I’ve always been (imo understandably) apprehensive about disposable /single use cameras. The gamble for me was never usually worth it, especially with the extensive collection of cameras that I already have!
That being said, there really is something exciting about not knowing a camera, and figuring out its limits and strengths.
While in Cardiff during the summer, we happened to be in Urban Outfitters. Not a place I usually shop, however I’ve found them to be the cheapest place to pick up Polaroid 600 film in person! While picking up instant film, I came across an Ilford XP2 loaded disposable camera.
The camera is made by Harman/Ilford and is loaded up with their C-41 process Ilford XP2 Super 400 ISO film. It’s a great film that I’ve shot a few rolls of over the years. It has relatively smooth grain structure, and being a 400 ISO film, it can be shot in varied lighting.
The camera is dead simple to use, your only controls being a film advance wheel, flash charge button, and a shutter.
Everything else is pre-set and cannot be changed. These new “limits” can really test a photographer’s creativity and is something I’d recommend everyone does at least once.
Shooting this camera really made me appreciate the understanding I’ve gained from years of practice and study. When you no longer have the ability to adjust the camera to your needs, you are then forced to work around the camera’s needs. In my case, that meant using the “Sunny 16” rule to make sure I wasn’t wasting my film.
That being said, most if the images that came out of the camera were decided wholly on composition and timing. Without the stress of exposure controls, I was able to focus on framing and had to just rely on the available light for the rest.
The camera did have a built-in flash, however I found that it was very harsh on the subject. I later realized when I went to charge the flash that it had actually gotten damaged by rain, as I’d kept it in a pocket on my EDC bag, which was not water-sealed. It didn’t affect the images or cameras functions apart from the flash setting.
If you ever see one of these cameras in the wild just remember: it’s not the best camera on the market, but it’ll really test you, and that’s not a bad thing!