Nikon patent describes password-protected lens

Users would need to enter a password before using a lens and camera combination.

Nikon is seeking a patent on an authentication system that would add a measure of security to a camera lens by password-protecting its use.

The patent, filed in September 2011 and made public just this month, would require user authentication before the combination of a camera body and a lens could be used together. No password, no picture taking. The idea is not to prevent theft, but to deter the re-sale of stolen equipment.

With that idea in mind, however, thieves might be less likely to steal a lens in the first place.

Nikon filed patent 2013-61508 in Japan on September 14, 2011. The patent was published nearly two weeks ago, on April 4. The publication of a patent application signals the date it is publicly available to be reviewed and when it becomes "prior art" for other patent applications worldwide. A translation of that patent filing is available via Google Translation.

Details behind the authentication system were hard to come by via the translation. The website Nikon Rumors theorized that the authentication would include a pre-set password and a link between the lens and the camera serial numbers.

There have already been concerns that such an authentication system would make camera-lens rentals difficult, if not impossible. Of course, the solution — sharing the password — would violate a basic tenant of password security.

There is no word about password configuration rules or how one might reset a forgotten password. Or how many people are projected to write the password on a card and drop it in their camera bag.