Feature Design Sony NEX-7
Feature Design Sony NEX-7

Setting new standards in design and usability

Takahashi:Most premium cameras have given the impression of being massive and cluttered with buttons and dials. In the NEX-7, we have redefined premium camera design by taking an uncompromising approach, insisting on a camera that looks simple yet advanced while offering superb usability.

The new Navigation button, near the shutter release, is an example of enhanced usability. Press this button to cycle through settings for exposure, focus, white balance, dynamic range, or creative styles, depending on what you want to adjust. As Takuya alluded to earlier, adjustment has been divided into three elements, each assigned to a different dial, which puts camera settings directly under your control. Also, there's no need to look at the LCD screen on back during adjustment. Just keep looking through the EVF while using your thumb to access the three dials. Adjustment is immediate and won't interrupt shooting. Although it's a new way of operating a camera, I think it's an excellent interface that people will master intuitively.

The goal: a UI that shows what cameras are all about

Higashide:The user interface is grounded in these controls the two dials on top, the dial on back, and the Navigation button by the shutter release. In the NEX-7, we introduce the UI concept of "function setting." Camera functions such as white balance or HDR are adjusted with the three dials, providing direct control over settings for your shots. To adjust white balance, for example, you use the top left dial to switch WB modes, and you fine-tune the color tone with the right dial (for the horizontal axis) and the back dial (for the vertical axis). Dial functions are displayed in corresponding positions in the GUI, so you can select and fine-tune settings confidently and immediately. Of course, you can customize operation of each dial and assign the functions you use most often.

Settings are also clearer. Dynamic range is a good example. Previously, only the level value was shown, but now you see a histogram, which clarifies what setting you're adjusting and how you're adjusting it. It's a significant refinement, illustrating both the overall setting range and the current level, so you can visualize the finished image as you adjust settings. And it came from our commitment to a UI that shows what cameras are all about.

In appearance, the camera itself embodies precision, and the GUI mirrors these qualities, reminding you that you're in command of a precision optical instrument. Instead of merely showing numerical values for aperture value, shutter speed, and so on, dial movement is linked to on-screen dial animation, and values are updated accordingly, which appeals to your senses. Line width was carefully considered, and we chose fine lines to evoke an impression of precision. Even in simple arrow symbols, we created several versions and studied each to find the shape that conveys the operation or function most clearly and exactly. Even the camera icon on the menu screen is detailed and photorealistic. Attention to detail helped us create a GUI worthy of a premium model.

Regard for users that inspires pride of ownership

Fuse:Packaging obviously fulfills an important role in protecting products from jostling in transit, but beyond this, we hope NEX-7 packaging demonstrates our regard for owners. In fact, the packaging was designed for a satisfying out-of-box experience (OOBE). The outer sleeve includes all the required retail information, with product photos and specifications, so there's nothing extraordinary about the appearance at this point. Once you remove the sleeve, though, you'll begin to see the thoughtful packaging.

As you can see, it's a very simple black box. The cover is actually a box itself, which keeps manuals and other things that tend to get jumbled up neatly organized. Take off the cover, and all is still hidden under a cleaning cloth. Lift this "veil of mystery" and you'll find the camera, lens, lens hood, and any other accessories waiting on velvety cushioning for you to pick them up. We avoid excessive packaging, however. The cleaning cloth under the cover doubles as a cushioning material, for example. In this way, it's quite practical and minimal, without extravagance.

Niitsu:For better or worse, Sony is still a relative newcomer to cameras, compared to manufacturers that specialize in this field. We are less bound by a regard for camera heritage or traditions. We maintain the attitude that we should innovate, in a positive sense. In fact, I view the "cylinder + panel" NEX design concept as an example of iconic new camera design. I also get the impression that consumers look to us to keep offering innovative cameras.

NEX-7 design was truly challenging, but our commitment to unmatched camera performance has yielded another NEX model that's destined to become a favorite, even among DSLR enthusiasts with a keen eye for beauty and subtlety.

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