The "Cyber-shot" DSC-W300: high-resolution, full-featured, and superbly designed. Polishing the image of the W series as standard models, this mass-market compact digital camera has gained a fresh coat of quality and is turning heads. Meet the duo of designers whose collaboration brought it to life, sparked by the technical prowess of engineers who succeeded in adopting new materials and an exceptional coating.
Ishii: Pro-level performance, within anyone's reach. The W series combines a conventional style that appeals to everyone with the high resolution and plentiful features that photography and camera buffs crave. As the flagship of this series, the DSC-W300 had to be engaging and have an appearance true to its heritage as a camera, with upscale styling.
When I contributed to the design of the previous model (the DSC-W200), we broke new ground in the wrought aluminum ring that highlights the lens. This metal has a deeper coloring than that of metal-plated plastic. It's the superior quality of an impeccable material, and the beauty is more than skin-deep. We thought it expresses a sense of value fitting for a camera that photography aficionados would appreciate.
In the new DSC-W300, we took this concept a step further. The lens is encircled by a double-anodized wrought aluminum ring, surrounded by a ring of zirconia. This is an advanced polycrystalline ceramic material used in jewelry and famous brands of jeweled watches. We didn't modify the natural color of the zirconia, which is distinctively dark with a bluish tinge. The finer you polish it, the deeper the color and the more it gleams. The quality of this material outshines that of metal-plated parts, which couldn't match how the color and luster of zirconia showcases the lens. And I think this act of "polishing" and refining the camera itself was significant.
Takagi: We had been interested in incorporating zirconia for some time, but it was prohibitively expensive. More important, the difficulty in mass-producing precision parts with it was just too formidable. When zirconia is formed in a furnace at high temperature, it shrinks dramatically, which makes precision molding very difficult. This prevented me from using zirconia in a project seven or eight years ago. Despite repeated attempts, many designers and engineers were frustrated by the material, in those days. But eventually, technological advances paved the way for practical applications.
For the DSC-W300, I worked out some details building on Daisuke's basic design concepts. The shutter button is a key part that brings any camera to life, and here, I wanted to use zirconia. But simply making the button of zirconia would not convey its value. That's when I imagined setting the button in a silver ring, to present the zirconia like a gemstone. Take a look, and you can imagine a mounted jewel.
Touch it, and it's comfortable and solid—unlike parts that are only metal-plated, in my opinion. I want people to enjoy how this new material looks and feels, with each shot.