When we think of best cameras, usually DSLRs, Polaroids, Mirrorless, and Smartphone cameras cross our minds. We tend to forget that once upon a time, plastic disposable cameras were quite the trend for a while. Even today you can get some of the best disposable cameras online. High-tech digital cameras might dominate the industry now, but disposable cameras still hold a significant place in a lot of photographer’s hearts.
Single-use cameras can’t match the technology of digital cameras but nowadays they come with advanced features like built-in flash and waterproof housing. In this guide on the best disposable cameras we will be listing some of the popular models available online, describing how to use a disposable camera, and covering a few frequently asked questions.
What Is A Disposable Camera?
Disposable cameras, as the name suggests, are single-use cameras that offer an affordable and compact solution for clicking pictures on film. Photo-Pac popularized disposable cardboard cameras in 1949, which enclosed 35mm film for $1.29. Japanese companies like Kodak and Fujifilm started manufacturing plastic-encased disposable cameras in the 1980s.
Disposable cameras feature cheap plastic lenses, fixed focal lengths, and moderate film quality. Yet few photographers embrace the flaws produced by these cameras and have given them a brand new purpose. Disposable cameras have once again become popular as wedding party favors or centerpieces for “lost art” projects.
They have become popular among low-budget travelers seeking affordable underwater cameras in order to capture their experiences. You might be interested to buy this camera for your own reasons, but probably don’t know how to get started. Don’t worry because we are here to help you out.
Important Factors To Consider Before Buying The Best Disposable Camera
This camera can be categorized as a point and shoot one but contains film to make it more interesting and fun to use. These models come with features that can’t be altered. It means that even if you’re looking at some of the best disposable cameras available in the market; you’ll need to differentiate between the features you prioritize. We have highlighted a few features you should be considering before shortlisting any model.
1. Flash Or No Flash
Flash is important as it allows you to click pictures at night. Disposable cameras are usually bought by low budget travelers or by those who want to make their photography experience fun and unique. Thus, cameras with flash are mostly preferred.
You also need to consider the flash range when you’re looking to buy the best disposable camera. Flash range determines how far the flash can reach. If the device specifies a 3 to 12m range, objects beyond 12 meters will remain invisible. Those closer than 3 meters are likely to appear white.
2. Number Of Shots
A majority of disposable cameras feature 27 or 39 frames. You can get more by paying a few more dollars. If you want to take a lot of shots, make sure you buy a camera offering more frames. Some people are very sure about how much frames they require, but if it is your first time buying the best disposable camera, then going for a bit extra won’t hurt.
3. Waterproof Or Not
Only buy a waterproof disposable camera if you’re sure you want to try underwater photography or if you’re sure that the chances of getting wet are high. Such cameras are usually not sturdy; hence, you shouldn’t buy them if the chances of them getting wet are rather low. It’s a good option if you’re going to visit a beach or a water park.
4. Shutter Speed And Focal Range
The last features on our list are shutter speed and focal range, which are normally considered the most important features in a camera. Most disposable cameras tend to have a 1/135s shutter speed and a standard fixed 35mm focal range. You just need to regulate the mode of use, taking care to set the camera to as stable a mode as you can. If you want the best results, you also need to place the subject at a certain distance.
ISO refers to light sensitivity, so the lower the ISO is, the less sensitive the camera will be to light. If you plan to take your pictures outdoors during the day, you can buy a disposable camera with a lower ISO as it will also cost less. If you plan to click pictures in the dark or at night, then buy a model that offers a gher ISO. Most disposable cameras come with ISO 400, 800, or 1600. The standard is 400.
6. Realistic Vs. Playful
If you want film photos that have wilder or less sharp colors, you can choose to buy a playful toy camera manufactured by any local company. But if you’re going on a vacation, a trip to a water park, or spending an evening on a beach, it is better to opt for a branded disposable camera.
The concept of disposable cameras took shape to allow people to capture cherished moments in their lives without having to worry about buying a costly or delicate piece of equipment. Here are a few popular disposable cameras produced by renowned brands that are extremely affordable;
Top 12 Best Disposable Cameras 2021
1. Kodak FunSaver
The first model on our list of best disposable cameras is by Kodak, a renowned American technology company. Kodak Funsaver is a high-speed camera that will let you capture clear pictures even at action-packed events like concerts and parties. This disposable camera is one of the best single-use cameras available on the market.
