Feature Design Cyber-shot DSC-G3
Feature Design Cyber-shot DSC-G3

Turning design restrictions into product character

Takagi: The raised edge around the DSC-G3 sets it apart from previous Cyber-shot models and gives this camera a sense of design identity. But of course, an innovative appearance was not our only goal here.

The body also took this shape because of the internal structure. G series cameras have a built-in antenna for wireless communication, and because radio waves can't pass through metal, the part housing the antenna must be made of plastic. But we took the trouble to create a seamless metal body, so we wanted to hide areas where different materials come together. That's why we chose a plastic material for the edge encircling the body of the DSC-G3. We positioned the antenna on top, where there's no interference from the metal surfaces. When we sought a shape that smoothes out this slight bulge, we naturally settled on the contour you see today.

There are other benefits from this shape. First, the lens cover doesn't have to slide open too much. The cover must open wide enough to prevent vignetting (lack of exposure at the corners), but having a cover with a slanted edge helps us minimize the amount you have to slide it. And the fact that less lens cover travel increases the camera's structural strength is undeniably an advantage. In appearance, the edge around the body also contributes to the thinner image. And because we put labels, buttons, and LEDs on the back side of the edge, the edge nicely hides these elements from the front.

The internal structure, and the new edge shape we turned these design conditions and restrictions into traits of the camera's identity, and they fulfill a valuable role aesthetically. Thinking of performance and appearance, we sought a practical, beautiful shape.

Clever mechanisms all around

Takagi: Pick up a DSC-G3 and you might also enjoy clever details in mechanisms of the camera. Watch the flash as you open the lens cover, and you'll notice how a barrier slides away to reveal the flash. If we just left the flash exposed through a gaping hole, it would be a little disappointing, as if we compromised for practicality. But because we cared enough to incorporate this barrier, we were also careful about the timing as it opens. As the lens cover is fully opened, the barrier is retracted just in time to reveal the flash. I also devised the mechanism here, and this exact timing was something I persuaded the engineers to implement from the stage of our design mock-up.

Here's another "inside story," so to speak: there's also a special mechanism in the bottom of the camera. As you know, the lens cover and body of the DSC-G3 slide apart, so that the lens cover provides the grip. This made designing the battery compartment tricky, because the battery stays in the body section while only the outer panel moves. How should the compartment open, then? Preventing people from replacing batteries when the lens cover is open would have been unacceptable. And it would have made even less sense to enable battery replacement then if it exposed the hollow space in the grip. (Above all, we didn't want children getting their fingers caught in there.) We resolved this by also using a sliding battery cover, which extends and retracts. For this, I can only thank our engineers for their tenacity.

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