5 reasons to buy a film camera instead of a disposable one


In recent years, there has been a resurgence of people making movies. There is something appealing about the art of analog photography that you just don’t get with digital cameras. The element of surprise and the potential to be completely wrong makes it both exciting and a little intimidating, yet so many people are investing in film cameras and / or ditching digital altogether.

Disposable cameras are one of the most popular types of film cameras for those new to photography. The best disposable cameras are easy to use, relatively cheap to buy, and don’t require any prior knowledge of ISO, shutter speed, or aperture to work. The quality of the images you get with the disposable cameras isn’t amazing, but it’s kind of the charm, too. I’ve never quite figured out why we love the throwaway aesthetic so much, but I’m guilty of it too.

When I was in my freshman year of college, I religiously bought disposable cameras for parties, festivals, and vacations, making sure the photos I used them for were memorable. As soon as I used up the film roll I would go to my local developer to get it processed – and more often than not I would pay the extra to get it done within the hour so I didn’t have to wait any longer. long to see the photos.

These days I have ditched disposable cameras and gone for a more planet-friendly way of filming. When the conversation around the issues of plastic waste and single-use waste came into the spotlight, I wanted to do everything possible to reduce my personal contribution to the problem. I started shopping in zero food waste stores, stopped using straws and also invested in a semi-automatic film camera.

The initial cost was a bit higher than buying a cheap $ 9 / £ 7 throwaway, but overall well worth it. I’ve also now expanded my film camera collection to include a Nikon FM2 and a Canon AE-1, but when I don’t want to think about the settings I need, I ask for my trust in Konica Z-up 110.

Sure, disposables are always a lot of fun and they have their place, but if you shoot a lot with them, it might be worth investing in one of the better film cameras. Here are five reasons why it would be beneficial (for you and the planet) …

(Image credit: James Artaius)

1. It creates less waste

The fact that it’s called a disposable camera is a bit misleading, as most film processing companies will actually send the camera in for recycling. Using an automated machine, the cameras are broken down into separate components so that they can be sent for recycling. The plastic bodies are then crushed, melted, and remoulded into a new camera body. All the recovered components are also reused, but not all can be recycled – some pieces have to be put in the trash. The process itself also uses a lot of energy, which may not come from renewable sources.

2. You can be more creative

If you invest in a good film camera, you have no limits on the type of film you can use. Okay, you have a limitation that it has to be 35mm film, but you can experiment with shooting in color, black and white, or even try a creative film that gives your footage a completely different look. Brands like Dubblefilm make some really interesting films that give your footage subtle undertones or even rainbow colored light leak effects. Check out our guide to the best 35mm film to find out what’s on offer.

3. It could save you money in the long run

Unfortunately, movie prices have increased so much recently that you can’t find movies as cheap as they were a few years ago. However, you can often find wholesale buy offers on sites like eBay where if you’re lucky you can get it for $ 5 / £ 5 or less per roll. You’ll still have to pay a development fee, which can vary widely depending on where you’re going and whether you want physical prints, digital copies, or just the negatives.

(Image credit: Hannah Rooke)

4. Your camera will be part of the memory

If you invest in a film camera and take it with you everywhere, it will start to be a part of the memories it captures. I keep my film camera on a long cord so I can wear it around my neck or across the body, so I’m ready to use it anytime. My camera has been around the world with me, seen some of my favorite bands, and captured some of the best moments of my life. It might be “just” a camera, but once you’ve used it enough, you won’t want to part with it.

5. Better quality images and more features

Just because the footage is better doesn’t mean you lose that cinematic aesthetic we know and love. On the contrary, you can achieve this even more easily if you buy the right kind of film. Although disposable cameras have a built-in flash, that of semi-automatic film cameras is often more powerful and therefore more useful. It’s also very likely that they’ll come with a self-timer mode, which means no one needs to be left out of group shots.

Of course, if you want to shoot but don’t want to pay for the processing, you can invest in one of the best instant film cameras like the Fujifilm Instax SQ1 or the Polaroid Now +. It should be noted, however, that while you won’t have to pay any development fees, the movie is more expensive and overall it will likely work the same – only you won’t have the excitement. recover all your photos in one. go!

Whether you decide to buy a traditional 35mm SLR, a retro film camera or a modern 35mm such as the Kodak M35, you can be sure that it is a worthwhile investment. Film cameras have changed dramatically over the years, but even today modern full-frame digital cameras are based on the 35mm sensors of analog cameras.

Film photography will always have a place in my heart no matter how advanced mirrorless cameras are, because at the end of the day you just can’t beat the original form of photography.

Read more:

The best retro cameras
The best film scanners
The best film cameras


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