It is packed with an 800-speed film, which works really fast compared to others loaded with 400. The only problem is that you can’t adjust exposure, which means you won’t be able to click clear pictures in low light events. It works really well in daylight.
The super-responsive shutter and the great lens it features give you sharper and clearer images than what you’d usually get with disposable cameras. It is equipped with a flash and offers 35mm focus distance. The film is well incorporated into the body so there’s no risk of accidentally damaging it.
It is an environmentally friendly device as once you take it to a photo processing lab, it will not only develop the film but also recycle the camera body. The recycling rate for such cameras is very impressive, as more than 70% of these get recycled in the U.S.
2. Kodak Water & Sport
The Kodak Water & Sport offers the same reliability as the previous model while presenting a few additional features. It is specifically built for water adventures and water sports as it comes covered in shock-proof housing made of plastic.
This camera is waterproof down to 15m, and it features Kodax MAX 27-exposure versatility plus film known for producing pictures with bright colors, even in the poor lighting conditions found underwater.
While this model works well for all kinds of outdoor adventures, it is not the best model for indoor use because it doesn’t feature a built-in flash. This disposable camera is ideal for sports, water-park adventures, recreation, etc- especially the kind that would make you feel anxious about carrying a costly digital camera.
3. Fujifilm QuickSnap
Fujifilm is a Japanese multinational photography company headquartered in Tokyo that has been manufacturing cameras for decades now. Fujifilm QuickSnap is a compact single-use camera that features a built-in flash. The camera contains a 27-exposure ISO 400 film. It delivers great pictures in natural light, thereby making it an ideal companion for landscape and outdoor photography.
It works fine in low-light conditions, but using the flash is a must. It offers a 3 meter (10ft) flash range that is highly effective on close subjects. What makes it unique is that the flash features an on/off button that lets you keep it activated instead of pressing a button for each new shot.
4. Fujifilm QuickSnap Waterproof
This is another one of the best disposable cameras by Fujifilm and its main feature is that it is waterproof. This 27-exposure all-weather camera is waterproof down to 10.7mand comes preloaded with Fujicolor Superia X-TRA ISO-800 35mm film. What makes this camera waterproof is its solid plastic housing. It is a fine addition to any type of outdoor adventure.
The only downside is that this underwater camera does not feature a flash and thus, it won’t fare well in dark or low-lighting conditions. However, it is ideal for clicking pictures on a beach and you can take it on any outdoor adventure such as hikes or subsea adventures.
It features an oversized shutter release for easy use underwater, but it can’t go as deep as the Kodak Water & Sport.
5. Ilford HP5 Plus
Some people have a liking for black and white photography, and if you too are one of them then get your hands on this disposable camera by Ilford. The Ilford HP5 features a classic black and white HP5 plus film. It delivers superior quality images with great tones, contrast, and grain as compared to most of its competitors.
This camera comes with a 30mm lens with a shutter speed of 1/100 and aperture of f/9.5. The preloaded film offers 27 exposures and an adaptable focus range of 1m to infinity. The flash range is 3m or 10 ft. It works well in natural light as well as low-light conditions.
It is recommended that you use flash to brighten poorly lit or indoor spaces. This versatile model is a good choice if the quality film is your priority.
6. Lomography Simple Use Black & White
Want to try the classic black and white look? Look no further than the Lomography Simple use disposable camera that comes preloaded with Lomography Lady Grey ISO 400 film. One of the best features of this camera is that it can be reloaded unlike other disposable cameras. Once the preloaded roll has been used, you can reload it with any 35mmm film.
The camera comes with a built-in flash that allows you to click sharper pictures even in low-light conditions. The focal length it offers is 31mm with a shutter speed of 1/120 and f/9 aperture. Remember that the built-in flash takes about 15 seconds to recharge.
