January 22, 2019 / By tracy mikulec / In Camera Reviews,Film Photography,Photo Lab Blog

Disposable Cameras of 2019 – The Top Single Use Cameras Reviewed, Ranked & Compared

We test the top single-use cameras, new and existing, to see which took the best pictures.

Sometimes you just want to capture the moment and not get wrapped up in the technical side – aperture, shutter speed, focus, etc. That’s where disposable cameras come in. With their fixed shutter speed, aperture, and focus, they take the thinking out of photography and just let you live in the moment.

The term “disposable camera” often brings to mind a cheap camera you’d find hanging on the front of a drug store counter. A quick-grab, last resort that produces mediocre results at best. But that’s not entirely the case. When shot in the right settings, these cameras can be a really fun choice and can deliver surprisingly decent images.  So, we rounded up the eight best disposables on the market and shot them side by side.

Camera Rating (1-5)
Kodak Fun Saver ★★★★★ Color
Fujifilm Quick Snap ★★★☆☆ Color
FujiFilm WaterProof Quick Snap ★★☆☆☆ Color
Lomo 400 Simple Use ★★★★ Color
LomoChrome Purple Simple Use ★★★★ Color
JCH StreetPan Kassha ☆☆☆☆ B&W
Ilford Single XP2 Use ★★★★ B&W
Ilford Single HP5 Use ★★★★★ B&W
Lomo B&W 400 Simple Use ★★★☆☆ B&W

Don’t forget, The Darkroom does Film Developing for disposable cameras


Kodak fun saver single use disposable camera-8627Kodak Fun Saver

Despite being the most common and cheapest of the 8, overall, the Kodak FunSaver performed best.  It’s 800 iso color negative film has great exposure latitude making it much more versatile – it could shoot in open sunlight without blowing out the highlights but also did very well in low light.  Its grain is very subtle and has very pleasant warm tones.  All 8 cameras have plastic optics but the Kodak FunSave seemed to be sharper than the rest.  If you’re looking for cheap disposable cameras that produce great results, this might be the best choice.

See Images shot with this Kodak Fun Saver (see comparison samples below)


Fujifilm Quick Snap  single use disposable camera-8638Fujifilm Quick Snap  

Of all 8, the Quick Snap is the easiest to use.  It’s the smallest and has a practical flash switch that allows you to keep the flash on.  All the other cameras you need to press the button to charge the flash for every shot but this camera you can keep the flash constantly on by pushing the flash with up which will glow red when ready.  Having a good flash is important for this camera because has finer grain 400iso film which means need the flash for the lower lit scene, unlike the 800 iso cameras.  The Quick Snap is best used in open daylight with no flash or in low light with flash.  Its colors are nearly as pleasant as the rest – it often goes magenta for skin tones and whites.  If you’re looking for a cheap daylight camera that excels for landscapes this camera would be a great choice.

See images shot with the FujiFilm Quick Snap (see comparison samples below)

 


fujifilm quicksnap water proof disposable camera-8640FujiFilm WaterProof Quick Snap

This is the only waterproof disposable camera we tested.  With its 800iso grain film and no flash, you’ll only want to shoot it in daylight or underwater that’s being hit by light.  It produces better slightly better skin tones than the Fuji Quick Snap and does better in low light due to its 800iso film.  It’s obviously the best of the 8 cameras if you plan on getting wet but if you don’t plan on getting wet, we don’t recommend this camera.

See images shot with the FujiFilm WaterProof Quick Snap (see comparison samples below)


Lomography 400 simple use camera-8635Lomo 400 Simple Use 

This camera, along with the rest of the Simple Use cameras has some major differences than common disposable cameras- they can be reloaded with film and used multiple times which is super cool, they also have 36 exposure compared the rest which is only 27 exposures, and they have flash gels which can give you a wide range of unique flash effects.  The Lomo 400 cold comes with Lomography’s 400 color negative film has decent exposure latitude, relatively fine grain, and very pleasant tones.  The plastic optics produce a slightly softer image but a much more unique look than the traditional Kodak & Fuji cameras.  It also cost more than most disposable cameras but if you plan on reloading it will be much more cost-effective than buying a bunch of single-use cameras.


JCH StreetPan Kassha

JCH StreetPan Kassha

We were excited to shoot with the new Kassha disposable camera loaded with 27 exposure Japan Camera Hunter StreetPan 400 film. This film is known for its’ contrast and punchy tones that can look really good when properly exposed which is the major flaw with this camera… This camera has a fixed aperture of f/9 with a shutter around 125th of second which would be fine for daylight shooting but since this film seems to be darker/needs to be overexposed it produced many dark images. Even with the flash, it produced dark images on occasion. And on top of that, it’s 31mm lens doesn’t have a wide depth of field which produces blurry images from roughly 15ft to infinity (fixed focus 31mm lens). It’s sweet spot for focus and it’s fast is 3-5 feet. If you’re looking to shoot a B&W disposable camera we definitely recommend the Ilford & Lomography cameras over this one. We’ve included some image below that show the good and the bad.

