Kawagoi: With the α700, Sony has taken the opportunity to expand the α series. Many people probably look for new technology in this series, hoping to find innovative thinking they won't find from conventional camera manufacturers. Our ongoing development aims to meet these expectations for something fresh and new, but one thing that won't change is the cinnabar ring around lenses and camera mounts in this series. The rings are symbolic and convey a message: when the pair of rings come together, that's when it all begins.
We have focused on this mount since the brand was launched, as a way to symbolize the α system. No camera in the history of SLRs had been inspired by the mount system itself. While our product design team studied ways to capitalize on this, my team in brand communication looked into how to build a brand world view around this mount. We created a representative video to share associated feelings and values with other team members. What we wanted to convey was a sense of passion and enthusiasm for taking on the world of SLR cameras anew. The motif we chose was an eclipse, showing the sun's corona and light emanating from the surface. The power of a perfect circle of light energy blazing against pitch black space. We felt that this image overlaps, conceptually, with our passion in this development. We also saw how it represents the shape of the mount, and how it symbolizes the beginning of a world of creativity. For this, we chose the color of a mineral called cinnabar. This color has always existed, in the earth, so using it for the mount reflects our wish that α will keep projecting its presence in digital SLR photography for generations to come.
Finding this color, cinnabar, accelerated our work in creating a world view for the α brand. So, focusing on the camera mount, we have aggressively promoted the series in press releases, store displays, and so on, showing Sony's commitment.
Takahashi: Clearly, no one among us thinks the brand identity could be summarized as just some orange brand color. It's the images we've created that promote the mount—these symbolize the brand. This promotion and color match the cameras well, and I?think it's significant that we're describing it with the new name, cinnabar, instead of plain old orange. There are many examples of colors being associated with brands. But the big difference here is that we created a comprehensive new image, including how we refer to the color.
Hayashi: As a camera system, the Sony α truly sets photographers free to be more expressive. Looking at lenses alone, we offer two lines—G lenses and Zeiss lenses, with an emphasis on original Sony models. These meet the needs of photographers in shooting situations of all kinds. Try large-aperture G lenses for gentle, ethereal, or soft-focus shots. If you want crisp images, try Zeiss lenses, which are great for correcting aberration. Sharp down to the details, and high-contrast. This way, you can choose the right lens for the subject, the theme of your shot, or the composition you're looking for. In the design of these groups of lenses as well, we use a consistent language of design while adding subtle refinements in line with the character of each line.
Kawagoi: You might say that what we offer through α is what you can experience by combining the cameras and lenses. That's why they're marked with cinnabar rings. Not as some kind of logo, but as a guide when switching lenses. The cinnabar ring is also Sony's pledge to people who have enjoyed the α system so far and people who will try it in the future, a promise to keep offering people the joy of photography.