case-study

DSLR Concept

Professional Camera Concept
For my final design project while pursuing a degree in Industrial Design, I explored the needs of the modern photographer to improve the experience of using of their tool, specifically looking at Nikon and the evolution of their professional series.

The Problem

Design Language

As cameras got HEAVIER, there emerged a need for grips. No longer could a camera simply be held; it needed an ergonomic handle to secure control of the camera. As lenses got larger, longer and heavier, the center of BALANCE shifted outward. Cameras were easier to rest in the left hand than grasp with the right. The ergonomic design did not follow the shift. Users new to photography often hold the camera incorrectly because there is no obviously indication where to place the left hand.

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A Nikon FG from 1982 compared with a Nikon D2H from 2003
Size

The Nikon Pro SLR camera line gradually increased in size over 40 years. This is due to technological advances, which is ironic because other electronics severely decreased in size. With INCREASED SIZE came increased weight.

Subject’s anxiety

Pro SLRs are so large that they can make the subject feel UNCOMFORTABLE. The camera obscures the photographer’s face and can make the experience getting a photo taken IMPERSONABLE. The original Nikon F was designed to convey a sense of relaxation and comfort to the person being photographed, but it seems that idea was lost over the years.

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I deconstructed a camera to explore all its parts and to harvest some for a model.

Hearing from users

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Just the action of bringing hands to your face is synonymous with the camera.

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Carrying multiple cameras weighs you down. Everything could add up to be an extra 30, 40 or 50 pounds so having lightweight cameras would de nitely be a plus.” “I have a strained tendon in my right wrist that I have to tape sometimes because of holding the weight of the camera.

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Everyone wants to feel an attachment with their camera since it expresses their emotion.

Concept Generation

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Traditionally, cameras have been comprised of rectangles, circles, and triangles. I played with these shapes, exploring what ideas could come from them.
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Benefits To Users

PRIMARY
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The central concept of the D5R is the rotation of the mirror, prism and sensor housing, eliminating the act for the photographer rotating his or her hand or the camera body to shoot vertically.This reduces the camera’s size and weight since there is no need for a vertical grip underneath the camera.

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size comparison
SECONDARY
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face obstruction comparison

With a smaller camera, more of the photographer’s face is revealed. This can relax the subject of the photo, whether in a portrait or candid situation for better photos and sessions.

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TERTIARY
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Certain environments do not allow the photographer to control his or her location.This could be in a photo pit at a concert or on the baseline at a basketball game. Close quarters with other photographers can restrict posture. One position for vertical and horizontal shooting eases these constraints and allows more room for all photographers to work.

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Final Model

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Hands-on Reception

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“I think especially in tight quarters and not having it as we call it chicken winging it, and you keep your arms closer to your body: one it’s less stress on the photographer, but it also allows for more freedom of movement which I think in terms just makes your day easier considering you’re out for hours at a time in cramped spaces. The less you have to have your arms extended or the less moving around you have to do the easier and better it is, and you’ll have better quality photos in the long run.”

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“It’s so tight on the sidelines there when you’re shooting, especially in the bigger games... ...anything you can use to minimize the movement down there on the sidelines is definitely going to be a good thing for everybody, not just the still photogs, but also videographers too”

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