Are disposable cameras really worth the trouble?

They’re a pain, but it’s easier than finding the perfect IG filter

Despite the fact the iPhone 6s has a 12 megapixel camera and records video in 4K, one of the best loved and most precious cameras remains to be the humble disposable.

As much as we love Instagram, sometimes the task of picking the right filter is just too much. At the end of the day, we’re only trying to make it look like it was taken on a film camera anyway, so why not cut out the middle man?


ironically this was taken on a DSLR

It’s understandable why we love them so much: disposable cameras have a sense of nostalgia about them, they remind you of the days when you were too poor to have a camera and camera phones weren’t a thing. They remind you of your childhood and being able to pick them up for 99p in your local pound saver store. So why do people love them so much?

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When you happen to meet one of your favourite DJs, be prepared for the photo to be very blurry

Other than the fact they’re super handy, can take cool, grainy, bright photos and mean you can leave your expensive digital camera at home, there’s something that’s extremely rewarding and exciting about getting your photos developed.

Getting handed that fresh envelope of photos can however be bittersweet. You’ve waited for months for these photos, you’ve carefully chosen what photos to take and which events to take the camera to. You’ve been extra careful in making sure the flash is actually on and when you ask people to take a photo for you, you give them a brief low down on how to use a disposable, even though everyone already knows.

So how is it that whenever I get my photos back at least a quarter of them are blurry, there’s always a few of random objects and peoples fingers feature in the corner of them?


Who even is this?

While the thrill of it comes with the surprise it brings, sometimes the surprise won’t be good. At all.  As horrible as it is, when you’re sitting there with your 24 shit pictures and your bank account is a tenner lighter after paying for the camera and developing, you can’t help but think, ‘shit why did I waste money on this when I could’ve bought 2 packs of K (cider, obviously) and had a sick night with just as many good photos to prove it?’

Who thought it would be a good idea to waste an exposure on a picture of empty bottles and whose fucking nipple is that?!


What a waste. Could it be passed off as abstract art?

Disposable cameras encourage a love/hate relationship but despite the wasted photos, money and emotional turmoil, we keep going back. Photo prints are great for decorating your dull, blue tac stained uni walls, you can frame them and give it to your friend as a cheap but thoughtful birthday present and if you’re keen to experiment and you can get some pretty sick effects from them.


Gun Fingers to the ready, luck is everything with disposables and this photo is pure evidence

Disposable Camera’s are like Nokia 3310’s: they’re big, they’re bulky, but they don’t tend to break and it still has battery when you most need it. At the end of the day we waste so much money on other pointless junk, why not waste money on the possibility of having a few treasured memories you can keep forever and look back on and think “that photo really is worth £10”?


You get the occasional gem that makes it seem worth it

We asked some fellow disposable camera enthusiasts how they feel about them and to show us some of their snaps.

Yanny Bethan Howells, Journalism and English third year

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“I love how you can take a snap, and you can’t see it to re-take it, so it adds to the authenticity of the photo. But they are so expensive, altogether with a camera and the developments it comes to like £15. When poor pictures come through, it’s so annoying, because you waited all this time and wasted so much money.”

Emma Nicol, Illustration third year 

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“I use disposable/film cameras because I won’t spent hours taking photos on nights out. It means I can’t look at them immediatley and think ‘oh thats awful try again. I getting photographs developed and having physical copies to keep. When people take selfies its kinda funny but also annoying as film/printing is costly.”

Cloe Barnes, graduate 

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“I get really excited about disposable camera photos but by the time they’re developed, there’s always random limbs and body parts sneaking in and ruining the photo.”

Hannah Ryan, Media and Journalism third year

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“I use them because it’s great way to keep memories without having to actively go out and print them out, also I only use them for a big event or holiday and I enjoy the anticipation of wondering what’s on them. But it annoys me when  they’re wasted because they aren’t that cheap to buy and only has limited number of photos so when that happens it’s really disappointing.”

Tanya Charteris-Black, Filmmaking third year

“After countless huge blurred fingers taking up an entire photo, my friends have taken to yelling at whoever is taking the picture when their finger inevitably covers the lens. This results in everyone in the photo having an annoyed / mid-speech look on their face, as its too late and the flash goes off anyway.

“From this i’ve learnt to not expect too much, in terms of the quality of disposables, as they’re often very hit or miss. Though, theres nothing funnier than trying to decipher what the hell is going, whose limbs belong to who, and who the hell is that stranger that you’ve found in one of your obscure, accidental disposable photos.”