[Interview] Why Did Fujifilm Enable Touch Panel to Release Shutter? (1)

Jul 18, 2009
Tomohiro Ootsuki, Nikkei Electronics
[Click to enlarge image]
[Click to enlarge image]
Masahiro Terada, who was engaged in the product planning of the Z300
Masahiro Terada, who was engaged in the product planning of the Z300
[Click to enlarge image]

The "FinePix Z300," a digital camera released by Fujifilm Corp in June 2009, features a very ambitious function. When the user touches its touch panel showing a preview image, the camera focuses on the touched point and releases the shutter.

There are some camera-equipped cell phones that have a similar function. But it is very epoch-making for a camera maker to employ this function because many camera makers believe, "The shutter button is sacred, and making a change to it would confuse users."

I interviewed Masahiro Terada, who was engaged in the product planning of the Z300 and is an assistant general manager of the Merchandise Division, the Electronic Imaging Department of Fujifilm, about the aim of the development.

Why did you make it possible to release the shutter with the touch panel?

We considered that women, expected users of the Z300, need such a function. They take pictures of food, pets, accessories and other familiar items in addition to persons, of which men take pictures too. Because pictures of those items are taken from a short distance, users have to learn a skill to pay attention to both the focused focal point and the picture composition.

However, in reality, some users feel it difficult even to half-press the shutter button and adjust the focus, or do not know that function enough. We do not have statistical data to prove it. But we interviewed our users and found that many of them do not embrace the half-press function.

I was wondering how users could enjoy taking pictures more deeply without receiving an explanation of the half-press function or practicing using it. And, when I had a meeting with people from the design division to start developing the Z300, one of us said, "We must come up with a distinguishing feature because there already are some digital cameras equipped with a touch panel in the market. Maybe we could remove the shutter."

I do not remember whether one of them or I said that. Anyway, people from the design division said, "We can do that (because we have already got used to touch panels). It's alright." And I agreed with them, thinking it would save users' efforts of receiving explanations and practicing.

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