Why Disposable Cameras Are Making a Comeback

By Paul McKay

In a world where digital cameras and smartphones dominate, disposable cameras may seem like a thing of the past. However, these simple and affordable cameras are making a comeback for a variety of reasons and a great way for people to start their film photography journey. From the element of surprise to the unique aesthetic they provide, discover why disposable cameras are still a popular choice for capturing memories.

 


 

The affordability and accessibility 

One of the main reasons disposable cameras are making a comeback is their affordability and accessibility. With digital cameras and smartphones becoming more and more expensive, disposable cameras offer a budget-friendly alternative for those who still want to capture memories on film. A wide range of disposable cameras are also available at pharmacies, supermarkets, and online retailers, making them easily accessible for anyone who wants to give them a try.

Ilford HP5 Plus - Harman Disposable Camera

 


 

The element of surprise and anticipation

Another reason disposable cameras are making a comeback is the element of surprise and anticipation they bring. With digital cameras and smartphones, we can instantly see the photos we take and delete them if we don't like them. But with disposable cameras, we have to wait until the film is developed to see the photos, which adds an element of excitement and anticipation. Plus, we never know exactly how the photos will turn out after the disposable camera has been processed, which can lead to some unexpected and unique shots.


(C) Karen Freer | Taken with disposable Ilford HP5 Camera

Your usual film lab should be able to develop disposable cameras, whether they’re colour or black and white, as the film inside tends to be common 35mm film preloaded in the factory.

You can also read more about disposable camera development here

 


 

The unique aesthetic and imperfections

Disposable cameras also offer a unique aesthetic that can't be replicated with digital cameras or filters. They are also very different from other types of film camera! The grainy, slightly blurred quality of the photos adds a vintage and nostalgic feel that many people find appealing. Additionally, the imperfections that come with using a disposable camera, such as light leaks and overexposure, can create interesting and artistic effects that can't be achieved with digital editing. These imperfections add character and personality to the photos, making them more memorable and special.


Taken with a reloaded disposable camera


 

The ability to unplug and be present in the moment

In a world where we are constantly connected to technology and social media - often to the detriment of our mental health - disposable cameras offer a chance to unplug and be present in the moment. With no screen to check or filters to apply, disposable cameras allow us to fully immerse ourselves in the experience of taking photos and capturing memories. Additionally, the limited exposures of disposable cameras (most disposables take either 27 or 36 photos) can encourage users to be more selective with their shots and make more meaningful images.

This can lead to a more mindful and enjoyable experience, as well as a more authentic and genuine representation of the moment.

 


 

Caution: Environmental Impact

It is crucial to acknowledge the environmental impact of our actions, particularly regarding plastic consumption. However, we should also weigh this against alternative methods of capturing images, such as digital cameras and smartphones, which come with their own environmental concerns, including the use of heavy metals, batteries, and frequent replacements every two years. Therefore, it is worth promoting the adoption of reloadable film cameras as a sustainable alternative.

 


 

Conclusion: Why Disposable Cameras Are Making a Comeback

Disposable cameras are making a comeback for a variety of reasons. They offer a unique and authentic experience, a sense of nostalgia, affordability, convenience for travel, and a break from the constant stimulation of technology. Whether you are a photography enthusiast or simply looking for a new way to capture memories, a disposable camera may be worth considering.

 

Up Next: 10 Tips for Capturing Amazing Photos with Disposable Cameras


1 Comment

  • It is interested to see how the new generations are taking old ways to do something such as dispensable cameras.

    olga

Leave a comment

Ready to dive in?

Keep Reading

View all
Pentax 17 Camera Review: A Modern Wonder

Pentax 17 Camera Review: A Modern Wonder

The Pentax 17 film camera has arrived! I've been lucky enough to be involved in the testing of the camera, and can now share my experience. How does the camera feel in my hand, what do its different settings mean, how does it perform in different lighting situations, and what are the results with different films? I’ve put thorough multiple rolls and taken literally hundreds of sample photos with the Pentax 17 so we have lots of images to learn from. Let’s get started!
Summer of Phoenix - A Holiday in Greece

Summer of Phoenix: A Holiday in Greece

I spent last week on the Greek coast - the southern tip of the Peloponnese to be exact - and took the opportunity to shoot some Harman Phoenix 35mm film! While it was brilliant fun to test it through the dark winter days when it first launched in December 2023, I've been waiting to see it shine in the sun.
Vintage stereoscopic cameras, Sputnik and Stereo Graphic, displayed with an antique stereoscope in the foreground.

A Glimpse into Stereoscopy: Two Views, One Camera

Stereoscopy, stereoview, stereoscope, lenticular, anaglyph, beam splitter, parallel view, sequential view... it's time to explore the world of stereoscopic photography!  In celebration of International Stereoscopy Day on the 21st of June, we asked our resident stereoscopy enthusiast and ambassador, Tom Warland, to share his insights and journey with this creative form of photography.