Ishii: You can see our design efforts in other details as well. Look at the lens ring, for example. After the anodized aluminum lens ring is dyed two shades of black, we polish away a circular surface to create a silver ring around the lens. The Carl Zeiss logo is laser engraved. Like a chronometer bezel, these features signal that this is a precision instrument. The camera feels substantial and true to its roots in photography as a result, yet not too imposing, thanks to a clever refinement by Noriaki.
Takagi: The surface by the silver band encircling the case of most W-series cameras on the side is generally slightly concave. You might get the impression that the series as a whole is squarish, and this detail reinforces the unified aesthetic. But the DSC-W300 stands apart from the rest because it is slightly convex here. This has the effect of making the overall form gently rounded, which conveys a sense of elegance while keeping the body sleek.
What's more, it is an ideal shape from the standpoint of production. Because stainless steel is considerably harder than aluminum, we must try to design gently curving joints between the panels somehow. We thought, why not take advantage of this property instead, by creating subtly rounded contours that are a perfect embodiment of this unyielding metal.
The elegant shape we achieved makes it even clearer why we chose such a premium material as zirconia, and why our choices were inevitable. I think we can allow the deviation for this, the flagship of the W series.
Takagi: Even coworkers were amazed at how we succeeded in incorporating these exotic materials and the new coating technique. One factor may simply have been good timing. It was a case of perfect timing for the zirconia and the titanium coating, which had been the focus of R&D for years. The DSC-W300 just happened to be the first project to apply these efforts.
Another factor was surely the dedication of the many people involved. If I were alone, pursuing my own private goals, no one around me would put in any effort. But I'm no solitary artist; I'm a member of an organization. I view it as part of my job to encourage efficient collaboration. This makes difficult achievements possible, such as seemingly straightforward yet unprecedented surface fabrication. It can lead us to develop an innovative look, even for familiar cameras with retractable lenses.
Ishii: Among consumer products, camera bodies are probably a bit exceptional. Materials must meet very strict standards of impact resistance, and coatings must be durable. Accepted limitations in the body design of other products are often unacceptable in cameras. We must also consider that the production volume is a magnitude greater than that for other products. A seemingly trivial difference in the cost of materials per unit is ultimately multiplied many thousands of times.
Accounting for this, Sony formed a special project team and promoted R&D to create an even more attractive body design for the "Cyber-shot" line, through better materials, coatings, and other details. The chosen engineers soon set to work pooling their knowledge and preparing to meet to designers' requests. They have proven a strong ally for us designers.
Over time, the W series has probably gained a reputation as traditional or standard models of cameras. But looking ahead, I expect the W series in particular to set the trends in "Cyber-shot" styling in general. The DSC-W300 is a forerunner in this regard, and it makes a design statement. I'm looking forward to many more innovative and compelling cameras that build on the Sony tradition of elegant simplicity and apply original materials and production techniques.