Tuesday, April 03, 2007

But Seriously

Heh - I thought I'd let that one simmer a bit for effect. I did find out that the blog still has readers, which is good to know!

Here's the thing about disposable or 'one-time-use' cameras -- from what I can tell, they are just about the most common film cameras in use by the general public these days (collector-users aside) and as far as I know are one of the two main things keeping film alive and on the market.* One-time-use cameras, as you can guess, are made cheaply to be used in situations where you don't have a regular camera or wouldn't want to risk using or losing one. They also seem to be in use by people who haven't made a commitment to a 'real' camera for one reason or another, and just need a quick snap. Hm.

At any rate, I just grabbed one at the corner drugstore along with a sweatshirt when we were getting ready to march in the very chilly St. Patrick's Day Parade on Market Street in San Francisco last month. I didn't have high expectations of the thing, it was just meant to be a backup for our digital in case the batteries went out in the middle of the parade.

To be fair, they do vary in quality and some are actually reasonable alternatives to regular compact film cameras at, say, the beach or on a hike. We handed them out to our kids on our last Disney vacation and they got some pretty decent shots with the Kodak version that has an Ektanar lens and also with an Agfa disposable. But you definitely get what you pay for in this arena, and the blobby high speed film coupled with a plastic lens gives you about what you'd expect. On the other hand, if you're looking for the old 'plastic camera' effect (eg Diana, Holga etc) then that's certainly an easy and inexpensive way to go! Yes, I'm sure that's why I look like Fatty McPorkchop next to our startlingly tall and handsome Mayor Gavin Newsom in the picture I had our friend take of us... notice I haven't posted that one...

* The other factor keeping film available for our little mechanical friends, besides the surprising popularity of disposable cameras is, of course, the movie industry. I'm afraid that once that juggernaut of an industry turns the corner to digital then film will accelerate its decline to near-extinction. And yet, there is some hope... As long as people keep using film I believe it will be around in one form or another, just harder to find and more expensive. And maybe Costco won't develop it any more. I don't think that's too far off the mark. Well, they still sell oil paints and canvas, don't they?


  1. I think that you are right on about film -- it'll almost certainly be around, if only as "art supplies." Who knows what the quality will be like... with Kodak, Ilford, and Agfa scaling back and many smaller film makers out of business, it may only be the Hungarians and the Russians keeping film available ten years from now.

  2. I beg to differ. Slightly anyway. I think with the increase in digital, there is a massive movement back to film. I do agree with the previous comment though that film may be relegated to art movements.

    From my own experience and talks with local camera shops and friends, as the availability and ease of digital increases, so too does the nostalgia for film - a good example of this would be the growing attraction to Holga and related cameras.

    I myself just purchased an Electro 35 MC (which was how I found this site), and regularly shoot on a Pentax SPII, despite recently purchasing a fancy digital. In fact, buying the digital has increases my interest tenfold in the 35mm format...

    Oh and by the way, I'll be checking back regularly so you gained another reader :D

  3. Anonymous5:12 AM

    I think with the increase in digital .