I tested the most popular disposable cameras on Amazon

I tested the most popular disposable cameras on Amazon

11 mins read

One of the latest trends in photography isn’t digital, it’s film. Scrolling through Instagram, you’re bound to come across several photos with film aesthetics. While you can use a filter to achieve a more retro look, the best way to get film photos without investing in a real film camera is to use a disposable camera. Disposable cameras, also called single-use cameras, are more affordable, putting them at the top of some Gen-Zers’ list when it comes to night out essentials.



Made popular in the 80s-00s, disposable cameras have experienced a recent cultural resurgence alongside 2000s iPods and MP3 players. I remember my parents buying them for family vacations when I was younger. I never thought I would constantly be stocked up on disposable cameras as an adult. Disposable cameras are a great way to stay “in the moment” on a night out. Using one is simple: point, click, wind up for the next photo.

I chose five of the top-selling disposable cameras on Amazon and put them to a test on a night out in London.


Disposable cameras aren’t just good for a night out. I’ve been to several weddings where there’s a disposable camera at every table for guests to capture the night from their point of view. Gen-Zers even do whole photoshoots simply using disposable cameras. With this surge in popularity, there are dozens of disposable cameras available in stores and on Amazon. Unfortunately, not every camera is made the same. There’s nothing more disappointing than spending $20 on a camera and another $15 (give or take) on developing the film only to discover 10 of the 27 photos you took actually came out good.

In an attempt to decide what cameras are really worth buying, I chose five of the top-selling disposable cameras on Amazon and put them to a test on a night out in London. The next day I went to my local photography store, London Film Lab, and got the film scanned and emailed to me. Let’s just say the differences between each camera are obvious. Here’s the five cameras I tested ranked from best to worst.



film cameras (1)Kodak Disposable Camera 35 mm

Kodak

True to its iconic reputation, Kodak stands out among the pack as the best disposable film camera to buy. Kodak’s 35 mm disposable camera, which uses 800 ISO film stock, costs $22 and includes 27 photos. 22 of the 27 photos all came out perfect, with a handful being too dark and one or two not developing properly at all. One of the biggest things to note, and this goes for all disposable cameras, is that using flash, more often than not, produces better pictures than no flash.

My biggest complaint about the Kodak is that the flash on the camera can be a bit difficult to use. The flash button is on the front of the camera and the only way for it to work is if you hold down the flash button as you take the photo. Every other camera includes a flash you switch on or off without having to hold it down as you take a photo. Other than that, the Kodak camera will definitely be my go-to next time I pick up a disposable camera.


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Fujifilm QuickSnap 27

fujifilm

Fujifilm ranks as a close second to Kodak. Whenever I buy disposable cameras, I always buy Fujifilm cameras. The brand, also known for making the Instax line of cameras, dominates the film space. The camera, which uses Fujicolor Superia 400 film stock, costs $22 and includes 27 photos. 21 of the 27 photos came out clear with the others being too dark, grainy or not developing at all.

Unlike Kodak, the Fujifilm flash can be switched on and doesn’t need to be held when taking the photo. The film is located in the front of the camera, and you switch it up to turn it on and down to shut it off. A feature I love is the little red light on the top of the camera that indicates if the flash is on.


Ilford XP2 Black and White

ilford xp2

I never bought a black and white film camera before, but I will now. Ilford’s black and white disposable camera, which uses 400 ISO film stock, costs $26 and includes 27 photos. About 20 of the 27 photos came out. The ones that didn’t develop were all taken without flash. The black and white adds a fun aesthetic touch to the photos that other cameras don’t add.

The Ilford camera is simple to use. To use the flash on the front of the camera, you just need to slide the bar to the right. I don’t know if I will use a black and white camera for every single photo I take in the future, but if that’s more what you’re looking for, then you can’t go wrong with the Ilford XP2.

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Ilford retro color

Ilford retro (5)

Ilford Retro Color

$19 $20 Save $1

Ilford makes several different disposable cameras, but the Ilford retro camera has the highest ratings on Amazon, so I chose that one to test. The camera uses 400 ISO film stock, costs $20 and includes 27 photos. Around 16 of the 27 photos developed clearly, with the other photos being grainy, too black or not developing at all.

Overall, I thought the camera was okay, but if you had to choose between this camera and the Fujifilm or Kodak, I would go with the latter.

The camera works the same as the Ilford XP2, where you slide the flash bar on the front of the camera to turn the flash on. Overall, I thought the camera was okay, but if you had to choose between this camera and the Fujifilm or Kodak, I would go with the latter.


Weddingstar Disposable Camera

weddingstar

Weddingstar Disposable Camera

One word: awful. The Weddingstar disposable camera didn’t have high ratings on Amazon, but cameras such as the Weddingstar are often bought in bulk by brides and grooms for guests to use at weddings, so I thought I should test one out. The camera costs $23 and includes 20 photos. 1 of the 20 photos actually did develop. Every single photo turned out green, and you could barely make out anything going on in the pictures.

He even made a point to show me that the film used in the camera isn’t even photo film but rather repurposed cinema film.


When I went to drop the camera off at the film store, the man working behind the desk said people drop these cameras off all the time after weddings, and they never develop properly. He even made a point to show me that the film used in the camera isn’t even photo film but rather repurposed cinema film.

Beware of brands that sell cheap-looking disposable cameras in bulk.

If you’re looking to invest in disposable cameras for your wedding or next big event, splurging on Kodak or Fujifilm will definitely be worth it.

FAQ

Q: How do I get my film developed?

To get your film developed, I recommend searching for local film stores near you. Surprisingly, there’s a lot more than you would think. You can also go to a CVS or other photo processing chains, but you’ll have to wait longer and won’t have as many options as you would if you were to go to a film store.


Q: Should I get scans emailed to me or physical photos developed?

When you go to get your pictures developed, you’ll often get the option of having the scans of the film emailed to you, developing the physical photos or both. I always prefer just getting the film scans emailed to me, mainly because I like to post my pictures on Instagram. If you’re looking to make a scrapbook or anything similar, then you should get the physical photos sent to you or ask for a combination deal of email scans and prints.

Q: Where can I buy a disposable camera?

You can buy disposable cameras at any film store near you or on Amazon.

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