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Disposable cameras were all the rage in the 1990’s but since the introduction of the relatively low cost digital and mobile phone cameras they have taken something of a back seat in the world of photography. Nonetheless, they still maintain a strange kind of charm and have practical and artistic uses in many different situations.
Disposable cameras are often given to guests at a wedding or taken on a beach holiday to snap some shots. They are incredibly cheap and although they don’t produce the very highest quality of photography they still perform surprisingly well!
What is a Disposable Camera?
A disposable camera is an extremely simple type of box camera that is usually only used once. Most disposable cameras are also equipped with a basic flash. Traditionally all disposable cameras came loaded with a single film and once that was finished you would wind it up. Then you would take the whole camera to a photo store to get the film developed. The store would develop the film for you and dispose of the camera after which you would get a series of print photographs back.
Since the early 2000s digital disposable cameras came onto the market and today you can get one for $30-50. A digital disposable camera has the same basic box camera body but either has an internal memory card or an external, removable one.
Who Uses a Disposable Camera?
The most common user of a disposable camera is a tourist on holiday! They are often very casual photographers at best and usually don’t own a good quality camera. They use the disposable camera to get some holiday beach snaps or photos at the bar.
Disposable cameras are also given away, often in colors that match the event’s theme, at weddings, anniversary parties and other celebrations. This allows the guests to take some quick photos of the event and save some unique memories for the future. Often these photos are pooled together by the organizers to create an album collection as a keepsake!
Many drivers carry a disposable camera in their car’s glove compartment. This is often referred to as an ‘accident camera’ and is left unused unless an accident occurs. This allows the motorist to quickly take photos for evidence purposes and to help with any future insurance claims. A disposable camera is ideal for this because it doesn’t need batteries and can be stored for long periods of time without being used.
How Many Pictures Does a Disposable Camera Take?
The number of pictures you can take varies from model to model but the standard camera will have at least 24 exposures. You can also get models that have 12 or 36 exposures. Some brands give you an extra 3 shots for free, so you get 27 or 39 exposures on your film roll. Digital disposable cameras can often take up to 100 shots however many are pre-set at only 25 shots.
What is the Cost of Developing the Pictures from a Disposable Camera?
Aside from the up front cost of the actual camera, which is usually in the $10-40 range, the pictures themselves can be fairly costly to develop. The cost of developing the film varies and is measured by the number of exposures. The cheapest prices in the USA are usually found in Walmart, where you can get 12 exposures developed for under $10.
However more standard prices for disposable camera film development are:
- 12 exposures – $11-15
- 24 exposures – $15-20
- 36 exposures – $18-25.
Should You Use the Flash with a Disposable Camera?
As a general rule you should almost always use the flash with a disposable camera. Although the cameras are easy to use ‘point and click’ models, the actual lens is of very poor quality and the film is not great! You only have one chance to get the photo right so using the flash is the safest thing to do, particularly if you are indoors!
Why You Should Always Have a Disposable Camera With You!
Despite some of the disposable camera’s obvious drawbacks and limitations when compared to a DSLR, they are extremely easy to use and relatively cheap to buy. You can always take them with you without worrying about losing or damaging it like you would with your proper camera kit!
A disposable camera is the ideal choice for casual, fun and quirky photography at random moments. You can simply slip a disposable camera into your pocket or purse and whip it out for a quick snap whenever it’s needed! Ideal for parties, weddings, beach holidays and barbeques.
You Can Have A Lot of Fun with a Disposable Camera.
Since the disposable camera is pretty cheap you can really go to town with some wacky and creative ideas. You can scratch the front lens for unusual textured effects, tape on filters or even smear the lens with oil to get a strange dreamy shot! The sky’s the limit so you can really let your imagination run wild.
Another fun idea that some people have been doing recently is using disposable cameras to create ‘lost art’ projects. You can leave an unused disposable camera in a café, on a park bench or in an art gallery with instructions attached to it. You can say in the instructions to take a photo and then leave the camera for someone else to find! Alternatively you can leave the camera with a request to send the camera to your address once the photos are taken! Either way, due to the low cost of the camera it presents you with some interesting potentials.
How Do You Transfer the Photos from Your Disposable Camera to Your Phone?
One of the major problems with the traditional disposable camera is that you can’t share the pictures on social media or other websites as easily as you can with your phone camera! However, there are pretty simple work arounds that you can use to get your disposable camera pictures onto your phone for storage and sharing online.
Transferring Photos from Your Disposable Camera with a Film to Your Phone.
If you’re using a disposable camera with a film roll then once you have taken your photos you can get them processed as usual. Once you have the printed photos in your hand you can take them home and use a scanner to upload them to your computer. Once the scanned image files are saved on your computer you can easily transfer them to your phone or share them on social media.
Transferring Photos from Your Digital Disposable Camera to your Phone.
It’s a little easier to move your photos from a digital disposable camera to your phone than from a film camera.
If you’re using a digital camera with an internal memory card then you can attach a USB cable to the side and copy the photos onto your computer. From there you can send them to your phone.
Alternatively, if you’re using a digital camera with an external memory card you can slot this into your computer and copy the files across. Once again, you can send them to your phone. Some of the external memory cards may fit into your phone in which case it’s even easier and you simply copy the files directly onto your phone.
Disposable Cameras Are the Unsung Creative Powerhouses of Photography.
Disposable cameras sometimes get a bit of a bad time in reviews and are often judged a little harshly! Nonetheless, the disposable camera has many uses and can come in very handy at the least expected moments! It’s a great idea to always have one on you just in case you come across that once in a lifetime photo opp! You can’t realistically carry all your top camera kit around with you everywhere you go but you can take a little disposable camera with you!
Disposable cameras are a fun tool for random and unusual creative projects, are perfect to give to the guests at a wedding or party and are the trusted travel companion of tourists all over the world!
Have you every used a disposable camera?
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