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Johnny Wilson
  • Johnny Wilson

I found a 12 year old disposable camera in a junk shop...

Updated: Jan 14, 2021

... and I took some photos with it! Here's a photo of it from my Instagram!

So to give you some background, back in January last year, whilst looking around a junk shop in Nuneaton, I found an unbranded disposable camera that had an "process by" date of 2006 on there. There was no clues about make and manufacturer on there, all I had to go on was that it was ISO400 film, made in Germany and had a process by date of 2006, so by my reckoning it was anything from 12 - 15 years old. It was new, still in it's packaging so I figured it would still be halfway usable, so I brought it!

I felt sure that whatever photos I got from it would either be severely grainy, or really washed out, lacking in exposure e.t.c. but it cost 50p so I literally had nothing to lose! I carried it around for a while around Leamington and Nuneaton and took some photos, and when it was finished handed it in to my local Boots for development. I was GOBSMACKED when I got the photos back. Not only did they actually turn out, but they actually looked quite good! Here's a few examples:

I had the weather on my side, since most of the photos that turned out had been taken in very bright, sunny conditions, but even so, not bad for 12 year old film! I checked the negs after development and they were completely unbranded so I have no idea what make the film was inside it and the packaging wasn't giving me any clues. I assumed it was a supermarket, or chemist stock camera, but had nothing to work with. Either way, I was amazed it worked out. Not all the photos I took were usable but out of 26 I got 17 I was happy with. Here's the rest of the photos I took with it:

There is a common misconception that once film passes it's process by (or use by, or sell by e.t.c. e.t.c) date that it is useless. That is completely 100% not the case. I shoot expired film all the time. Mostly because I buy film and it sits on my shelf for ages before I get round to using it... but either way, as long as you are not bothered about getting completely perfect exposures with perfect colour balance, and contrast (and chances are if you are shooting film you won't be anyway) then it's perfectly acceptable to shoot expired film. I would encourage it, actually! Give it a try, you might be surprised with the results.

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