Disposable film cameras offer a nostalgic way to capture special moments, and while the best disposable cameras come with easy point-and-shoot usability, their performance can be unpredictable — which is why it’s so important to choose the camera that best fits your needs. Top disposable cameras should have an ISO of at least 400 and any features that make them well-suited to the environment in which you plan to use them, such as a flash for use in a dim room or waterproofing for shooting near or under water.
To make sure you're getting a quality camera for your needs, pay close attention to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) number (aka film speed), which describes the film’s sensitivity to light. Higher numbers equal higher sensitivity and brighter pictures, which is why most disposable cameras come with relatively speedy, multipurpose ISO 400 or ISO 800 film. ISO 800 is faster and performs well in most light, while ISO 400 (and lower) generally does better with brighter light or the help of a flash.
Though the type of film in disposable cameras is limited, you can get a feel for picture quality from the manufacturer’s description of color saturation (or lack thereof) and recommendations about the best time of day to shoot. Most disposable cameras have a flash to combat dim lighting, but if you'll be using your camera outdoors during the day, make sure the flash isn’t automatic, since you may not need it. It's typical for disposable cameras to be able to focus on anything further than 1 meter (that's 3 feet) away, but other features like waterproof housing, fun filters, and easy reusability are less common, so look for them specifically if you need them.
Now that you know what to look for, here’s a list of some great disposable cameras that can help you unplug and inspire you to display your photos offline.
1. The Overall Best Disposable Camera
The Kodak FunSaver is loaded with the iconic brand's 800 ISO film, which means the ISO is high enough to handle capturing anything from outdoor event photos to candid snapshots around town, and even indoor scenes (with the convenient manual flash). The camera comes with 27 exposures (aka the number of pictures you can take) and should produce bright, punchy colors.
One helpful thing to note is that the onboard flash requires “charging” like many typical disposable cameras. That means you’ll need to press the flash button and wait a few seconds until it lights up (to indicate that it’s ready) to make sure it goes off when you expect it to. Some Amazon reviewers report mixed success with the flash, which could be more of a quirk of the technology than anything else. That said, other reviewers found success using this single-use camera for a variety of occasions, including weddings, vacations, and family events giving it an overall rating of 4.7 stars.
Positive Amazon review: “My son was going on an outward bound trip for 3 weeks and we didn't want to send an expensive camera that would possibly come back broken or not come back at all... So, we opted to send these. They took decent pictures, even a few truly beautiful ones for a one time use camera. Great!”
2. A Disposable Camera With On-Demand Flash
If you’re looking for another option from a big name in the photo world, this Fujifilm disposable camera has a leg up on other models: You can turn the flash off if you change your mind right before you snap a photo. Most single-use cameras don’t let you turn back once the flash has loaded. If you decide to use the flash, it offers the benefit of continuously charging (which means no down time waiting for it to reload in between pictures. Despite the flash, Fujifilm does recommend using the camera outdoors for the best results, which makes sense since the camera's Superia X-TRA 400 ISO film is on the lower end of the ISO range you see with most disposable cameras. Several Amazon confirm that the film is sufficient to take impressive photos in cloudy weather, however, and some reviewers also praise the retro graininess that gives pictures some throwback charm. The manufacturer also lists the focus range as 1 meter (that's around 3 feet) to infinity, which means everything should be in focus, so long as you're not super close. You can expect 27 exposures per camera.
Positive Amazon Review: “I love using these for vacation or events! I'm really into the grainy look and effect that these give me. [...] They definitely work best with a lot of natural light and if you are using the flash, make sure you aren't too far away or else the flash won't catch you.”
3. A Waterproof Disposable Camera
This waterproof disposable camera is ready to capture underwater memories — thanks to a completely waterproof body that is safe to use up to 35 feet under water. But even if you don't plan to take the camera on a swimming excursion, you'll be happy to know its waterproof body means you can use it in the rain or snow, so feel free to pack it when you ski or hike.
For those who do plan to use the camera in the water, the device has a few helpful features: a wrist strap to keep the camera close by while you swim, a larger lever instead of a button to take photos, and an underwater focus range of 1 to 3 meters (or about 3 to 10 feet) on bright days and in clear water. Outside of the water, that focus range extends to anything beyond 1 meter (about 3 feet). This camera comes with Fujicolor Superia X-TRA 800 film but doesn't include a flash. That said, with ISO 800 film (twice as much as the Fujifilm Quicksnap Flash above), it should manage in lower light conditions such as shady days or daytime shots indoors regardless. Grab it in a pack of two, or in a 10-pack if you really want to stock up.
Positive Amazon review: “The camera works exactly how it's described, and it's very simple to work with. [...] If you want to take pictures in water without using your phone or camera with a waterproof case, this is a perfect thing to get!”
4. A Reusable Disposable Camera With Gel Filters
If you decide you really enjoy using this Lomography disposable camera, you can keep using it. This camera is easy to reload once you’re finished with the first roll of Lomography Color Negative ISO 400 film, which Lomo characterizes as producing bold colors and a retro look. This camera comes with 36 exposures, which is a step up from the typical 27 you’ll find in most disposable cameras, and the focus range is a generous 1 meter (that's about 3 feet) to infinity, which means group shots and basically anything you capture other than a close-up snap should come out clearly.
The camera features a built-in flash that requires you to hold it for 15 seconds to charge. Once it’s charged, you can use one of the other unique aspects of this disposable camera: the set of gel filters that come in yellow, magenta, and cyan. Simply place them over the flash one at a time or together in different combinations to create fun filter effects.
Positive Amazon review: “This camera is so fun and is exactly what I wanted! I love that it is reusable and I don’t have to keep buying disposable ones. I didn’t have any trouble reloading it. I only used the color filters once but they’re easy to use. I recommend this camera and I cannot wait to see the photos!"
5. A Disposable Camera For Black-And-White Photos
Are you a fan of black-and-white photography? This Ilford XP2 disposable camera offers a perfect opportunity to dabble in a low-pressure way. Ilford is an authority in the world of monochrome photography, so you’re in good hands with this single-use camera. Each camera offers 27 exposures from preloaded Ilford XP2 Super 400 (ISO 400) film, which Ilford describes as producing a fine grain and good contrast. In other words, it’s a good basic all-around black-and-white film. The manufacturer also specifies that this camera has enough focus range to shoot clearly from 1 meter (about 3 feet) to infinity, which means you can shoot everything from memorable group shots to landscapes. This model comes with one camera or in a 3-pack.
Positive Amazon review: “As a digital photographer, I love taking disposable cameras with me on vacations as a creative medium. This camera is so much fun! I love how the photos turned out and will definitely buy another when I travel.”