.


More...