Ditch the Disposable Camera: An Easy Guide to Film

Gen Z has always been fond of anything vintage. We grew up listening to our parents’ music, watching old movies, and we have this longing to incorporate those elements into our lives now that we’re older (I say as I listen to one of my records from my record collection). One of the biggest comebacks we’ve seen in recent years has been disposable cameras. Disposable cameras are a great way to get that vintage film look while putting in the least amount of effort. In the age of quick and accessible technology, the last thing most teenagers want to do is develop and scan a roll of film. As an avid fan of film photography, I get the appeal. Many times when I’m out with friends I don’t have the energy to use my manual camera, let alone develop my film in a darkroom.  Kodak M35 Camera Kodak

For those who are unfamiliar with the process, it's a disposable plastic camera that once used, most people take to CVS or Walgreens where they dispose of the camera body, develop the film in about two to three weeks, and receive printed pictures. However, there are many downsides to using disposable cameras, both from a sustainability perspective and an economic standpoint, both of which have an easy fix. First of all, support local businesses! Instead of going to CVS or Walgreens to wait weeks to not even get your negatives back, go to your local photo store (yes, they still exist) and get your film developed in a matter of days for relatively cheap. The biggest problem with disposable cameras, however, is plastic waste. Caring for the environment doesn’t stop at plastic straws, plastic cameras cause environmental damage as well. So, what can we do?

Olympus camera Photo by Nick Schreger from Unsplash

All of these problems have an easy fix, and that is investing in a point-and-shoot camera. Go to your local second-hand store, or eBay, and get a fully functional point-and-shoot camera for less than $25. Or if you want to purchase a new one of your own but don’t know where to start, check out some affordable options here. Every time you want to use your camera, just load in a roll of film and let the camera do the work, all you have to do is point and shoot. A roll of film costs just as much as your typical disposable camera, making this a higher quality affordable option. If you enjoy shooting film but don’t want the hassle of using a manual camera, a point-and-shoot is the perfect option for you. 

By using a reusable camera, you are not only practicing sustainability, but you’re becoming even more familiar with the film process, and what’s more vintage than that? So ditch the disposable camera and say hello to your new best friend, the point-and-shoot camera.