See images shot with the JCH StreetPan Kassha


Lomography simple use lomochrome purple-8639LomoChrome Purple Simple Use

This camera is physically the same as the Lomo color 400 but is packed with a unique film, LomoChrome Purple 400 which is a mimics color infrared film in some ways.  The photos this camera produces are other-worldly.  It’s a fun camera and of all the Simple Use cameras this is the one we recommend most because LomoChrome Purple isn’t a cheap film to buy so it’s fun to shoot once then once the roll his done, take it out and load another 400 iso color negative film in the camera.

See images shot with LomoChrome Purple Simple Use (see comparison samples below)


Lomography simple use black and white camera-8632Lomo B&W 400 Simple Use 

This is the only black and white camera of the Lomo Simple Use cameras.  It’s packed with Lady Grey 400 which is a black & white film which has very noticeable but pleasant grain and decent tones but it falls short of the quality B&W film the Ilford cameras are packing so if you don’t plan on reusing this camera and you want black & white we highly recommend the Ilford disposables.

See Images Lomo B&W 400 Simple Use (see comparison samples below)


Ilford xp2 super 400 single use disposable camera-8637Ilford XP2 Single Use 

This 400iso B&W disposable camera is surpassingly sharp and is great for open daylight shooting but not in low light.  The XP2 film has a very fine grain, great contrast, beautiful tones, and can be developed as C-41.  It’s a great camera for classic nature landscapes and cityscapes, as well as natural light portraits.

See images Ilford XP2 Single Use (see comparison samples below)

Ilford HP5 Plus 400 single use disposable camera-8636Ilford B&W HP5 Single-Use

This camera is truly unique due to the fact that it has the classic true b&w HP5 Plus 400 iso film in it.  White the HP5 has more noticeable grain than XP2 the tones, contrast, grain, and exposure latitude are far superior – just look at the details in the shadows!  This b&w disposable camera is a great overall shoot that performs well in open daylight, low light without flash, and in low light with flash.  Of all 3 B&W disposables, this the one recommend most.  Even though you could reload HP5 film in a Lomo Simple Use, the Ilford plastic optics are still sharper.

See images shot with the Ilford B&W HP5 Single Use (see comparison samples below)
Interested in buying the Ilford HP5 Camera – Film Photography Project


Disposable Cameras Color Photo Comparison – Side by Side

A. Kodak Fun Saver27 exposure 800 iso film with flash
B. Fujifilm Quick Snap  – 27 exposure 400 iso film with flash
C. FujiFilm WaterProof Quick Snap27 exposure 800 iso film no flash
D. Lomo 400 Simple Use  – 36 exposure Lomo color negative 400 iso with flash
E. LomoChrome Purple Simple Use36 exposure with color negative 400 iso film with flash

Disposable Cameras B&W Photo Comparison – Side by Side

F. Ilford XP2 Single Use 27 exposure C-41 XP2 black & White 400 iso film with flash
G. Ilford HP5 Single Use27 exposure  b&w HP5 400 iso film with flash
H. Lomo B&W 400 Simple Use36 explore with Lady Grey 400 iso film with flash
     JCH StreetPan Kassha – 27 exposure JCH StreetPan 400 film with flash (Not included in comparison)

 

What is Lomography – Lomography is the style of pop photography based on the quirky cameras by the Austrian camera manufacturer known as Lomo

Other Disposable Camera Information

How much does it cost to develop film for a disposable camera?

It’s about $14 to have the film in your disposable camera developed. With over 40 years of experience, you can trust The Darkroom with your valued memories… just place your order online and mail us your cameras. Start your order.

Can you still buy a disposable camera?

Yes, depending on where you live, you can find them at a local pharmacy, Costco or a Walgreens. Of course, there are many online options for finding good deals and Amazon has options to buy in bulk… which is great for big events such as weddings, reunions, and parties… in fact, our lab will frequently get a box of cameras to develop from such events.

How do disposable cameras work and how is the film developed?

Coming soon

What is the best disposable underwater camera?

Coming soon

6 responses to “Disposable Cameras of 2019 – The Top Single Use Cameras Reviewed, Ranked & Compared”

  1. […] Disposable Cameras – The Top Single Use Cameras Reviewed, Ranked & Compared […]

  2. Scott says:

    Wow. Thanks for this. I always take a disposable camera as a back-up when I travel (I post the photos in the linked blog) and the comparisons here are really useful.

  3. Chris Ennist says:

    Wait, so you tested a waterproof camera by not taking any underwater pics?

  4. TJ says:

    I believe there is a typo in the side by side comparisons section, D and E are switched. The pictures from D sure look like the LomoChrome Purple 400 film and not the standard 400 film. Other than that thanks for the great write up!

  5. Victor says:

    I’ve used the Fujifilm Waterproof Quick Snap for summertime (water) use years ago.

  6. Graham says:

    Thank you for this content. It was exactly what I was looking for!

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