Fujifilm may have started as a manufacturer of photographic film, but the company's decision to branch into many areas of business -- including a transition to a digital camera manufacturer in the past several years -- has been a succesful one. In 2007, Fujifilm cameras ranked eighth worldwide in number of digital cameras manufactured, with about 8.3 million units, according to a Techno Systems Research report. Fujifilm cameras, sometimes shortened to Fuji cameras, held a market share of about 6.3%.
Founded in 1934 as Fuji Photo Film Co., the company filled a desire from the Japanese government for a domestic photography film manufacturing industry. Fuji Photo quickly expanded, opening several factories and establishing subsidiary companies.
By 1965, the company established an American subsidiary in Valhalla, N.Y., called Fuji Photo Film USA. European branches soon followed. Some subsidiaries began using the Fujifilm name in the mid-1990s as the company began transitioning its business offerings away from heavy reliance on photographic film, and the entire company officially became Fujifilm in 2006.
During its company's history, Fujifilm has offered photographic film, motion picture film, x-ray film, color reversal film (slides), microfilm, color negatives, 8mm motion picture film, and videotape. Beyond film, the company also has offered computer storage tape, computer floppy disks, offset printing plates, digital x-ray imaging, and medical imaging systems.
Fujifilm made its first digital still camera in 1988, the DS-1P, and it was the world's first digital camera with removeable media. The company also created the first one-time-use recyclable film camera, the QuickSnap, in 1986.
Today's Fujifilm and Finepix Offerings
Most of Fujifilm's cameras are aimed at beginning photographers, but the company also offers some digital SLR-type cameras aimed at intermediate photographers and some full SLR cameras aimed at professionals.
- A and J series. Cameras in the Finepix A and Finepix J families typically offer basic features in an ultra compact camera body, measuring less than 1 inch in thickness. However, you will find a few models in this family that have larger-than-average optical zoom lenses or even some wide angle capabilities. The A and J models usually cost $100-$200.
- F models. Fujifilm's Finepix F models all carry at least 12 megapixels of resolution, while also offering ultra compact camera bodies. The F200EXR includes an advanced CCD image sensor technology, called Super CCD EXR. Look for F series models to cost about $250-$400.
- S models. Fujifilm aims its S models of Finepix cameras at intermediate photographers. S model cameras are DSLR-like cameras, carrying the look and feel of a DSLR model without interchangeable lenses and high-end prices. All Finepix S cameras carry at least 12X optical zoom lenses. Most S models cost between $400 and $1,000.
- Z models. Color and style are the key components to the Z models of digital cameras from Fujifilm. Pink, silver, green, red, black, blue, purple, and orange Z models all are available. Z series Finepix models aren't quite as feature-rich as some Finepix units, with 10 megapixels or less of resolution. You'll find Z cameras in the $125-$200 price range.
- Pro models. True DSLR models are available from Fujifilm with its Pro models. Some models even can shoot in the infrared or ultraviolet ranges. Such models will cost a few thousand dollars.
- Related products. Fujifilm continues to make film for traditional film cameras, as well as one-time-use film cameras. The company also manufactures photo-finishing products, microfilm, graphic arts, motion picture film, and consumer digital and VHS video storage options. Fujifilm is involved in the sale and manufacturing of medical systems, computer storage options, specialty chemcials, and optics producs. Digital camera accessories and other items are available through the Fujifilm USA Web site.