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Design Perfection

Relationships Between People and Tools through Long-Term Use

Unity with tools

Mr. Takashi Ishida, a product designer, is now in charge of the new GR design. He has always had an interest in sports, and while organizing a recently opened tennis tournament, he has led a team to victory. He owns a tennis racket which he has continued to use since his time as a university student. He says, “While the body changes over years, I strive to shape up so that I can use the same racket.” For Ishida, this racket is a very important tool because it allows him to maximize his power through long-term use and unity.
The GR is a “photography tool” that has been users' favorite for many years. When he was chosen to take charge, he says “As it is a product with a long history, it had a bracing effect on me.”

Meeting the functions stoically

The new GR has many changes from past models, including the sensor, lens, lever, and buttons. “While calling attention to GR evolvement, I wanted to create a design that can satisfy long-term users also” he says. For that reason, Ishida gave full attention to the functions of the camera. He went on to break up all shapes and their meaning in detail and to identify which parts of the long standing GR’s design should be maintained. As a result, he found the size of the lens and the overall balance and weight of the camera changed. Accordingly he has changed the grip configuration of the device although its appearance remains almost the same. Ishida clearly states, “I pursued the optimum configuration of grip, so that the camera can inherit GR's identity by providing a new shape of being “easy to hold.”

Usability due to detailed configurations

Ishida, who not only has an interest in cameras but also in watches, says “I often looked at magazines or catalogs. With my first salary I bought a mechanical watch.” He goes on to say, “Within small parts of a watch, there are precisely constructed mechanisms and forms. The combination of all of these small parts creates a special type of beauty.”
When looked at closely, the GR ring has fine knurling in order to ease removal. However, these grooves are not visible when viewed from the front normally. “While considering the operability, the front of the camera was given a clean impression, which in turn shaped the overall impression of the camera.”

Supporting the relationship between people and tools

Ishida states, “A compromise can be made between people and tools.” He continues, “One of the roles of a designer is to support this relationship, so that the person and the tool become good partners.” In order to realize the special feature of the GR, the “one handed” easy operation, the position of the rear buttons and the AF function change lever was examined, and the ADJ lever was protruded further in the pursuit of usability.
Within his design, there is a clear wish of “creating good relationships between people and tools through long-term use”. Who can guess what Ishida’s ideas will lead to in the future.