Nearly six years after the initial exploration in 2017 (has it been that long?), we once again find ourselves delving into the world of disposable 35mm point and shoot film cameras. Despite the digital revolution in photography, brands like Ilford, Kodak, Fujifilm, AgfaPhoto, Amber, Rollei and Lomography continue to offer an array of disposable film cameras. Today, we will look at twelve of them. The purpose of this article is not to recommend one disposable camera over another, but rather to present an updated broad overview of available models and their features, offering a chance to compare specifications based purely on personal preferences.
An introduction to disposable film cameras
Regardless of the title used – single use, one-time-use, or disposable – these cameras function in a similar manner. Pre-loaded with a roll of 35mm film (often comprising 27 exposures) these film cameras are fairly basic in use and are generally returned to a shop for processing or printing.
As discussed in the original article, the reason behind the 27-exposure standard in disposable cameras as opposed to the typical 24 or 36 exposures for rolls of cartridge film remains elusive. However, my speculation is that the disposable format allows 27 pictures to be taken because of the lack of exposure of the beginning of the film to light, which often occurs when loading a non-disposable film camera.
Disposable cameras provide an accessible entry point into film photography. They are generally compact and easy to use, with few controls and a simple viewfinder. A fixed-focus prime plastic lens is typical, with the photographer only needing to frame the shot and click the shutter. Many models feature a built-in flash, while others advertise additional attributes such as waterproofing. The pre-loaded film may be colour or black and white and can vary in ISO speed rating – although typically they seem to come with 400 ISO for the most part. The lens aperture can also differ between models.
Updated overview of disposable point and shoot film cameras
The 12 disposable cameras listed below (in no particular order) are some of the models currently available as of 2023. The specifications have been sourced from the companies’ websites and other online sources, but keep in mind we can’t promise they’re 100% spot on. Also, it’s worth bearing in mind that the specific brand names may vary, which could be due to region-specific branding, slight variations in the models, updated models and so on.
- The AgfaPhoto LeBox Single-Use Flash Camera is pre-loaded with 400 colour film, offering 27 exposures. It features a fixed-focus lens and a built-in flash.
- The AgfaPhoto LeBox Black and White Single-Use Camera is a monochrome variant of the LeBox.
- The Amber Tungsten T800 Single Use 35mm Film Camera comes pre-loaded with 27 exposures of Amber T800 film.
- The Amber Spark D400 Single Use 35mm Film Camera is equipped with 27 exposures of Amber D400 film.
- The FUJIFILM QuickSnap Flash 400 One-Time-Use Disposable Camera comes with ISO 400 colour negative film and a built-in flash. This model features an automatic flash recharge and a manual on/off flash switch, as well as a fixed-focus, wide-angle lens.
- The Ilford Ilfocolor Rapid Retro Single Use Camera comes pre-loaded with 400 colour film, offering 27 exposures. It features a fixed-focus lens, a built-in flash and weighs 4.3oz.
- The Ilford HP5 Plus B&W Single-Use Film Camera provides 27 exposures with Ilford HP5 Plus B&W film. This model has a built-in flash and a fixed-focus wide-angle lens.
- The Kodak 35mm Disposable 800 Camera with Flash is equipped with ISO 800 film, 27 exposure film – so should be better for lower light conditions.
- The Kodak Tri-X 400 B&W Single-Use Flash Camera uses the famous Tri-X 400 film and weighs 4.9oz.
- The Ilford XP2 Super Single Use Camera comes loaded with XP2 35mm black and white film which is developed using C41 processing (same process as colour film). It provides 27 exposures and features a built-in flash.
- The Lomography Color Negative 400 Simple Use Film Camera is a reloadable model that comes with Lomo Color Negative 400 film for 36 exposures. It has a built-in flash with three colour gels and a fixed-focus 31mm f/9 lens.
- The Rollei Inferno Ragazzi B&W Single-Use Film Camera uses Rollei RPX 400 B&W film and has a fixed-focus wide-angle lens (although I couldn’t find the exact specs).
In summary, this updated overview of disposable point and shoot disposable film cameras reflects the diverse range of models currently available. Each camera offers its own features, from type and speed of pre-loaded film to lens aperture and additional features, although being such basic models there isn’t a huge difference between them in my opinion. While this article doesn’t endorse any specific camera, it hopes to provide an updated overview of disposable film cameras in 2023. As with 2017 it appears that, despite the overwhelming dominance of digital photographic technology, point and shoot film cameras (especially disposable models) maintain a place in the photographic landscape.