Feature

Cute camera for that cute selfie

The Casio team taking a wefie. The eight LED lights around the lens cast even lighting on the subject. Showing off the TR Mini are (from left) Mr Koichi Matsuzaki, manager of Casio's global marketing for digital cameras; Mr Junichi Miyasaka, who was
Showing off the TR Mini are (from left) Mr Koichi Matsuzaki, manager of Casio's global marketing for digital cameras; Mr Junichi Miyasaka, who was involved in the research and development of the new product; and Ms Yasuko Nunokawa, who is responsible for marketing the camera.ST PHOTO: TREVOR TAN

Shaped like a cosmetic compact, Casio's selfie camera TR Mini is targeted at women

Apart from efforts to increase autofocusing speed and megapixel count, innovations have been few and far between among camera manufacturers in recent years.

But Casio, the first company to launch a consumer digital camera with an LCD screen, the QV-10, back in 1995, has come up with a new camera with a radical design.

Launched last Friday, the TR Mini is a selfie-only camera with a circular clamshell design that looks like a cosmetic compact.

It has a 10.5-megapixel image sensor, a front-facing, 21mm wide-angle lens on the top lid and a 2.5-inch display on the bottom lid.

With smartphone cameras gaining in popularity, Casio wanted a totally new product that would stand out from conventional cameras and smartphones, said Mr Koichi Matsuzaki, manager of Casio's global marketing for digital cameras. "We need to get back at smartphones that are eating our market share," he said.

With the new TR Mini, Casio hopes to create a new selfie culture that even smartphones cannot match. "We want to create a new culture and lead it in a new market," Mr Matsuzaki explained.

A key feature of the TR Mini is the eight LED lights positioned around the lens - they provide uniform illumination during selfie-taking. By turning on and off some of these lights, the user can achieve different results, such as introducing shadows to "sculpt" the face so that it looks slimmer.

The Casio team taking a wefie. The eight LED lights around the lens cast even lighting on the subject. Showing off the TR Mini are (from left) Mr Koichi Matsuzaki, manager of Casio's global marketing for digital cameras; Mr Junichi Miyasaka, who was
The Casio team taking a wefie. The eight LED lights around the lens cast even lighting on the subject. ST PHOTO: TREVOR TAN

RECLAIMING MARKET SHARE

We need to get back at smartphones that are eating our market share... We want to create a new culture and lead it in a new market.

MR KOICHI MATSUZAKI, manager of Casio's global marketing for digital cameras.

"We want to have more variety in selfies," said Ms Yasuko Nunokawa, who is responsible for activities to promote the TR Mini.

The camera's circular shape ups the cuteness factor - its target buyers are women.

The shape serves another function - LED lights arranged in a circle work best in portrait photography, said Mr Junichi Miyasaka, who was involved in the research and development of the TR Mini.

"We did try the square design, but we (found) that it does not look kawaii (cute) enough," he added.

The camera is designed to be compact and lightweight so that it can be slipped easily into handbags, said Mr Miyasaka.

But Casio is not ignoring the men's market. In fact, Mr Matsuzaki said there will be something in the future just for men. He declined to give further details.

The Casio TR Mini, which comes in five colours, will be sold for $699 when it becaomes available in Singapore the end of this month.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 25, 2017, with the headline 'Cute camera for that cute selfie'. Print Edition | Subscribe