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Tatsuya Yamada

“Opening up new areas of shooting...”

August 2015

The launch of the PowerShot G3 X saw further technical advances made in compact camera lens technology and engineering. Thanks to a superb 25x zoom – offering the 35mm equivalent of 24-600mm – an unrivalled focal length was offered in a premium compact boasting meticulous levels of engineering and design. In an in-depth interview, CPN discovers the technical challenges faced by the highly-experienced PowerShot development team – Tatsuya Yamada (product planner), Hiroshi Saruwatari (lens R&D manager), Shuichi Terada (product operations manager), Kenji Takahashi (image processor development manager), Hiroshi Kaibara (sensor development senior engineer), Koji Sudo (UI development engineer), Yasushi Matsumoto (body designer) and Yoshihiro Miyazawa (lens designer) – as they took an impressive concept and turned it into reality...

CPN: What was the planning concept behind the G3 X?

The design and technical challenges posed by the build of the PowerShot G3 X were solved by teamwork and engineering ingenuity.

Tatsuya Yamada: It was to pursue a new premium compact that integrated a large format sensor with a high-powered lens. In equipping a 1.0-type sensor with a 24-600mm, 25x zoom, this performance was achieved. This is the result of the know-how accumulated by Canon from continuously making cameras and lenses and investing in the experience of the development team.

Of course, the focal length of 600mm on the G3 X catches your eye, but it is not the only feature. The maximum wide angle of 24mm can capture vast landscapes too while the telephoto allows for images with a compression effect at maximum zoom. As well as this, you can enjoy shooting with a soft out-of-focus background effect which takes full advantage of the 1.0-type sensor.

CPN: What aspects of the G3 X were you particularly aware of having to focus on?

Tatsuya Yamada: As it was envisioned that this would function as a second camera for advanced amateurs and pros that normally use the EOS series for telephoto shooting, particular emphasis was placed on specifications so it could be used without feeling any different from an EOS DSLR. Specifically, through feedback gained from pro photographers, the G3 X takes advantage of lots of feedback related to detailed shooting demands, starting with the controls and User Interface (UI) which make it suitable for telephoto shooting. When set to continuous shooting, for example, rather than the UI rules on existing compact cameras, EOS ideas were implemented instead.

Furthermore, as it is a high-power model I believe that more poeple will use it to shoot in forests and on mountains, so by ensuring that the dust-proof and drip-proof functionality was equivalent to mid-range EOS models, outdoor performance would be improved. And as it also supports an external viewfinder like the PowerShot G1 X Mark II, it is possible to compose with the viewfinder [as in a DSLR] and thus suppress camera shake.

CPN: In what direction will the G-series go in future?

Tatsuya Yamada: We are putting even more emphasis on deepening the shooting range of the G-series. Deepening the range of shooting possibilities does not mean simply implementing a large sensor and high-powered lens. Rather, it means we are ensuring consistent quality of all aspects; from image quality, operability, and UI to design. The G-series will offer new values in the user's daily lives. In particular, with compact cameras that can always be carried with you due to their size, by exceeding the boundaries as a tool for shooting photos I think it is necessary to come up with something that is fun to own and will stimulate a sense of attachment as an object. By doing so, it will more than likely achieve a deeper presence in everyone's lifestyle.

The story behind the G3 X – by the men who made it