CAMERAS > FUJICA
Fujica (Fuji Shashin Film K.K.) is the name given by Fujifilm of Japan to its line of still-photography and motion picture cameras.
Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd. was founded on January 20th, 1934 with the aim of being the first Japanese producer of photographic films. It was an offshoot of Dai-Nippon Celluloid K.K. (大日本セルロイド㈱), founded in 1919. The company's first CEO was Asano Shūichi (浅野修一). The plants were located in the village of Minami-Ashigara (南足柄村, now a city) in the prefecture of Kanagawa (神奈川県), at the foot of Mt. Hakone (箱根山). It is said that the name "Fuji" (富士) was chosen by Asano Shūichi because of Mt. Fuji (富士山), situated not far from Mt. Hakone, but was already registered by a third party, to which the rights were bought for ¥8,000, an important sum at the time.
Having carried out sustained efforts in the area of film research over the following 10 years, the company achieved domestic production of photographic films, motion-picture films and X-ray films. In the 1940s, Fuji Photo entered the optical glasses, lenses and equipment markets. The first camera to be marketed by the brand would be the Six family by 1948, a series of medium format folding cameras for roll film bearing an in-house lens development, the Fujinar, a 4-element 3-groups formulation
After the Second World War, the Company promoted diversification, penetrating the medical (X-ray diagnosis), printing, electronic imaging and magnetic materials fields. In 1962, Fuji Photo and U.K.-based Rank Xerox Limited (now Xerox Limited) launched Fuji Xerox Co., Ltd. through a joint venture.
Like its rival Eastman Kodak which dominated in the United States, Fuji Photo enjoyed a strong longtime monopoly on camera film in Japan. However, 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 United States, Fuji gained considerable market share in the United States while Kodak had little success in penetrating Japan.
The company started producing digital cameras in 1988. Fujifilm was the most agile among film makers in adapting to digital imaging. Today it offers leading technology concerning smaller digital consumer cameras with high-sensitivity CCDs; it also sells expensive DSLRs.