Feature Design α380/330/230
Feature Design α380/330/230

Color and material design: eye-catching even when you're not shooting

Fukamatsu: Stylish black inevitably comes to mind as an SLR color. Still, this is from our tacit belief that the tools of reporting or journalism shouldn't stand out. Surely entry-level cameras can reflect their owner's sense of style more than this.

Body colors and textures in these new models will appeal to women (a new user segment) and men alike. They match gold and silver jewelry, sleek mobile phones, and other accessories nicely. These fashionable cameras hold their own against handbags and outfits women adore. We chose two color options, after careful consideration from a variety of perspectives and testing based on market research: versatile black, which matches fashion of all kinds, and a premium brown.

But either one would have been rather boring if we'd only covered the body in one hue. And at the other extreme, the cameras would be too overbearing with a strong, two-tone color scheme. For a sophisticated air of luxury, we used a tone-on-tone color scheme for the "α380" and "α330". The black version also makes a stylish impression, from the combination of the metallic top cover and jet-black textured surfaces. This metallic sheen is even more noticeable in the brown version, and matching lenses enhance its luxuriousness.

We tend to imagine cameras in use, in situations where we're taking pictures. Actually, we're not shooting most of the time. The appearance of cameras should excite us even when they're not in use, and entice us to pick them up; that's a worthy goal in design. I hope alluring colors and textures will always be one thing people appreciate about entry-level "α" models.

New α design: reexamining the standard for a new generation

Takahashi: Traditions in SLR cameras run deep. To respect these traditions, manufacturers often assign designers knowledgeable about professional models to design beginner models as well. Satisfying the needs of both savvy camera aficionados and beginners takes thoughtful innovation and a lot of hard work. I certainly value this approach, but on the other hand, it limits the chance for inspired design in line with the attitudes and shooting styles of current beginners. That's why this time, we worked with designers who were not entrenched in SLR traditions as we explored directions in design and issues in usability through objective discussions and ongoing market research.

The new entry-level "α" models that emerged from this work do show a different direction in SLR camera design than what we've seen to date. Although veteran photographers may feel they are incomplete, that's because these models were designed for users who could not commit to SLR cameras until now. Our decisions were inevitable, and they support both the next generation of photographers and the future of photography.

Cameras that look small and straightforward invite anyone to pick up an α SLR casually and enjoy capturing many shots. These beginners may capture impressive and unexpected shots, which will motivate them to pursue their creative vision and learn more about cameras. This series of captivating events is what we sought to provide through this design work. From the start and as a matter of basic policy, Sony has designed experiences beyond products. In this sense, I'm proud that the models we've introduced are full of ideas and values worthy of the Sony "α" tradition.

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