Fujifilm Corp.'s venerable instant camera QuickSnap, which marked its 25th anniversary July 1, is proving popular in areas devastated by the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.
Although the disposable camera's sales dropped sharply with the introduction of digital photography, a photo store in disaster-hit Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture, sold about 300 QuickSnaps in March and April, five times pre-quake levels.
Many buyers said they bought the film cameras to take pictures of their damaged houses, because their digital cameras were lost in the tsunami. They were drawn to the Quicksnaps because the cameras are inexpensive and do not need to be charged.
Some insurance companies bought Quicksnaps in lots of 5,000 to record damage to property. Insurance firms favor film over digital because it is much more difficult to manipulate film for fraud purposes.
Photographer Aichi Hirano, 34, handed out QuickSnaps to disaster victims and asked them to take shots of their daily lives. He said he wanted to show how victims really live, as opposed to the way their situation is presented in the media.
Hirano got back 62 QuickSnaps and posted the photos on the website (www.rolls7.com). He will also exhibit the photographs in Tokyo in July.
About 36 million QuickSnaps were shipped last year, hardly an inconsequential number, but still only 30 percent of the camera's best year, 2003.
A senior Fujifilm manager said the QuickSnap's foolproof operation dramatically expanded the photo culture in Japan. The company will continue to improve the popular camera in such a way that the strengths of the camera appeal to customers even in the digital age, he said.
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