Thursday, October 16, 2008

Pentax K-m/K2000 Designer's Notes: Tetsuo Hosokawa, Pentax Mechanical Designer

Here is the second of the "designer's notes" from Pentax's team that built the K-m/K2000 DSLR.

Pentax K-m/K2000 mechanical designer: Mr. Tetsuo Hosokawa

The Concept for Mechanical Design

The key concept for our mechanical team was “smaller size.” We put effort into such areas that we didn't change in other recent models. For example, we eliminated the area around mirror box in order to make the front protruding area (PENTAX logo area) smaller. We also adopted a new mechanical design for the light emitting part of the built-in flash to make it a smaller size.

Another method was to use four AA batteries and make the grip smaller. We put the rear two AA batteries in parallel as usual, but we also put the rear end battery in a shifted position to avoid other parts and save space. And we kept finding areas to trim, including the battery lid. Finally, we successfully minimized the size as a whole and kept the body well-balanced.

At the same time, we also considered the “operability.” We spent a lot of time examining the position and the construction of the operational buttons and parts based on the ID designer’s (Mr. Haga’s) requests.

The new built-in flash size

The smaller chassis

The Difficult Part

One of the most difficult parts was to make a decision on the SD card's loading and the Mode dial. As mechanical engineers, we wanted to make more resistance, so that it feels more “formal.” But the product planning leader wanted it lighter for women to operate more easily, and so we had many discussions with him about how light it should be. We also examined the height of the Mode dial, whether it should be 1mm higher or not. He confirmed with women internally many times. He said most of the women wanted to operate the dial by their right thumb because they are afraid of taking their right hand away from the camera, and/or their nails are long to operate efficiently. Taking his questionnaire into consideration, we finally arrived at “soft operational buttons and parts” in the end.

I have to add that it also took time to check the resistance, not to be too light. We spent time testing until the very last minute.

The K-m's unique size, with attached DA L 18-55mm lens

Women’s Opinions

As a mechanical engineer, in all honesty, I didn’t think about the demographic so much. But we referred to the product planning leader’s opinion many times. We didn’t decide by ourselves, but decided with him. There were sometimes when we could not reach a conclusion quickly, but we all discussed and confirmed what is most important for the target demographic, and made a final decision with him in the end.

One of the interesting things to me is whether operation can be handled by just a little finger. I think this is a new idea and will be a good standard. We also asked the women in our department to operate it and give us their input.

My Collection

Tetsuo Hosokawa's Pentax cameras

What I like to collect are cameras; not for shooting, though. I like the camera mechanically and wanted to do a related job, so I joined PENTAX. I took part in making all these cameras (in the photo above) and bought them by myself. I am looking forward to buy K-m (K2000) soon!

Tomorrow: The K-m (K2000) Hardware engineer Kiyoshi Yamamoto and Product Planning Leader Shigeru Wakashiro

Pentax K-m/K2000 designer: Mr. Masaaki Haga

Photos courtesy of Pentax. Thanks to Michelle Martin for her assistance!


Sune said...

Can't wait to get a hold of a K-m !

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