Obata: Ideally, camera LCD monitors should be aligned with the optical axis, but this would pose a few problems. The monitor would diverge too far from the optical axis when you try to shoot from a different angle and open it out to the side. When used vertically in vertical shooting, it would interfere with your hand or the tripod. A monitor that can be tilted in both horizontal and vertical positions while remaining in the optical axis had never been created.
Yet we felt compelled to develop one, especially because we would also offer an optional vertical grip for the α77. That's what led to the α77's three-way tilt LCD monitor. The three-way tilting mechanism is a world's first. You can adjust the monitor angle whether it's in horizontal or vertical orientation while keeping it close to the optical axis.
This idea had been simmering for some time among Sony designers, but the need to keep the body compact made it difficult. What you see today is the result of a commitment on the part of our designers and engineers to make it happen.
Our dedication to a layout centered on the optical axis carried over to the vertical grip. On the α77's vertical grip, the buttons and dials-even the shutter button-are positioned near the monitor in horizontal orientation, close to the optical axis. Touches such as these should satisfy midrange camera users' need for refined, ergonomic design.
Obata: The new α (alpha) cameras also excel at video, and the careful mic styling is a reminder of this. Brainstorming with Takatoshi led to the decision to put the mic on top-a prime position on SLRs that clearly distinguishes this class of cameras.
Arranging the mic here would certainly make it more prominent, but if it interrupted the "Tensile Skin" ridge lines, it would ruin the carefully contoured surfaces. To avoid this, we arranged the mic along an arc that follows ridge lines and seems to dissolve into the gentle curves. And to avoid the mic looking either too conspicuous or too concealed, we chose an aluminum material. It has a subdued color but a clearly different texture from that of the body.
Niitsu:Personally, I took on this project with all the enthusiasm of creating the Alpha brand anew. An absolute goal of mine in this regard was to establish a brand identity that stands the test of time and continues to evolve. Besides being a styling technique, "Tensile Skin" is a concept that embodies this ideal. The α77 and α65 demonstrate that even in the hands of different contributing designers, or on models of different sizes, we can ensure a consistent image for the Alpha line.
Takahashi: Styling was not our only focus when establishing the brand identity. Take the Sony grip, for instance. In how these cameras feel in your hand, we wanted to forge a unified brand identity for midrange and entry-level segments alike.
Compare the grip between midrange and entry-level cameras of another manufacturer, and you'll see how different they feel, in many cases. It's not surprising, because manufacturers have different users in mind, but we want all Alpha cameras from now on to share the same grip feeling that you'll sense through your fingers. That's why when we studied the Sony grip shape and dimensions, we took a new approach in our design process by conducting worldwide user surveys for both the α77 and α65, besides analyzing hand data from men and women of many ages.
he two models break new ground in introducing a fresh identity for the Alpha A-mount brand, and in showing the direction of future design work. Pick one up yourself, and see and feel (with your hand) the design statement Alpha makes.