In the 1970s, point-and-shoot cameras became quite popular among amateur photographers. The film came in a cartridge and was easy to load, while shooting was as simple as locating the subject in the viewfinder and pressing the shutter button. When Fujifilm decided to enter this segment of the camera market, the company partnered with Kodak, signing a licensing agreement. Then, in 1975, Fujifilm launched the Pocket FUJICA lineup of point-and-shoot cameras, five models ranging from basic to high-end.
After introducing the Pocket FUJICA in Japan, Fujifilm expanded sales to overseas markets. In order to make the camera easier to hold and help prevent bad shots due to camera shake, in later models Fujifilm changed the positioning of the film inside from horizontal to vertical. These and other innovations encouraged more people to take up photography and spurred sales to even greater heights.
Fujifilm continued to look for new ways to enhance the Pocket FUJICA line. Market research conducted by the company indicated that 75% of point-and-shoot camera users found flash photography difficult and inconvenient. So, in 1978, Fujifilm introduced the high-end Pocket FUJICA 550 Auto, which featured an integrated pop-up flash. The flash was automatic and light output even adjusted to match lighting conditions. In combination with the camera’s autoexposure function, the autoflash made it easy to take beautiful photographs and avoid mistakes that wasted valuable film. This feature was a world’s first for a point-and-shoot camera and made the Pocket FUJICA 550 Auto yet another milestone product for Fujifilm.