In interview with the magazine imaging+foto-contact, the CASIO research and development managers Jin Nakayama and Tatsuo Shimazaki talk about the current state of technology, the future of digital photography and their vision of the perfect camera.
Consistently digital
With four new models presented at photokina, Casio is expanding its very popular Exilim-series. The reason behind the success of the small designer cameras is primarily the successful combination of a compact size with picture quality. To achieve this, demanding technologies are used. imaging+foto-contact learned more about this at photokina from Jin Nakayama, General Manager of QV Digitalcamera Unit Product Development, and Tatsuo Shimazaki, General Manager of lens development, Hamura R & D Centre der Casio Computer Co. Ltd.
As camera manufacturers go, Casio is a very young company. How did you manage to gain the necessary expertise in photo technology so quickly?
Jin Nakayama
Please allow me first to briefly correct you in your description of Casio. It is true that we are not a conventional camera manufacturer if you are thinking of analogue technologies. But as a manufacturer of digital cameras, we actually go back a long way. We invented our first digital camera - with a floppy disc as the data medium - as far back as 1990. In 1995, we launched the QV-10 on the market. This was the first digital camera which was really suitable for amateurs and which first created this category. It was precisely the core areas of expertise at Casio that made this possible.
What core areas of expertise do you mean?
Jin Nakayama
Casio has always followed the business model of digitalising analogue products and creating new markets in this way. For example, we developed the pocket calculator based on the mechanical counting machine, we created the digital clock based on the mechanical one and we developed our successful keyboards based on traditional musical instruments. This is what our core area of expertise really is: using digital microtechnology to simplify and improve complicated products. And we have succeeded in doing exactly this with cameras for around ten years as well.
You used the keyword "micro" technology. This immediately calls to mind the extremely compact size of the Exilim cameras. How was this miniaturisation made possible?
Jin Nakayama: "I wish for a camera with which even a complete beginner cannot fail to take perfect photos."
Jin Nakayama
The most important thing for us is our high density mounting technology, i.e. our ability to combine electronic components with different functions into a single unit. It is precisely this that made the very first Exilim possible - we combined the lens, sensor chip and image processor into one single component, the Exilim engine. As our new models show, we have further developed this technology - one just has to look at the particularly large LC display in the new cameras. One needs space to achieve this as a display like this does not just consist of the visible part - it also needs connections, control elements etc. We have therefore integrated the LCD with the optical viewfinder, the sensor and the lens and saved no end of space in the process. But less space requirements are not the only advantage in our high density mounting technology.
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