"Cyber-shot" DSC-TX55/TX300V
"Cyber-shot" DSC-TX55/TX300V

Cutting the cords, for a liberating new user experience

Yamada:The TX300V was developed to offer a new, wireless user experience. We envisioned a compact body brimming with advanced Sony camera features—specifically, transmitting data and charging the camera wirelessly. When you get home after a day out with the TX300V, simply set it on the charging dock. Your shooting data is saved for you on the connected computer, and when you pick up the camera later, it'll be charged and ready to go. These are the new conveniences we had in mind.

We also cut the cords in design, so to speak. Some of us had been concerned that we might not be able to venture away from a hallmark of T series design—a lens cover that slides open and shut. This time, as we explored new ground in wireless features, we also rose to the challenge of introducing fresh styling in the T series with glass.

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The ultimate in simplicity-encased in two panels of glass

Takagi:Glass was the material we chose in pursuit of an uncameralike camera, but when you think about it, most digital cameras already have glass on the front and back, in the glass lens and LCD screen. Both are clear windows, in a sense; windows on various information. Thinking along these lines, we decided that the ultimate in simplicity would be to make both surfaces entirely of glass.

In fact, we had envisioned a camera consisting of two panels of glass for quite some time, but previously, we couldn't act on the idea because of the significant technical hurdles involved.

The antenna in the TX300V prevented us from using metal, which would interfere with signals. When we considered worthwhile alternatives to aluminum, we found glass to be the best choice. Knowing that at last it was technically feasible, we combined the glass camera body with wireless functionality. A way to make the product a reality was finally clear.

Distinctly different appearances when on and off

imageNakajima:Turn T series models on, and they look more like cameras, but this resemblance vanishes when you turn them off and they revert to appealingly simple, uncameralike devices. Creating these two facets of their appearance is actually a key theme for us in design. That's why the TX300V incorporates a lens cover under the glass surface that conceals its nature as a camera when it's off. This 0.2 mm thin internal cover opens and closes magnetically in a flash. We also made the cover as thin as possible to avoid increasing the body thickness, a feat for which we must thank our diligent engineers.

Glass often looks flat, smooth, and clear, but you wouldn't know how difficult this is to achieve in production until you try it. Glass also loses its appealing transparency if you simply print over the inner surface with a black layer, which makes it look like black plastic. One way to create a sense of depth and clarity involves vapor deposition, but this would add metallic particles, which would affect wireless performance. For these and other reasons, designing with glass is not as easy as it might seem. Our breakthrough came when we found a special laminate composed of nearly 100 layers in a mere 0.1 mm. It's free of metallic substances, but the multi-layer structure gives it a deep luster. If we hadn't found this perfect material, the glass would never have been this flat, smooth, and crystal clear.

Framing this panel proved to be another challenge. Glass panels are weakest along the edge, and even tempered glass requires some protection to prevent cracking. We wanted to avoid burying the glass under a frame, which would have defeated the originality of this fresh styling. Instead, we explored the idea of a slim, glass-like bezel. In effect, it would only look as if a somewhat thicker glass panel were resting on top of the body, without a frame. Ultimately, this approach makes the camera as a whole seem even slimmer, while revealing a new facet of Sony glass styling.

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