Instant Film, Not Digital Cameras Is the Main Reason Fujifilm Is Doing So Well

Instant Film, Not Digital Cameras Is the Main Reason Fujifilm Is Doing So Well

When we talk about Fujifilm's recent success, most of us likely point to their X Series cameras, known for their fantastic design and great system of lenses. Surprisingly however, the bulk of the company's financial success in imaging is not due to their mirrorless cameras, but rather to their Instax line of cameras.

The Instax line of cameras is Fujifilm's attempt to capture the fun of yesteryear's Polaroids, and as someone who owns both a camera and the printer, I have to admit that they are indeed a blast to play with. It seems other people agree with me as well — a lot of them, in fact. Fujifilm just released their FY2018/Q3 financial earnings, which contain a very interesting breakdown of their imaging business: "In the photo imaging business, overall sales increased due to favorable sales, especially in instant photo systems." 

As you can see, revenue in electronic imaging increased, which Fuji attributes specifically to the GFX 50S and X-E3 cameras and accompanying lenses. Revenue in photo imaging skyrocketed, eclipsing that of electronic imaging easily, which Fuji attributes to year-end sales of Instax products, which have indeed been highly popular. It's likely the Kumamoto Earthquake of 2016 is influencing growth percentages a bit here; nonetheless, it's apparent that Fuji's overall imaging business is doing quite well, nonetheless. I'm no financial analyst, but knowing how retro fads tend to wax and wane, I do wonder how long the Instax line can sustain this level of revenue. It'll be interesting to see how the company continues to grow as they keep releasing new products at a steady pace. 

You can read the full report here.

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12 Comments

Alex Cooke's picture

Totally see your point. I would also love if they’d release a high-quality version. Right now, it’s all about the novelty, but a version with good image quality could be really interesting.

Zenza Rino's picture

nice discussion. mini 70, black, looks less toyish... qualitywise, polaroid seems to be a better option...

If you want to use Instax, go Lomography. These are mine and I like them. I wish Fuji would bring back peel apart packfilm though.

Zenza Rino's picture

why do you suggest them over instax? I shoot instax btw..

Konrad Sarnowski's picture

In my opinion Fuji won't ever release high quality instax camera, as the film itself is the main income for them - they let others do the hard work of camera r&d - mint, lomography... ;-) If you happen to have some vintage medium format camera, at least 6x6, try exposing instax film in it and develop in instax camera - this film is quite usable, especially in square and wide formats ;-)

I'm trying
to do some UV macro with it B-) https://www.instagram.com/p/BelSsX7H9CZ/

Anonymous's picture

Great advice. Thanks for this trick.

I agree with you guys, they look like toys and their quality/versatility sucks. I know it's very unlikely that Fuji or even Lomo will ever make a camera that fits my needs (and the needs of a lot other photographers who want to take more seriously the instant format) so I decided to take things on my own hands. I modify cameras with high quality lenses to shoot Instax, Polaroid and pack film. The final result is in some ways something entirely different from you can get from a regular Instax or Polaroid camera. <3

Zenza Rino's picture

nice job. looks good to me...

Korey Napier's picture

Not so surprising I guess. Haven't they been the best selling cameras for the last several Christmas seasons? It makes sense. I reckon the market for people wanting to have a fun instant camera to play with is bigger than the enthusiasts and pros buying the X-series cameras. I often times forget how popular their instant cameras are in Asia. Even cameras like the X-M1 and X-A5 sell a lot better in Asia than they do in the west. Totally fine by me. As long as profits are strong so they can keep pouring R&D into their X-series cameras and lenses, I'll be happy!

Hans Rosemond's picture

Come onnnn fp100c... haha in my dreams.

Anonymous's picture

Still have 12 packs in my freezer. I plan to retire off of them when I sell them in 15 years! :)

The overall interchangeable lens camera market has been shrinking for years. What I notice is, that while the Instax cameras pull the bulk of income, Fuji's digital imaging side is slowly growing. I'd say this is actually very good. Looking at the numbers from Canon and Nikon, you can't say the same thing. Wonder what Oly, Sony and Panasonic are doing?