FUJI FILM CAMERAS: A powerful camera company with a huge following. Back when Fuji Film made film (and they still do), they made cameras then, and in the marketing world, was some of the best cameras made. As the digital cameras came into place, FujiFilm became one of the major players in the Digital SLR world.
Before we get into the logistics of where they are now, let’s look at their long history:
Fujifilm Holdings Corporation (富士フイルム株式会社, Fujifuirumu Kabushiki-kaisha), trading as Fujifilm, or simply Fuji, is a Japanese multinational conglomerate headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, operating in the realms of photography, optics, office and medical electronics, biotechnology, and chemicals.
The offerings from the company that started as a manufacturer of photographic films, which it still produces, include: document solutions, medical imaging and diagnostics equipment, cosmetics, pharmaceutical drugs, regenerative medicine, stem cells, biologics manufacturing, magnetic tape data storage, optical films for flat-panel displays, optical devices, photocopiers and printers, digital cameras, color films, color paper, photofinishing and graphic arts equipment and materials.
Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd. was established in 1934 as a subsidiary of Daicel with the aim of producing photographic films. Over the following 10 years, the company produced photographic films, motion-picture films and X-ray films. In the 1940s, Fuji Photo entered the optical glasses, lenses and equipment markets. After the Second World War, Fuji Photo diversified, penetrating the medical (X-ray diagnosis), printing, electronic imaging and magnetic materials fields. In 1962, Fuji Photo and UK-based Rank Xerox Limited (now Xerox Limited) launched Fuji Xerox Co., Ltd. through a joint venture.
From the mid-1950s, Fuji Photo accelerated the establishment of overseas sales bases. In the 1980s, Fuji Photo expanded its production and other bases overseas, stepping up the pace of its business globalization. Meanwhile, Fuji Photo developed digital technologies for its photo-related, medical and printing businesses. As a result, it invented computed radiography (CR), which solved a number of issues of traditional radiography, resulting a decrease of radiation exposure to both technician and patient. Fujifilm’s systems were marketed and sold under the FCR brand.
Like its rival Eastman Kodak which dominated in the US, Fuji Photo enjoyed a longtime near-monopoly on camera film in Japan. By becoming one of the title sponsors of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics (an opportunity that Kodak passed on), offering cheaper camera film, and establishing a film factory in the US, Fuji gained considerable market share there, while Kodak had little success in penetrating Japan. In May 1995, Kodak filed a petition with the US Commerce Department under section 301 of the Commerce Act arguing that its poor performance in the Japanese market was a direct result of unfair practices adopted by Fuji. The complaint was lodged by the US with the World Trade Organization. On January 30, 1998, the WTO announced a “sweeping rejection of Kodak’s complaints” about the film market in Japan.
The new millennium witnessed the rapid spread of digital technology, and demand for photographic films plunged in line with the growing popularity of digital cameras. In response, Fuji Photo implemented management reforms aimed at drastic transformation of its business structures. Even as early as the 1980s, the company had foreseen the switch from film to digital, so “it developed a three-pronged strategy: to squeeze as much money out of the film business as possible, to prepare for the switch to digital and to develop new business lines.” While both film manufacturers recognized this fundamental change, Fuji Photo adapted to this shift much more successfully than Eastman Kodak (which filed for bankruptcy in January 2012). Fuji Photo’s diversification efforts also succeeded while Kodak’s had failed; furthermore Kodak built up a large but barely profitable digital camera business that was undone quickly by smartphone cameras.
In March 2006, Noritsu and Fuji announced a strategic alliance for Noritsu to manufactures all of Fuji’s photofinishing hardware, such as minilabs. Each company produces its own software for the minilabs.
On September 19, 2006, Fujifilm announced plans to establish a holding company, Fujifilm Holdings Corp. Fujifilm and Fuji Xerox would become subsidiaries of the holding company. A representative of the company reconfirmed its commitment to film, which accounts for 3% of sales.
On January 31, 2018, Fujifilm announced that it would acquire a 50.1% controlling stake in Xerox for US$6.1 billion, which will be amalgamated into its existing Fuji Xerox business. The deal was subsequently dropped after intervention by activist investors Carl Icahn and Darwin Deason. In late 2019, Fujifilm announced its acquisition of Xerox’s 25% stake in the 57-year-old joint venture, Fuji Xerox.
Amid the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, one of Fujifilm Toyama Chemical drugs, i.e. favipiravir, an antiviral commercially named Avigan, is being considered as a possible cure to the virus, after having been approved by China, Russia, and Indonesia authorities by June 2020.
In June 2020, Fujifilm announced a US$928 million investment to a Denmark-based biologics production facility, which it acquired from Biogen a year earlier for around US$890 million, to double the manufacturing capacity. A tape cartridge using strontium ferrite that could store up to 400TB was showcased by Fujifilm in the late same month.
Does anyone take Fuji Film seriously in the United States? Probably not as much as they should. World-wide, Fuji Film is a powerhouse. Typing in the Google search to find out the top 8 Best selling cameras in the world, we come up with this list:
The best cameras in 2021
- Nikon D3500. A brilliant blend of simplicity, value and quality for beginners. …
- Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV. The E-M10 Mark IV is portable but powerful, and beautiful to use. …
- Fujifilm X-T200. …
- Fujifilm X-S10. …
- Nikon Z5. …
- Canon EOS 90D. …
- Panasonic Lumix G100. …
- Sony ZV-1.
Notice that FujiFilm takes up two spots in the top 8. When FujiFilm was looking at the future, back in the old film days, they could see the writing on the wall. And even though they have been making good quality cameras for a long time, they decided to put their heart and soul into the DSLR, and marketed some professional, and “advanced amateur” DSLR cameras. And they rival any of the professional cameras put out by Canon or Nikon, or Olympus. And they continue to be a powerful camera presence throughout the world.
FujiFilm cameras have always been extremely well built cameras, so it was easy to create the new DSLR cameras as digital took over the film world. The one thing FujiFilm has above some of their competitors, is they make their own optics. From Sand to glass, these lenses have incredible strict standards to their lenses, and in a real test, it is hard to beat the optics of FujiFilm.
If you are in the market for a serious digital camera, then you should consider the FujiFilm camera. The feel and the ease of use, is something everyone would enjoy using.
I have been personally associated with the FujiFilm products for over 20 years, and have always been impressed with their product. I, for one, am glad to see how big this company has become, because they deserve the success they have received.