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Byron’s Blog: What Is Kando 1.0?

With the a9, Sony is certainly “Being in the moment, present with expressive technology”

At every Sony launch I’ve attended—Sony has been relentless in their release schedule—the president of their North American operations, Mike Fasulo, has mentioned Kando. Each time he does so with a little more emphasis.

Sony is now expressing their design aesthetic even louder with an event in Santa Barbara happening now where I’m expecting the attendees, including our editor David Schloss, to be wowed by the tech and what it enables them to do (like 20 fps with no blackout).

The a9 is the most realized version of Kando, to date, and marketing digital image technology as such diverges from the traditional emphasis on specifications and competitive breakthroughs. About Kando 1.0, Sony said, “The DI (Digital Imaging) team is doing something a little different.”

Different, indeed, and that’s enough to get my attention, and I suggest yours, too, as well as acknowledge Sony for focusing on the creative aspect of technology, the responses to it, and immersively engaging the user.

Loosely translated from Japanese, Kando means, “Being in the moment, present with expressive technology.” In other words, if you compose the shot, the camera will take care of the rest. As a blogger who got into journalism, and now with a foot in the photography world shooting with pro cameras, I’m deleting far fewer images off SD cards.

Unless it’s out of focus, over/underexposed or poorly composed, it’s really hard to take a bad shot with a modern camera. I mentioned Kando is my blog about finding a system you love, and the emotional involvement a photographer should have with their camera: “I can argue that I’ve subscribed to Sony’s Kando—their design aesthetic about technology not getting in the user’s way—and turn every feature on when I shoot with an Alpha series camera.”


Digging a littler deeper, I found a Sony Europe blog about Kando and a video from the 2014 CES Keynote by Kazuo “Kaz” Hirai, President and CEO of Sony Corporation, who said a camera like the a9 was coming three years ago: “There will soon be super-sensitive cameras that enable amateur photographers to catch rich images with mood, and of course with atmosphere. And the subtleties of great photographs will be more accessible to everyone, amateur photographers, enabling ease and simplicity to achieve tone and details that are often missed in conventional digital images.”

Kaz goes on to describe even more advancements across Sony’s product line and how wonderful it is that we can manipulate core elements even after the photograph has been captured. What’s important from his talk to now is how forward Sony is being with Kando.


Big thinking from Kaz and Japanese philosophy aside, now that Sony has delivered on the promise of mirrorless, the next deliverable (I hope) is the operating and menu systems of their cameras. If the OS also got out of a photographer’s way and “wow” happened when using the settings, Sony’s philosophy would be much more widely accepted.

I’m still amazed that I successfully shot at a wedding once, and there was some Kando happening then. Through a combination of custom settings, a focus mode dial and pushing two buttons, a photographer can continuously track a subject’s eyes. It’s called Eye-AF. The feature totally works, once you figure out the settings, and I got the shot of the bride and groom with it.

How To Follow Kando 1.0

Last night Neal Manowitz, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, for Sony, spoke at the opening dinner, and the assembled Sony Artisans and creatives have started posting to social networks.



Check on the hashtag #sonykandotrip posted to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Also, watch Sony Alpha Universe and Sony Mirrorless Pro for updates from the event. David Schloss will post his take soon enough for Digital Photo Mag and Digital Photo Pro, and so will Wes Pitts, editor of Outdoor Photographer.

Joining Kando 2.0

Sony designated the Santa Barbara event as 1.0, which means there’s a 2.0 to follow, and we’re going to hear much more about how Sony enables creativity and curiosity instead of just sensor tech. Guy Kawasaki said as much in his first post from the event: “Trying the new Sony a9 with a 10mm Voightlander Heliar-Hyper Wide 10mm. We just opened the box, put in an SD card, attached the lens and shot the picture. No editing was done.”

Photo by Will Mayall

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