Casio’s latest offering, the Exilim EX-TR70, is priced at a whopping $1,399! That’s rather steep for a compact camera, but the price tag is justified by its unbelievable selfie-friendly features. Targeted mainly at Chinese women who are obsessed with taking photos of themselves and sharing them online, the camera is expected to earn the Japanese company a $403 million profit this year.
The new TR70 is a third generation Exilim, a line of unusually shaped cameras that are specifically made for selfies. Right from the physical features to the UI, these cameras are streamlined to help the user click the perfect pic of their face every time. The hinged frame helps the device support itself, so it can easily be placed on any surface to face the subject. It offers several ways to actually click a picture, including squeezing the body, using the ‘selfie pad’ on the side, using a countdown self-timer, placing the hand on a certain part of the frame to be detected by the camera, and by touching the 3” LCD.
Photo: Japan Bullet
The TR70 lens has an angle view equivalent to a 21mm or a 35mm system – excessively wide for a regular camera, but perfect when clicking pictures from an arm’s length distance. So users can easily get their friends into the frame, without having to resort to selfie-sticks. The camera also uses an LED light instead of a flash, positioned very closed to the lens axis to produce soft and shadowless lighting. The round shape of the LED is designed to create an attractive circular sparkle, or catch-light, in the eyes.
Nicknamed ‘zipai shenqi’ (which loosely translates to ‘magical weapon for ultimate selfies’), the TR70 truly is a ‘smart’ camera – its pose bracketing feature comes with a voice guidance system that counts down from three to give the user time to alter their stance between consecutive shots. Five photographs are clicked per session this way, so users can easily figure out their best ‘angles’.
The TR70 also comes with special ‘digital makeup’ software that can be used to erase blemishes and make the face look slimmer, skin fairer, and eyes larger. While most other compact cameras have digital retouch shooting modes, the TR70 offers much more advanced ‘makeup modes’ where users can choose from 12 different levels of skin smoothness and skin tones. There’s also the makeup mode bracketing that displays two extra images with smoothness levels below and above the one chosen by the user. What’s more, the makeup mode can be used on videos as well.
The Exilim cameras are wildly popular among women in China, so much so that in 2015, Casio recorded its highest profit in nine years. In fact, Chinese women in other parts of the world are scrambling to buy them too, although they’re currently only available in Asia. “By the time I bought this camera in Shanghai, it was super popular,” Lin Shi, a Chinese student in New York, told Quartz. “Whenever I went into a restaurant, I would see girls taking photos with these cameras.”
“When it came out, it was only about $249,” added Chaoyi Xu, another student. “But the demand was way higher than the supply so the price shot up to $800 within half a year. I think what’s magical about this camera is its lens. It makes you look prettier!”
In China, Casio has three exclusive stores dedicated to selling the Exilim series. These shops resemble makeup boutiques, but instead of buying makeup, women can shop for cameras that make them look picture perfect.