Nikon filed a patent for arranging multiple lens systems in a way that will cover 360 degrees without the lenses aligning to a central point. The company claims this will allow for the exploitation of the center-of-frame, better image quality parts of a wide angle lens’s angle of view to be selectively combined in software to create a better spherical photo.
Included in the patent is a specific lens design, as well as MTF data showing the effect of combining the image sensors. Graphed out on paper, it looks impressive. Of course, including between four and ten lenses in a camera system seems a bit inefficient, but Nikon is also laying claim to the idea of using one lens system to provide all images in the different alignments.