Product design 101: Nikon video shows how your camera was made


posted Monday, July 8, 2013 at 3:23 PM EDT

Ever wondered just what went into creating the physical and user interface design for your camera, and how many iterations it went through before the final product emerged? If so, you may find a new video from Nikon to be rather enlightening. In the six-minute clip, Hiroshi Kobayashi, general manager of Nikon's Industrial Design Department, and a number of his staff give a tour of the process, and outline some of their key goals along the road to creating the latest Nikon camera.

The Nikon Industrial Design Department is responsible for shaping a wide variety of optical products including cameras, binoculars, microscopes, and surveying instruments, but it's the cameras that are the bread and butter of its work. Separate teams handle the physical body design, and that of its graphical user interface and supporting software. Interestingly, the latter team is also responsible for product packaging and branding.

An introduction to Nikon's product design process. (Japanese with English subtitles)

On the physical side, the process starts much as it likely has for decades, first with brainstorming sessions and then putting pen to paper to sketch out new concepts. From there, though, it takes a decidedly modern twist, with sophisticated 3D modeling and 3D printing employed to create detailed mockups of the design. User interface creation is equally sophisticated, with simulations of the final design going beyond simply showing the look and position of UI elements, and even recreating the transitions as individual features slide on screen.

Watch the video above for some insight into what's likely just a tiny fraction of the work that goes into making a modern digital camera!

(via Nikon Rumors)