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Fujifilm instant camera finds new life on social media

'Photo-in-a-photo' craze inspires sales target of 10 million units

Using Fujifilm's Instax camera to create "photo-in-a-photo" images has become a craze on social media.

TOKYO -- If you thought the days of printing out photos were a thing of the past, think again. Fujifilm's instant-print camera, the Instax, has found a new lease of life among a generation that grew up without ever touching a roll of film.

The Japanese company aims to sell 10 million of the cameras in the year through next March, an increase of 1 million on the previously announced figure.

The latest target exceeds the previous year's sales by 30%, and represents one-third of the total number sold so far.

Released in 1998, the Instax, known as the Cheki in its home market, was an instant hit with Japanese schoolgirls and annual sales reached 1 million in fiscal 2002. But the arrival of digital photography saw that figure drop to just 100,000 two years later.

The device has now found a new fan base in social media enthusiasts.

Its popularity exploded in South Korea around 2007, before spreading to China and the West. Up to 90% of its sales are now made in overseas markets.

The new generation of aficionados is drawn by the ability to capture moments in unique prints. In an age when images are instantly uploaded to Facebook or Instagram, users have developed something of an art form in how they share Instax pictures.

One popular technique involves holding a print up against the background of the landscape it captures and taking a second image with a smartphone.

The quality of the images is also a key. Instax prints were just like "good old" film photos, said a 25-year-old American on a trip to Japan. 

With square images often favored for social media posts, Fujifilm in May released the Instax Square SQ6, a camera dedicated to the format.

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