Chapter Four: Exploring new ground in mechanical design.

6Focus ring – Responsive manual operation.

  • Positioned on the inner side of the focus ring, two light-sensitive sensors read the signals generated by an alternating pattern of reflective and non-reflective surfaces. Using the signal data, the direction and amount of focus ring movement is determined and transmitted to the lens to adjust the focus. (Photo-reflector focus detection).
  • Unlike a mechanical-type focus ring, this photo-reflector approach also enables control of the amount of focus adjustment according to the speed of the ring rotation using software. In other words, the user’s quick rotation of the ring results in a fast change in the focus position, and a slow ring rotation, a slow change in the focus. The result is a focus ring that smoothly reflects the intent of the photographer.
  • This system also has the advantage of enabling the user to freely set the preferred direction of rotation (clockwise/counter-clockwise) for focus control.

7APS-CMOS Sensor – Dealing with heat radiation.

  • Because APS-size sensors easily retain heat and have a consequent tendency to generate banding noise, it is necessary to efficiently dissipate the heat.
  • The X100 does not have a vibration compensation mechanism and is a camera that is relatively receptive to heat dissipation measures. It adopts a structure that promotes the escape of heat: the heat generated by the CMOS sensor is transmitted to the heat sink, then to the metal frame and finally to the large heat dissipation capacity of the exterior. The ideal path for heat radiation has been studied in simulations, and an optimal heat conduction pattern has been designed.

8Control deck top cover – Material to create a sense of solidity and strength.

  • Delivering superior strength and rigidity even when cast very thinly, die-cast magnesium has been used for the top control deck of the camera. After creating a finely detailed piece just 1.2 millimetres thick using a thixocasting process, openings and holes for the fitting of parts are machined, and the piece is finally cosmetically finished.
  • When deciding on the finish for this metal, numerous processes (colour matching samples) were studied with the aim of giving the part a sense of authority and strength, and a finish with the colour and sheen that expressed the desired premium quality. Together with the designers, the engineers travelled to the factory to ensure that the desired image would be faithfully reproduced, and following numerous attempts and uncompromising persistence, the envisaged sense of quality has been reflected in each finished product.

9The moment of truth: Hand assembly of the camera.

  • After all the design work was finished and all the parts were created, we entered the production process phase. Production requires the coordinated efforts of many people and machines working with confident precision and speed. In order to achieve this, the mechanical design team must first determine the step-by-step assembly by examining the process firsthand by hand, and identifying the various issues and responding with appropriate solutions.
  • This is the moment that confirms the precision and correctness of countless design decisions and also carries the vital responsibility of identifying and solving many unforeseen issues. Finally, after all problems have been overcome and product quality is totally assured, the mechanical designers hand the baton to the production team.

10Making a statement through exterior design.

  • For the design of the X100, we looked to the world’s top manufacturers of superior timepieces for inspiration in formulating an image for the quality aspects that cannot be translated into concrete specifications. That premium quality and the realization of a product that embodies the spirit of skilled craftsmen is what fosters the development of a brand and makes history. Exploiting the opportunity of this groundbreaking camera, we aim to reach even higher levels of class and quality and redefine the FUJIFILM brand.
  • In order to assure the premium quality level of the X100, we have manufactured almost all key parts in Japan. When consumers take the X100 in their hands, we want them to experience the tactile pleasure of holding quality that is the product of not only FUJIFILM but also of top-class domestic component makers.

Maki Wakita Chief Engineer, Electronic Image Product Development Centre, R&D Division.

  • One of the aspects of premium quality achieved by mechanical design is “strength”. It is a characteristic that comes from the pursuit of quality in places not visible to the user and in the internal structural design as well as in the selection of materials and the methods used to mount and secure parts.
  • In the X100, the many high-quality parts are optimally arranged, and a high level of “strength” – a quality that tends to sacrifice compactness – is achieved without compromising the size goals. The first time you hold it, I am confident that you too will sense this strength. I invite everyone to experience the wonderful sensation of solid power and quality when you grasp the X100 for the first time!

Takeshi Hasegawa Electronic Image Product Development Centre, R&D Division.