Retro Look at Disposable Cameras

Nina Ortiz

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There are many beautiful and life-changing memories along one’s lifetime. In hopes of cherishing lifelong memories, humans tend to take pictures to document these exact moments. Those images can be of family, friends, scenery or anything associated with a memory. This is, of course, thanks to the camera, but the fact of the matter is that smartphones have caused photography to change the human approach to capturing life’s many special moments. 

Nowadays, trying out a disposable camera at least once can be a very valuable experience. The feeling of taking spontaneous photos and the nostalgic effect of using the camera itself creates new perspectives. It can also help others gain a better understanding of how memorable experiences were captured before smartphones and digital cameras were invented. 

 The developments and changes of a modern camera have changed drastically over the past couple decades. Although many mainstream companies, such as Apple, have introduced new technology, including high-tech cameras that allow users to filter photos, popular trends have overtaken older cameras such as the disposable camera. 

The camera company Fuji, introduced a trendy new gadget called the disposable camera in 1986. This is a compact, single use, box shaped camera, capable of snapping a total of up to 27 photos. These photos must be developed once finished. Disposable cameras can still be found in a variety of stores, including: CVS, Staples, Best Buy, Target, and more. 

Using the Fujifilm Quick Snap with Flash, my challenge began. The rules were as follows: use the camera for a week and take photos of only the Novato High Community. The most difficult aspect of the entire week was not being able to see the picture after taking it. Modern technology, such as iPhones, has the capability to delete, view, and edit photos after being taken. Older cameras, such as the Fujifilm Quick Snap, does not allow the viewing, deleting, or editing of photos after being taken. 

Using this disposable camera around Novato High was a refreshing, exciting, and glorious experience. There were many different reactions from Novato High students and teachers throughout this process.

Sophomore Olive Bredo shared her reaction to the disposable camera, and how it changed her perspective of modern technology.

¨It was not expected and I like the aspect of it. I would normally expect just a normal camera or phone, but seeing the disposable camera kinda reminded me of when I was little and used to own one. I liked it, and it was a fun experience,” said Bredo. 

As the week continued, many interesting characteristics of using a disposable camera were noted. These characteristics included the use of flash, travel experience, and developing process. They upheld a very important role in the photography process. Unlike a modern smartphone or digital camera, there are numerous factors which create a large difference in how the photos are taken. 

This specific disposable camera came with a shutter button, flash button, and advanced wheel, which were very important differences to get used to. When snapping pictures, it is most practical to keep the flash switch on. The Fujifilm Quick Snap is included with a constant flash, and a red-glowing button. This red button pops up, once the flash is turned on and ready to use. Having a good flash is very important, due to the finer grain 400 ISO film compared to a modern 800 ISO film camera. This means that there is a need for flash while using the disposable camera, due to the lower lit scenes. When snapping pictures in open daylight, the Quick Snap is best used without flash. In lower light, the Quick Snap is best used with flash. 

Using the disposable camera only around the Novato High Campus was very challenging because finding willing students and teachers to take part in this experiment was tougher than expected. In some cases, students would only be willing to take part in this experiment if their photos were not shared publicly, or if their friends were apart of this experiment as well. The Quick Snap was a very easy grab-and-go camera, for on the road travel. 

Another Sophomore, Rhys Friend, explained his first reaction and opinion on the disposable camera.

“When the pictures were taken, I thought of how old fashioned it was. Yet, after I held it in my own hands, I realized how cool it was. Being able to take photos and print them into a physical form is pretty awesome. This experiment even persuaded me to buy my own,” said Friend. 

After taking 27 photos, it was time for the developing process. Once finished with the camera, places such as CVS or Walgreens, are willing to ship out the disposable camera in order to obtain the photos taken. After being shipped out, the photo developing process can take up to 4 weeks to develop and ship. The photos can with hold a variety of costs, ranging from $12 to $18. Some drug stores do allow in-store developments for an extra cost. Although this is true, the developing stores in Marin do not have developing rooms and only allow the shipment process. 

In conclusion, the Fujifilm Quick Snap disposable camera is a very fun and exciting experience, which was totally worth the wait. Using a disposable camera should be experienced at least once, especially by high school students. After using a disposable camera and snapping unexpected images, obtaining the finished pictures to keep forever is totally worth the wait.