Ancient Kodak Cameras Selling Well in Japan

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There’s something kind of unique going on in Japan right now.

man holding black camera
Man holding black camera. Photo by Museums Victoria

According to a report from PetaPixel, it looks like younger consumers are embracing older point-and-shoot cameras and, in particular, Kodak’s PixPro FZ55.

Apparently, Kodak cameras have jumped from a 5% market share to 22.5% total market share in just a year, displacing traditional domestic titans like Canon, Sony, and Fujifilm. The data comes from retailer BCN+R and the models dominating the first, third, and fifth positions were from Kodak: Kodak PixPro FZ55, FZ45, and the WPZ2.

While all of this is exciting, it is also a bit sad for fans of the brand. Why?

Well, none of those cameras are made by a company by Kodak. They’re products from JK Imaging LTD, a the holder of a licensing agreement. As is well known, the old Kodak is long dead and gone and pretty much all that remains are branding deals like this. But, hey, at least that’s something.

Those of you who were readers during the pandemic might recall that Kodak experienced a resurgence as a potential drug component chemicals manufacturer. There was a run-up in the stock, a bunch of headlines, and a little bit of a scandal.

That’s to say, Kodak has a way of staying in the headlines. What’s interesting about this story is how much the big names, Canon, Sony, and Nikon, are struggling with lower-end products while a branded product like this is doing well.

BCN+R has an interesting explanation for the phenomenon:

“Major camera companies have shifted their focus to expensive mirrorless cameras, and have reduced the handling of inexpensive compact digital cameras or withdrawn from the market. On the other hand, the demand for easy-to-use compact digital cameras remains… Furthermore, due to the influence of the retro boom in recent years, inexpensive compact digital cameras have become a hot topic on social media, and their popularity has increased, especially among young people. Kodak has made great strides by tapping into such niche needs.”

Any thoughts that you might have on the success of older Kodak products in Japan are welcome in the comments.

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Kehl is our staff photography news writer since 2017 and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here and follow him on Insta.

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