Disposable Camera

What Is a Disposable Camera?

If you want to start photography, you need a camera. But what type of camera is best for a beginner? Should you aim for a professional camera, such as a DSLR, a mirrorless camera, or a medium format camera, from the beginning? Should you start with a compact camera? And maybe the most important question is, should you start with digital or analog photography? Well, a disposable camera is an affordable way to answer all these questions.

What Is a Disposable Camera?

A disposable camera is a single-use basic film camera. Instead of taking out the film and taking it to a photo studio to develop your photos, you take the entire camera to the photo studio. They print your photos and throw away the camera.

Photo by bady abbas on Unsplash

Disposable cameras have a fixed lens with a fixed focal length and work at one aperture and one shutter speed setting. The ISO value depends on the film inside. Therefore, all you have to do is decide on the composition and press the shutter release button. However, you need to make sure that the light and focus distance are right.

Why Do You Need a Disposable Camera?

Although it may seem a disposable camera doesn’t have too much to offer, it is actually a good camera for a beginner. First of all, you don’t have to deal with all the settings of a professional camera. You are limited to the disposable camera’s built-in settings. And limitations help you learn.

Without the option of previewing your photos on a camera screen, you are forced to think through each photo. You will pay more attention to light and composition. And you will immerse in each photo with the same curiosity and engagement. Because you have a finite number of frames, each of them becomes important. And then you get to see your photos printed, which also helps you notice your mistakes and learn from them.

Fujifilm Quicksnap Flash

Disposable cameras are designed for general-purpose photography. Most of them have a wide focal length (around 30mm), a middle-range aperture (around f/10), and a relatively fast shutter speed (around 1/100 of a second). As a result, they are versatile and easy to use on everyday subjects. They also provide a broad range of films, such as black and white films, vintage look films, and high ISO films. With a small investment, you can tackle many types of photography and see which one suit you best.

Ilford Ilfocolor Rapid Retro Edition – retro look disposable camera

Last but not least, nowadays you can find reusable disposable cameras. You still have to take the camera to the studio for developing the photos, but the studio recharges it and gives it back to you. Furthermore, you can find reusable cameras that have a built-in flash, are water-resistant or provide more settings.

AgfaPhoto LeBox Ocean 400 – waterproof camera for underwater photography


Learning photography is not about owning the newest and most expensive camera model. It’s about finding your artistic voice and manner of expression. It’s about creating visual stories and infusing them with your personality and thoughts. Therefore, a camera with limited features can teach you much more about yourself and your art than a professional camera. Try a disposable camera and let the simple process of taking a film photo mesmerize you.

Cover Photo by Joshua Tsu on Unsplash

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