In interview with the magazine imaging+foto-contact, the CASIO research and development managers Jin Nakayama and Tatsuo Shimazaki talk about the current state of technology, the future of digital photography and their vision of the perfect camera.
  What other advantages can you talk to us about?
  Jin Nakayama
  For one thing, the shorter signal paths in the built-in elements dramatically reduce hissing sounds. And these compressed components work much more efficiently. This allowed us to considerably reduce the energy consumption of the Exilim engine compared with conventional picture processors. The logical thing would now appear to be to equip it with a smaller battery but we had a better idea: we used the extra space we had gained for a larger battery with more capacity. This is the reason behind the extraordinarily long operating time of the Exilim cameras.
Tatsuo Shimazaki: "However, we were to first to hit upon the idea of using the transparent Lumicera to manufacture optical lenses."
It is a well-known fact that it is not just electronics but also the optics that play a major role in digital cameras. What areas of expertise does Casio have at its disposal here?
Tatsuo Shimazaki
It is certainly the case that, in addition to reducing the size of electronic components, reducing the size of the lens is the biggest challenge in creating a particularly compact camera. Because the physical laws of refraction cannot be manipulated. From the very start, we faced up to these problems and created a separate optic development in our Hamura R & D Centre. We are also working with other manufacturers in this area. As you know, the 3x zoom lens in the Exilim EX-Z3 was developed in collaboration with Pentax using the technologies of both companies. More recently, we have succeeded in further improving our cameras by
  developing the ceramic lens. This will be used for the first time in the EXILIM Card EX-S100.
  What advantages does the ceramic lens have? How did Casio come up with the idea of using this material?
Tatsuo Shimazaki
  The material - the transparent ceramic lumicera - was not developed by Casio. It is a freely available material, which we purchase from Murata Manufacturing Co. Ltd. However, we were the first to hit upon the idea of using this material to manufacture optical lenses because its properties fascinated us. Lumicera has a particularly high refraction coefficient of MD = 2.08. By contract, optical glass only has a coefficient of MD = 1.5-1.85. This ceramic also offers exceptionally high solidity. The material was refined before being used in lenses and this allowed small air locks - which would have a lasting negative effect on transparency - to be removed. We also developed a process in which polishing material, time and pressure were all co-ordinated perfectly with each other, and we apply a special coating to the surface of the lens. This coating is compatible with the high refraction coefficients. This is our guarantee of completely new opportunities in manufacturing cameras.
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