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Friday, June 1, 2007

Behind The Design

A look at the art and science of creating the digital cameras we use today, from tiny pocket models to pro D-SLR systems

Olympus Evolt E-510
Olympus Evolt E-510

Here’s an original sketch of the new Olympus Evolt E-510 by industrial designer Jun Takahashi of the Olympus Imaging Corporate Design Center in Tokyo. The next step is hand-carved clay models, then wood block models to show the overall shape of the camera and, ultimately, the surface details, such as texture and layout of the controls.

Canon PowerShot TX1Canon PowerShot TX1
The new Canon PowerShot TX1 is the latest in a line of cigarette-pack-sized consumer cameras that began with the company’s tiny Elph film camera more than a decade ago. The TX1 contains a 10x optical zoom lens (39-390mm 35mm-camera equivalent), macro focusing to the front lens element in Super Macro mode, the ability to shoot high-definition 1080 x 720-pixel movies at 30 fps, with stereo sound and MovieSnap mode to capture high-quality 7.1-megapixel still images while recording movies, and a twist-out Vari-Angle Wide-View LCD monitor. Dimensions are 3.5x2.4x1.1 inches and weight is 7.8 ounces.

D-SLR with offset TTL viewfinder/live-view LCD monitor

Olympus EVOLT E-330 with tilted monitor
Olympus EVOLT E-330 back
Leica Digilux 3 back
Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 back

Three design approaches to the "D-SLR with offset TTL viewfinder/live-view LCD monitor" concept: the Olympus Evolt E-330 (left), Leica Digilux 3 (center), Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 (right). The EVOLT E-330 features a tilt-out LCD monitor, while the Digilux 3 retains a Leica look and feel, and the DMC-L1 has a "clean" appearance.

Nikon Coolpix S10Nikon Coolpix S10
The Coolpix S10 is Nikon’s current "twist" on the rotating-monitor concept. Besides easy odd-angle shooting with the 2.5-inch LCD, the S10 offers 6 megapixels, a 10x optical zoom (equivalent to 38-380mm on a 35mm camera), sensor-shift Vibration Reduction and more in a 4.4x2.9x1.6-inch, 7.8-ounce package.




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