Canon's "PowerShot series" offers two high-end lineups, "G" and "S". Newly added to this lineup is the "PowerShot G7 X", which boasts an even more lavish design than SLR cameras, giving a new definition to the "premium" concept of the series. This article is a summary of our interview with the developers on the "premium" design of the camera. (Edited by: Camera Biyori, Photos by: Toru Matsushima)
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High image quality in a pocket size
― I can see that the "PowerShot G7 X" is packed with the qualities of the "PowerShot" series, such as the rear tilt-up touch screen and also specs that are comparable to an SLR camera despite it being a compact digital model.
Yamada Yes, we are proud to present the "PowerShot G7 X" model, a pocket size camera that boasts high image quality. Built in with a large one-inch sensor, it can be employed as a sub camera, and is also the perfect choice for entry-level users who wish to take their photography skills to the next level. When developing this model, we got to the core of the "premium" concept of the "G" and "S" series, and paid careful attention up to the details of the design.
― I purchased the "PowerShot G7" when it was released about eight years ago. It was the pioneer of "high-end compact digital cameras", and operation was also very intuitive. Was the name "G7 X" taken from "G7" model?
Yamada Actually there is no direct bearing between these two models. We simply chose the number "7" for the new "G" series.
The "PowerShot G7 X" (centre) offers a well-balanced mix of the characteristics found on the "PowerShot G1 X Mark II" (left), which comes with a 1.5-inch sensor, as well as the "PowerShot S120" (right), a compact-sized camera for casual use, both members of the "PowerShot" series.
Members of the development team, Kenji Takahashi (left) and Kazushige Ichino (right)
Kenichi Nishimura (left), member of the design team, and Tatsuya Yamada (right), member of the planning team
― Those who are into photography would want to choose a "cool camera", and the design of the "PowerShot" series has been highly rated. What are the key points in the design of the "PowerShot G7 X"?
Nishimura Unlike the trend of the existing "G" and "S" series, we focused on what could be done in order for our users to further appreciate the high quality of the camera. For example, we made an effort to further enhance the design of the details, which also include parts that have been well received in the past, and the design department has had a hard time because of this.
― What was the reason for including a stacked dial? Was it because it was well received on the "G" series?
Yamada Yes. We felt that it was indispensable as having an exposure dial makes the exposure compensation work so much easier.
Nishimura Yes. We felt that it was indispensable as having an exposure dial makes the exposure compensation work so much easier.
Control ring made from machine-cut aluminium. Much time and a high degree of precision are required to process the front part into a helical shape and for creating the fine twill-patterned groove on the side.
Using red as an accent colour adds to the premium feel of the camera. The camera with a red base is a trial product. The final design that has been adopted has a more subtle red line at the base of the release button and the dials.
Camera that looks attractive from all angles
― So the camera with a red base is a trial model. I thought it looked attractive too.
Nishimura Yes. There were indeed voices saying that this was an intriguing design, but we did not choose it in the end. There was much debate with the business and development teams as well as the sales companies of the respective countries on the use of red colour. It was a challenging task trying to find the right balance.
― And the final decision you arrived at was a more subtle peek of the colour, am I right?
Yamada Yes, indeed. We called it a "subtle peek of red". It would not match the premium concept of the camera if the red colour was too loud.
Nishimura We have paid thorough attention to the overall appearance as well as the details to make sure that the "PowerShot G7 X" looks attractive from all angles. Even the surface of the small screws is engraved with a helical groove.
Based on the layout of older lenses, a wider character width is adopted for the specs indication at the front of the lens. This is one of the many efforts dedicated to bring out the premium feel in every single detail.
Instead of white, green and blue, which are the three colours used for the icons on all Canon cameras, only white is adopted on the PowerShot G7 X, with a finer font used to add a more sophisticated touch.
The thumb grip determines the ease of holding the camera. Repeated tests have been conducted with a variety of prototypes created using different shapes and materials. One of them has red added as an accent colour to the thumb grip.
In this photo are the different draft designs of the hand strap. Ideas on the accessories were also obtained from the design department for a thoroughly unified concept.
― You have certainly gone to some lengths to arrive at a unified design concept.
Nishimura We included a helical groove finish for all the buttons and the wheel on the rear face. We hope that our users can enjoy looking at the camera even when they are not using it.
Yamada We received a lot of suggestions on the premium concept design from Nishimura, but there were no objections at all. All of us in the team were aware that the "PowerShot G7 X" was a crucial product, which was why we were able to reach a consensus and put them into action quickly.
― It must have been a challenging task trying to engrave text on the helical groove.
Nishimura Yes, I was hated for raising this idea, but this is what "premium" is all about! Also, it is Canon's rule to employ the three colours, white, green and blue for the text on the camera body, and I had a hard time persuading everyone at the meeting into using only white colour for the "G" series for a more unified and easily-identifiable design.
― Unifying the colour certainly helps to add a sophisticated touch to the design.
Camera Biyori is a Japanese photography magazine introducing charming photos and daily joy with cameras. Suggesting fun activities relating to cameras and photography, Camera Biyori editorial department also offer the "Camera Biyori Photography School" to recommend its readers to engage in photography and have fun.
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