Design of Nikon (video)

Nikon published this new video that gives gives an inside look of the design process of various Nikon products (unfortunately I cannot embed the video on the blog, so you have to watch it on this link).

The design team goes after the product roadmap created by the marketing team:

3D printers are used during the design process to create mockups of the new camera models:


Check also those two old videos on the history and design of the Nikon F-mount.

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  • FDF

    Must be summer time.

  • IslandNature

    Is that a sketch of the D400!?!? Just kidding 🙂

    • BroncoBro

      We can always hope! 🙂

  • Oil and dust

    I want see WHO designed the interior of D600!

  • neversink

    Honestly – Who really cares!!!!!!

  • fjfjjj

    Nikon DSLR designs are all tweaks of Giugiaro’s great F5 design, but the story basically ends there, in 1996. What has Nikon done since, but to maintain the legendary F5-based handling? The Nikon 1 has the most confused design identity of any camera ever. The new “grip ridge” of the Nikon compacts is visually weak and of only fair utility. I am unimpressed. If Nikon wants to be considered for its design, it should remember the F4, the Nikonos, and the Ti35, and take some hints from Fujifilm and the Hasselblad “H” middle-format cameras. Or, better yet, stick with Giugiaro’s genius F5 form and zip the lip.

    • Aldo

      when you run out of ideas… you can always roll back to older designs (this is what car manufacturers do a lot) and you may have a hit. imagine a digital slr that looks like the fm2. I think people would like it. As far as the 1 system goes, I think most people complain about the performance more than anything.

      • fjfjjj

        +1 for the FM2

      • It bugs me they go back to drawings for a camera that looks exactly like last year’s model with two buttons swapped around. This is insane. Design a body, stick with the design unless adding real features or fixing real bugs, change only when necessary.

        • Aldo

          right… I think most agree that d700 feels better in the hand than d800.. just as an example of what you said.

          • Exactly! And give me back my two dedicated AF mode switches!

      • groucher

        Nikon would be completely overwhelmed by orders if they produced a FF FM sized and styled dSLR or S type rangefinder. They should also get rid of the useless gimmickry such as face recognition, scene selections and stupid great useless rear displays with associated plethora of controls that afflict their current cameras.
        I’m staggered that you criticise the 1 system’s performance though. Up to 60 fps RAW+jpg and great image quality within the 10mp limit in a compact and lightweight body seems pretty good to me. People that use the 1 system don’t usually complain.

        • Aldo

          I don’t criticise the 1 system from my own point of view. I don’t own the system, never played with it or anything. That is what I just hear/read. I’m sure it is a fine system as you say. FF FM sized wow that would be just awesome!

    • ArtK

      I agree, except that for me THE perfect design was in the F6. Angles with curves baby, not just octopus-like (slick?) curves of the current DSLR line-up.

  • Guest

    so it’s pronounced “Nik-kon”

    • Aldo

      it’s pronounced any way you want as long as it’s not something that sounds like Kah-non

    • PhotoAl

      Close enough. The Japanese pronunciation doesn’t actually have a pause between the syllables so Ni-kon would be best way to represent it with the latin alphabet. ニコン = ニNi, コKo, ンN.

    • zoetmb

      But not in the U.S. If you listen to Nikon TV ads, the pronunciation is clearly with a long “i”. While this might be a mistake (much as the original english-language transliteration of Mandarin was reworked a few decades ago), it’s so established that Nikon marketing is unlikely to attempt to change it.

  • Leon

    I have to say, like fjfjjj I am fairly unimpressed with Nikons designs. I own a D800 and I do love it, but the design is nothing to rave about. Watching this video I must say I kinda get why. They try to evaluate every little change they make and they seem to get lost in details, getting the whole experience out of focus. Over-analyzing instead of clear thinking. They need a head designer with a clear vision and a strong voice, a real leader. Looking at the DSLR line, they don’t challenge the status quo, instead they go for minor changes, trying to slowly improve details of something that could use an overall refresh. It’s all about identity, esthetics and usability, all three of these could use an update. Why has nobody figured out a way to implement a clearly arranged menu? Right, don’t alienate the established user base, BUT if you bring something that is actually intuitive, they won’t be alienated for too long, and the product will in fact be better. And how come many of the small Nikons are put on the market with major usability flaws as for example (in) the video mode (impossible to change aperture, etc)? Then, looking at the Nikon 1, what’s even the idea behind that? The main commonality between them is the outdatedness of the design.

  • Mike

    These behind the scene Nikon videos (lens making et al) really don’t say a lot. They talk a lot, show a lot, but not really saying much. They only say what you’d expect any PR machine to say.

  • zoetmb

    I’m not a Nikon hater (I’ve used Nikon forever), but what a bunch of b.s. They say all the right things about user-interface, then create absurd menu systems. They say all the right things about physical camera design, but there really haven’t been major DSLR design changes in decades (which can be either a good thing or a bad thing). They talk about making the camera design appeal to a wider range of users, but when you try to appeal to everybody, you appeal to nobody. They talk about good graphic design for screens, but Nikon’s menu icons are either indecipherable or ugly.

    They try to make you believe that all designs are produced in-house, but we all know that Nikon’s best body designs were done by Giugiaro.

    I don’t hate the Nikon 1 line as much as many others do (although I don’t own one), but in picking one up at a trade show, it does not have a UI and control system that’s completely intuitive and a mass-market camera like that should. And they seem to produce everything by committee (typical in Japan) but then there’s the old line “a camel is a horse designed by a committee.”

    Having said that, their Coolpix line, which I think are very poorly designed, sell extremely well, although that side of the business is starting to die, due to better smartphone cameras. (Nikon sold over 17 million in fiscal 2013, but is estimating only 14 million for fiscal 2014).

    While I still think Nikon makes very high quality lenses and DSLRs and in spite of the flaws, I think their interfaces are better than Canon, IMO, Nikon is a company that has no guts. IMO, they need to shake things up a bit.

    • leonrenstfeld

      I agree, very similar opinion to what I posted earlier (Leon).

    • borneoaddict

      ‘They try to make you believe that all designs are produced in-house,
      we all know that Nikon’s best body designs were done by Giugiaro’ This
      is to say as if the whole F range of in-house designs (e.g. F-mount,
      modularity) since 1959 don’t count. Giugiaro added form factor &
      better ergonomics to what was already a good in-house design. ‘Nikon has
      no guts’ – I agree. Nikon, like any other camera maker today, suffers
      from trying to conform to markets, e.g. incremental design changes
      responding to differentiated market segments instead of differentiated
      needs photographers. That’s really what I think stops Nikon from breaking new ground.

  • That Nikon 1 System video camcorder looks like an interesting concept. There also appears to be a V2 mock-up in the mix, though perhaps a V3 comes out of that design. Small DSLR with better pro-body viewfinder could be another camera of the future. Some user interface shots suggest more social media sharing changes that may happen in the future.

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