Photo/IllutrationThis flower photograph, taken with a 360-degree camera of the Theta series, was posted on Instagram by Ricoh Co. (Provided by Ricoh Co.)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

Digital camera manufacturers are back in the picture as they are cashing in on the growing popularity of Instagram and other social networking services after losing ground to smartphone cameras for many years.

The shipment volume of digital cameras by Japanese manufacturers rose for the first time in seven years to 24.98 million units in 2017, up 3.3 percent year on year, according to the Camera & Imaging Products Association (CIPA).

The shipment value rose for the first time in five years to 792.8 billion yen ($7.22 billion), up 11.6 percent year on year. Shipments to overseas markets are included in these figures.

The craze for posting photos on Instagram has even coined a popular phrase, “Insta-bae,” which means “looking good on Instagram.”

Manufacturers are no longer pitching low-priced models costing about 10,000 yen to 20,000 yen. Instead, they are emphasizing the image quality, high-magnification telephoto and other features to set their products apart from smartphone cameras.

Casio Computer Co.’s EX-FR100L boasts its skin-enhancement features, which allow human skin to look more beautiful in pictures.

A controller section, which includes a shutter button, can be separated from the main camera body. Its wide-angle lens allows whole-body selfies to be taken against a scenic background, according to Casio.

Ricoh Co.’s Theta series of 360-degree cameras are also popular with consumers.

In 2017, compact cameras with a built-in lens posted brisk sales of 13.3 million units, up 5.7 percent from the previous year.

Interchangeable-lens models, such as single-lens reflex cameras and mirrorless cameras, which are more expensive than compact models, sold 11.68 million units, up 0.6 percent year on year.

The CIPA has forecast a 6.4-percent drop in the shipment volume for 2018.

However, Satoru Tamura, an analyst with GfK Marketing Services Japan Ltd., a research company, has presented a more bullish prospect.

“You can continue to bank on demand from customers who are not satisfied with smartphone cameras,” he said. “I think the sales will bottom out soon, particularly for compact cameras.”