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Johnny Wilson
  • Johnny Wilson

Reloading a Disposable Camera

Updated: Jan 14, 2021

This month I've been messing around with an underwater disposable camera that I bought on the cheap, the photos that I got out of it the first time around were... not the best... I blogged about them here, but when buying it I always planned to take it apart and mess around with it somehow. So after finishing the film, I broke open the underwater casing, carefully took the camera apart, and reloaded it with a roll of film. Here's a photo of it from my Instagram account:

I had a roll of Fujifilm Fujicolor C200 kicking around that expired in September 2013 so I unraveled it and fed it back into the camera to play with the camera a 2nd time around. I was fairly certain it would light leak like a leaky boat, the plastic casing had holes in it previously covered up by the cardboard cover, and the joins between the front and back of the casing had gaps which I covered up with black tape, but half the fun of the results was knowing that the film would be exposed to light leaks anyway! My thoughts were that using expired film coupled with a leaky camera would make for some interesting results? I've shot a lot of expired film in the past and had mixed results but usually aside from an increase in grain slightly the results turn out alright. So how did the photos turn out? Well considering I was using a reasonably sub-par disposable camera, even by disposable camera standards, not that bad! I knew a bit more about how the lens was going to operate and I took a carefree approach to using it, thinking that if I didn't work out then at least I tried. But I actually got some good photos! Out of the 27 exposures on film, I got 11 photos. I had to waste a bit to get the film to fit in the back of the camera, and some of them didn't work out but here are the ones that did:

The results are nothing close to what I might get with my Olympus OM10 or my Lomo LC-A+ but that's mostly because I have an actual usable viewfinder! But on the whole, considering this was a £3 camera reloaded with an expired roll of film, the fact that I got anything is a bonus enough! I'd always liked the idea of dismantling a disposable camera and reloading it shoot again. So do I recommend doing this? Oh god no. Absolutely not. This was a complete waste of money. You can pick up a very good point and shoot film camera from any good charity shop, sometimes for less than a £1 and you will get much better results! I have an Olympus Trip 500 which cost me one pound and it's a great little camera. Why did I do it then? Because I wanted to see what results I got from shooting a film in a recycled disposable camera! The light leaks are desirable here, but it could have gone much worse.

Will I do this again? Absolutely! Not with the same camera though, mostly because I broke it opening it up again to retrieve the film... but I'm going to do this again and next time I'll use a better brand disposable camera like a Fuji or Kodak one or something. I'd love to reload a roll of black and white film into a disposable camera but minimise on the light leaks.

Long live disposable cameras!

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