In the design and technology world, the Japanese word ‘Kaizen’ (or continuous improvement) is often quoted. (The Kanji 改 kai means change, 善 zen means good).
‘Kaizen’ is often used in Western media to describe the constant stream of innovation by Japanese companies, particularly in areas such as computers, cars and cameras.
Since the days of film, Japanese brands have copied and improved on European and American designs, with brands like Nikon, Canon and Pentax coming to dominate global camera sales. One of the first digital camera’s was the Fuji DS -1P unveiled in 1988. Since the 1990’s and the introduction of the D1, Nikon’s groundbreaking digital camera, competing companies have brought huge numbers of products to the market, dramatically improving quality and lowering prices.
Real 3D Camera, Designed in Japan
Fujifilm have recently unveiled the Finepix REAL 3D WP, a twin lens consumer camera that can capture real three dimensional images. The gadget is best paired with the accompanying 3D LCD frame, that amazingly displays 3D images – without the need for nerdy glasses.
It may be a gimmick, or it could be the start of something huge. Early adopters may buy a future classic of product design, or a soon to be obsolete toy. The camera retails at ¥49,000 and the LCD frame at ¥49,800, but Weekender has seen special offers if you buy both together in camera stores in Tokyo.
The LCD display displays full 3D, although if you move your head slightly the effect is strange!
Attempts to capture it with a standard 2D camera fail to show the magical effect (see above images)
2010 will be noted as the year 3D technology reached the mass market. Experimental 3D TV’s and video games have already been tested and displayed and of course 3D movies will see a huge revival. James Cameron’s 3D epic Avatar has already become the highest grossing movie of all time ($2,039,222,000 USD at the time of writing this).
Sony Party Shot, your personal photographer
Sony too have come up with some innovative technology in the form of the ‘Party Shot’, a cool tripod that holds your camera and becomes your personal photographer for the evening. Combining facial recognition technology with a fully motorized base station, people at your party are literally followed around the room while the camera automatically snaps away.
Priced at ¥14,900 for the base station. (Click here for more info)
Photography in Tokyo
For those interested in learning more about photography, Tokyo has some great museums. If you want to see how the camera industry has developed, head to the JCII Tokyo Camera Museum, you can see prototypes and classic cameras from the past century.
For the print side of things check out the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, with a collection of 20,000 photographs in the archives it’s well worth the visit. (Though only selected images are displayed at any one time)
Looking for further inspiration? These blogs have some great images of Tokyo and Japan.