Feature Design High Definition "Handycam" HDR-CX7
[ 2007.8.9 up ]

A tiny camcorder, making giant waves in visual culture

Tape, DVD, and HDD. Recording media and their drive mechanisms have always been a limiting factor in camcorder design. Clear this hurdle, and imagine the tremendous potential of camcorders. Meet the Memory Stick Handycam, the HDR-CX7. This camcorder packs a liberating new message from Sony.

Hiroshi Yasutomi
Hiroshi Yasutomi
Sony Corporation
Creative Center
Designer
Mitsuo Okumura
Mitsuo Okumura
Sony Corporation
Creative Center
Art Director
Takashi Ikenaga
Takashi Ikenaga
Sony Corporation
Creative Center
Senior Producer

Limited by design? Lose the limitations through design.

Takashi Ikenaga

Ikenaga: Camcorder design is fairly challenging. Besides a lens and LCD screen, you must include a recording deck. This inevitably limits how compact it can be, and it also restricts our freedom in the shape. Try for a design that's smaller and easier to hold, and it seems like you just wrapped everything together, into the body. So you could say it's a product with internal parts that tend to dominate and limit the design.

Finally, we broke free from these limitations in the HDR-CX7, which records on Memory Stick media. It's the first model without a recording deck. It was as if we could pour our imagination into an open mold, for just the shape we wanted.

Because this is such an epoch-making model, everyone in our design group exchanged ideas about it. After collecting ideas of all kinds-not only vertical or horizontal formats, but also rotating, for example-we decided the direction we would take. The big news here is that we eliminated the need for a recording deck or disk drive. We wanted this to be immediately clear from the design. Structurally, it's quite simple. Just a lens and LCD screen. This enables an ultimately compact body, but we didn't compromise on how secure it feels in your hand. Hiroshi's idea served as the basis for this model. Through discussions in the group, we refined the appearance until it seemed just right for our first camcorder of this kind.

Preconceptions gone, the answer became clear

Yasutomi: When you get rid of the recording deck or disk drive, a camcorder's functions are concentrated in the lens and LCD screen. And for the high resolution of an HD model, the significance of the lens is only magnified, so to speak. It didn't take a great leap of imagination to start thinking about users holding the camcorder by the lens.

Feature Design HDR-CX7

Next, I designed the LCD screen as if it were floating slightly in front of the lens. This asserts the individual character of the lens and the screen, in a way. When the unit appears to be just a lens and LCD screen, it highlights how we eliminated those mechanical parts, you see. The message is clear. Although in old camcorders it made sense to integrate these two elements, we took a completely different approach here.

Another key point of my design proposal was having the shape demonstrate our care for how it feels in your hand. Unlike still cameras, camcorders are held for a longer time when shooting. If it isn't easy to hold, you get tired and your hand won't be steady. We wanted to carry on the Handycam tradition of a camcorder that's easy to hold, something everyone at Sony agreed about.

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