The only downside is that the focus range it offers isn’t a lot, so close-ups of subjects may be blurry. Whether you are exploring the city, capturing landscapes, going to a concert, or heading for a night out, this lightweight and the compact disposable camera will not disappoint you.
7. LomoChrome Purple Simple Use
The LomoChrome Purple disposable camera is preloaded with the brand’s Purple ISO 100 400 films, specially designed to produce pictures with deep contrasts. It is made with the same specs as its black and white equivalent, the only difference is that it is loaded with a different film.
It features 35mm film and shoots with a shutter speed of 1/120. It can be reloaded once the film is used and comes with a built-in flash. The lens offers a focal length of 31mm plus a focal range of 1m to infinity. This model is a fun and easy-to-use camera for clicking brightly colorful photos. Make sure to get this limited batch film if this aesthetic appeals to you.
8. Ilford XP2 Super Single Use Camera
This is another great model by Ilford, a UK manufacturer of photographic materials well-known for its black and white film and papers. The Ilford XP2 Super single use camera delivers low-grain, black and white pictures with fabulous contrast and toning. If the black and white aesthetic is your thing, make sure to check it out.
It performs incredibly well in daylight conditions, making it a good choice for shooting sharp landscapes or dramatic architectural images in an urban location. The additional plastic casing on the outside makes it a sturdy model that will hold up even under tough conditions of travel.
9. Kodak SUC Daylight 39 Disposable Analog Camera
Disposable cameras again started trending a few years back, and since then a couple of brands have released new and advanced models. One such model released recently is the Kodak SUC Daylight 39 800 ISO disposable analog camera. This camera poses a few limitations in terms of where you can shoot with it, but you’ll get a lot of opportunities to get the right shot with the 39 exposures it offers.
The exposures it offers are about a dozen more than what you’ll get with a regular disposable camera. This model offers an incredible 800 ISO film that makes this model a hit. It’s a daylight camera, which means you won’t get clear pictures if you use it to click pictures in low-light conditions as it doesn’t feature a built-in flash. However, it is an ideal camera for clicking clear pictures at outdoor events and parties.
10. Lomography SUC100CN Disposable Camera
This best disposable camera by Lomography is a compact and lightweight model intended to match the old analog cameras and offer its owner the freedom to explore and experiment. It is an ideal single-use camera for those users who do not like cameras with standard settings.
It features a rather unique wide-angle lens with a 31mm focal length as well as a manual focus that you can regulate at 1 m as the closest distance. It features a built-in flash, 400 ISO, a shutter speed of 1/120, and f/9 aperture. These settings are not very common in disposable cameras.
It is preloaded with a 35mm film and provides you three gel filters in different colors. These filters can be mixed together to form 6 interesting effects. The only downside is that the filters aren’t very convenient.
11. Lomography SUC100BW Disposable Camera
This is another great model by Lomography that also features color gel filters and is loaded with superb film. If you have an interest in monochrome pictures, then look no further than the Lomography SUC100BW Disposable Camera. It is installed with a high-quality Lady Grey 400 black and white film.
It can be used to click pictures of different genres and in varying lighting conditions. The capabilities of this camera are extended by an in-built flash that lets you shoot during nighttime as well. So, you can click sharp pictures even in the dark or under poorly lit conditions.
There are many photos you can click using its wide-angle 31mm lens with an aperture of f/9 and a fixed focal range of 3.3’ to infinity. It offers a great shutter speed of 1/120 seconds. It also features a viewfinder, which will help you frame the subject better. The only downside is that it contains insufficient grain. Other than that, it is a camera worth considering.
12. Weddingstar Disposable Camera
The last model on our list of best disposable cameras is manufactured by Weddingstar. This camera comes with Fujifilm 35mm film and features 16 exposures 200 ISO. It features a built-in flash with a range of up to 3 meters. Its camera shell can be easily recycled, making it an environment-friendly product. Each model is marked with a ‘Develop Before’ date to ensure the camera has not expired before use.
How To Use A Disposable Camera
You’re looking for the best disposable camera online, but perhaps you’re a newbie or it’s been a while since you’ve selected one. While the cost is cheap, using it correctly will lead to better and brighter photos. Whether it is used for clicking everyday pictures or as a backup to your camera, it can offer amazing results once you learn how to use it properly.
