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Although I do own several cameras, from a couple of SLRs with a selection of lenses and filters thru to a point and click, with a digital camera on the wish-list in the near future, I still tend to use disposable cameras quite often. Now admittedly, they are not the cheapest way of doing things, often costing around the Ł7 mark, and that of course does not include developing and processing costs.
I recently went to a ceilidh (renowned for a good galumphing session) and wanted to take a camera with me, but didn’t have a camera small enough to fit into a trouser pocket that wouldn’t give me an unsightly bulge (is that a camera in your pocket, or are you pleased to see me?), and as I wasn’t wearing a kilt, I didn’t have a sporran to stick it in (I have found that sporrans are very disposable camera friendly unless you have got a hip flask in there of course...).
I went for the Fujifilm single camera, as it was cheaper (ATS 149) than the equivalent Kodak single use camera (ATS 199). For that, I got a 27 exposure camera, with in built flash, with an 800 ASA Superia film. For shooting indoors the flash was of course necessary and the flash, charged using a button on the front, takes about 4 secs to charge. The button on the front could be pulled out to activate the flash automatically – so that meant not having to set it between photos.
Thereafter it is a question of point and click, and then wind on (manually). Of course, if you are keeping the camera in your pocket, then I would advise not winding on the camera until you are about to take the next photo, as otherwise you may end of lots of trouser pocket shots if you are not careful.
I reeled of the film without any difficulty – friends wanted proof of certain people actually dancing this time round... I put the camera in for processing and got the prints back, and was generally pretty pleased with them. Admittedly the flash is a bit weedy – don’t try anything more than about 8 foot away (2.5 metres), but generally, coupled with the fact that there is a fast film in it (ASA 800 – generally very good if you are shooting in poorish light or using zoom lenses) this gives you perfectly good pictures. Of course though the price to pay is quite a high one, but the camera is pretty indestructible, almost idiot proof (if you discount the fact that some people take a lot of trouser pocket shots!) and very compact, then this is a very good bet for any drunken nights out.
It cost 6 quid for a double set of prints in overnight which was not too expensive, although 13 pounds for the whole experience is still quite a lot. However if, like some friends do, you carry one of these in your car, so that you can take shots in the event of an accident (this can really help speed up insurance claims etc.), this is a small price to pay for peace of mind.
I have used Kodak and Fuji disposables before now, and tend to stick to Fuji as they are cheaper than the Kodak ones, and tend to go for the 25mm film ones rather than the APS ones, as they are also cheaper, and generally for fun, no hassle photos find them a good buy. The prints I get back are really not bad considering how cheap the cameras are, although in the long term the expense factor is something to thing about.
NB The ratings below are very hard to apply to something as simple and uncomplicated as a single use camera.