Selfie craze something to smile about

Selfie craze something to smile about
Casio models showing off the selfie features of the new Casio Exilim EX-ZR1600 selfie camera at the CP+ Camera & Photo Imaging Show 2015 in Yokohama, Japan.

Selfie was named Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries in 2013.

Defined by Oxford Dictionaries as "a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically with a smartphone or webcam, and uploaded to a social-media website", selfie migrated from social media to the mainstream.

Now, it is a social phenomenon.

About three out of every 10 pictures taken by people between the ages of 18 and 24 are selfies, according to a 2013 poll commissioned by Samsung UK.

So, it is no surprise that camera-makers have rushed to board the selfie train by building more selfie-friendly features into their products. Think 180-degree rotating displays and quick connection to smartphones.

That is just for starters.

Casio pioneered the selfiecam in 2011 when it launched the revolutionary Exilim EX-TR100.

Its 360-degree frame had a 3-inch touchscreen display which could be rotated 270 degrees.

That camera and its successor, the EX-TR15, became popular with women in Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and China.

Local retailers have told Digital Life that the Casio TR series cameras were often sold out.

Casio surveyed users in China and found that more than 80 per cent of women in their 20s take selfies with their cameras - the same percentage as those who take landscape shots with their cameras.

"So, taking selfies is as popular as taking landscapes," said Mr Naoya Matsubara, general manager of product development in Casio's digital camera division.

Before the TR15 launched, Casio ranked fifth in terms of the value of total sales in Singapore. Then the TR15 hit the market in 2013 and propelled Casio to first place last February.

That has made other camera-makers sit up and take notice.

"While a foldable LCD for taking self-portraits is not a new feature, more manufacturers are beginning to market their product as a selfie or self-portrait camera to be competitive with the smartphones," said Mr Gerard Tan, digital technology account director of research firm GfKAsia.

Significantly, the number of digital camera models with displays suitable for taking selfies surged 27 per cent from 98 models in 2013 to 124 last year, according to the research firm.

"Even as the overall camera market is not growing, the selfie camera segment is, in fact, seeing a surge in demand," said Mr Tan.

GfK Asia said that almost 30,000 selfie cameras were sold in Singapore alone from October to December last year - 11 per cent more than in the same quarter the previous year.

At the recent CP+ Camera & Photo Imaging Show 2015 in Yokohama, many of the new models launched incorporated 180-degree rotatable displays, which make it easy to take selfie shots.

Even Olympus' OM-D E-M5 Mark II, a new mid-range mirrorless camera, has a fully articulating touchscreen display which can be rotated 180 degrees.

An earlier model could be tilted up by 80 degrees, and down 50 degrees.

Digital Life looks at some of the new selfie cameras and other notable models at the show.


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