We are here to break down the learning procedure for you so that you understand its limitations. Mentioned below are some instructions on how to use a disposable camera.
1. Choose The Best Disposable Camera For Your Needs
Are you going to the beach or a water park? If yes, you should consider buying a waterproof or underwater style disposable camera. You need to make sure that the ISO levels are low enough so that your pictures don’t turn out overexposed.
If you’re going to be out in the sun, an ISO 400 speed film should be sufficient for you. For clicking pictures in the dark and perhaps to cover more fast-paced situations, opt for an ISO 800 speed film.
2. Learn How To Focus
You can easily learn to click clear pictures as there isn’t a ring to adjust the focus. You need to stand at least 4 ft back from your subject as even the best single-use cameras will not take a clear photo if you move in too close.
3. Know-How To Use The Flash Feature
If you’re getting the best disposable camera with a flash, make sure you know how to use the feature properly. With most disposable cameras, you can use the flash just by clicking a button at the front. The flash range provided by such cameras is 3 to 12 meters, so you need to position your subject within this range to get bright and clear photos. Use the flash for clicking pictures during nighttime or anywhere dark.
4. Hold The Camera Properly While Shooting And Keep Your Hands Steady
When you take pictures, make sure to keep the camera stable by holding it with both hands. Make sure you don’t cover the flash or the lens with your fingers by accident. Cup your hands around it to avoid fingers crossing in the wrong place.
5. Take The Finished Film To A Photo Lab For Developing Pictures
Most of the time, this process requires several hours or a day. It is recommended that you directly hand over the camera to a photo lab and let them remove the film instead of doing it yourself as you could accidentally expose the film to light. This would damage your pictures.
If you want to keep taking pictures, unfortunately, you’ll have to buy a new disposable camera, unless you purchase the Lomo. You will not be able to use most disposable cameras after processing. Hence, it is better to hand the camera to a photo lab and let them develop the film.
FAQs on Disposable Cameras
1. How Much Does It Cost To Develop Film For A Single Use Camera?
It costs about $14 to $15 to have the film in your single-use camera developed. With over four decades of experience, The Darkroom can be trusted with your cherished memories. You just need to place your order and mail your camera to them in order to get your film developed.
2. Can You Still Get A Disposable Camera?
Yes, you can definitely get a disposable camera online or at a local store such as Costco or Walgreens, depending on where you live. There are plenty of online options with great deals and Amazon offers you a lot of amazing options even for big events like weddings, family reunions, birthday parties, etc.
3. What Are Some Of The Best Disposable Camera Brands?
Some of the best disposable camera brands are mainstream brands that manufacture other kinds of cameras like Polaroids and Mirrorless cameras. Kodak and Fujifilm are some of the popular and highly trusted brands. Other companies that produce affordable disposable cameras include Lomography, Ilford, and Weddingstar.
4. Where To Buy Disposable Cameras?
Amazon is without a doubt our topmost recommendation if you want to buy the best disposable camera. Amazon is an online shopping platform that offers the greatest variety, and items are available at a great discount. If you have Amazon Prime membership, you get free delivery on all products, and sometimes the product arrives the next day itself, making online shopping more convenient.
If you do not want to order from Amazon, you can check out official websites of renowned brands like Kodak and Fujifilm and also read about specific products in detail.
Having Fun With The Best Disposable Cameras
Disposable cameras are portable as well as easy to handle, point, and shoot. They are low maintenance, affordable, lightweight, and a lot of fun to click pictures with. They are great to keep on hand for capturing spontaneous moments because they easily fit into pockets and don’t need to be charged.
You need to spend some time and money to develop the film, but the results you’ll get will be worth it. Digital cameras are definitely more reliable and offer higher resolution, but with the best disposable camera, you can capture the aesthetic of film photography.
There are a variety of disposable cameras online, so if you do not like any of the models mentioned here, you can explore more on your own. Just keep all the important factors in mind before adding any model to your cart.
So go ahead and slip a disposable camera into your bag or send one as a gift to someone close. All the best with the purchase!