Items 120a and 120b in the illustration are a pair of touch-sensitive strips positioned at a 45-degree angle. Click to enlarge.

Canon has filed a patent application for what has to be one of the most interesting camera designs we’ve ever seen. Japanese patent application number 2020–009307 details the schematics for a camera system that has a cutout through the middle to provide better grip, particularly for when switching between horizontal and vertical shooting.

Click to enlarge.

According to the patent text, the purpose of this novel cutaway design is to ‘ensure good gripping performance at both of the horizontal and vertical imaging positions, and to eliminate the possibility of removing the imaging device when changing the imaging position from the vertical position to the horizontal position or from the horizontal position to the vertical position.’

Click to enlarge.

In addition to improved grip, the patent description also highlights how the extra real estate inside the cutout affords space for additional buttons and dials. Specifically, in addition to the usual array of buttons and dials we see on cameras, Canon shows how a rotating dial (111a, 111b) could be positioned on the inside of the grip — both horizontally and vertically — where they would be easily adjustable with your thumb in the usual shooting positions.

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As seen in the header image, the patent also describes a pair of touch-sensitive bars (120a, 120b) on the sides of the display. These touch-sensitive strips, according to the patent application, would be tilted at a 45-degree angle towards the grip so they’re easier to use without needing to readjust your grip.

An illustration showing the front of the camera at an angled view. Click to enlarge.

What’s more interesting, and so far not reported on elsewhere, is that Canon also notes this cutaway design could be achieved through the use of an add-on attachment, not unlike the vertical grips Canon has released alongside its EOS R, R5 and R6 mirrorless camera systems. It doesn’t take much imagination to realize this modularity could result in a Sigma fp-style camera with the option to add a more robust grip for times when you need a better handle on the camera. A left-hand variant of the design is shown off as well, which may turn the ol’ left-handed camera April Fool’s joke into a reality.

As with all patents and patent applications, these are little more than tidbits of intellectual property until we see them in a real product. There’s no knowing whether or not Canon seriously plans on introducing such a camera design, but we’ve seen some strange concepts from it in the past, so who knows.