The 7 Best Disposable Cameras of 2023 | Travel + Leisure

Travel + Leisure / Reese Herrington

Do you crave the nostalgia of film photography but aren’t quite ready to commit to purchasing a proper point-and-shoot camera? Try a disposable option instead. Perfect for parties, vacations, and weddings, disposable cameras offer a lightweight and compact way to capture special moments that can easily be printed.

A disposable camera works in a very straightforward manner with pre-loaded 35mm film in a plastic body, a viewfinder to compose your image, and a button to take the photo. It typically also has a flash for lower light situations and, after you take a photo, you’ll need to wind the advance wheel over to the next frame. Part of the fun is waiting for your photos to be developed, prompting you to think more carefully about each image you take. Here are the best disposable cameras for adding ease (and nostalgia) to your next photo capturing experience.

Our Top PicksBest Overall:Kodak Funsaver Disposable Camera ISO-800 at AmazonJump to ReviewBest Color:Ilford Ilfocolor Rapid Retro Single-use Camera at B&H Photo VideoJump to ReviewBest Black and White:Ilford XP2 Super Single Use Camera at AmazonJump to ReviewBest Underwater:Fujifilm FujiColor QuickSnap Marine at AmazonJump to ReviewBest Multi-pack:Kodak HD Power Flash One-time Use 35mm Disposable Camera at AmazonJump to ReviewBest Splurge:Amber Tungsten 35mm Disposable Film Camera at B&H Photo VideoJump to ReviewMost Unique:Lomography LomoChrome Purple at Adorama.comJump to Review

Best Overall

Kodak FunSaver 35mm Single Use Camera


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It’s perfect for both indoor and outdoor use and easy to use, too.

What to Consider

The flash is manually operated.

We love the compact size of the Kodak FunSaver disposable camera as well as the sharp photos and bright colors that it produces. Perfect for capturing those candid moments and extra special events, the pocket-sized, single-use camera is ideal for almost any occasion, from birthdays to vacations to weddings. 

The ISO 800 Kodak Max film’s high exposure range makes this preloaded camera ideal for a wide array of lighting settings. Images come out clear with excellent contrast, but you’ll need to remember to click to turn on the flash as needed. Simply advance the wheel to continue taking pictures — which makes the FunSaver easy for photographers of all skill levels and quite fun, indeed.

Price at time of publish: $23

The Details: 35 mm | Color | ISO 800 | 27 Exposures | Flash

Best Color

Ilford Ilfocolor Rapid Retro Single-use Camera


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The film produces saturated hues for when you want that extra pop of color.

What to Consider

It has a softer focus so you probably won’t achieve super sharp photos.

The awesome retro look of the Ilford Ilfocolor Rapid Retro Single-use Camera is just the tip of the iceberg. This single-use camera produces warm, bright colors with solid contrast and performs in low-light conditions with use of the built-in flash. The flash strength is lacking a bit though (it maxes out around 9 feet), so it’s best to use this camera with that in mind and shoot at closer range or in natural light. That said, we love film photos for their imperfections and vintage look, and this one delivers on that front. The camera’s exceptionally lightweight design makes it a solid option for vacations, concerts, and any other events where you don’t feel like lugging a larger, non-disposable camera. 

Price at time of publish: $18

The Details: 35 mm | Color | ISO 400 | 27 Exposures | Flash

Best Black and White

Ilford XP2 Super Single Use Camera


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It produces crisp images with great contrast of light and shadows.

What to Consider

It doesn’t do well in low-light settings.

Elevate the vintage level of your film photography game with the Ilford XP2 Super Single-use Camera with built-in flash. It performs best in natural light settings, so it’s perfect for landscape, city, and portrait shots with plenty of light. This camera is great for any skill level and produces high-quality, black-and-white images with a fixed focus. If used for portrait photography, it should be noted that a minimum of 3 feet is required for sharp focus on the subject. It operates like any other disposable camera, with a viewfinder, a charge button to activate the flash, and an advance wheel to take your next shot. A major highlight is the safety interlock function, which prevents blank frames or accidental double exposure. 

Price at time of publish: $20

The Details: 35 mm | Black + White | ISO 400 | 27 Exposures | Flash

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Best Underwater

Fujifilm FujiColor QuickSnap Marine


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It makes for unique, vintage-style shots at the pool or beach — with no concerns about damaging your phone or reusable point-and-shoot camera.

What to Consider

There’s no flash on this model so it’s not meant to be used indoors or at night.

Beach and pool days are practically begging for the Fujifilm Quicksnap 800 Waterproof Disposable Camera to come along. Best for sunny days, this single-use camera comes with a waterproof casing and a sizable shutter button, making it easy to operate while swimming around or playing at the beach. Take it snorkeling or to a summer pool party, or even skiing and snowboarding. From its ability to capture all the action up to 35 feet beneath the surface or in snowy, winter weather, this disposable camera can hack it in wet conditions but note that it’s meant to be used outdoors in daylight for the best results. 

Price at time of publish: $24

The Details: 35 mm | Color | ISO 800 | 27 Exposures | No Flash, waterproof

Best Multi-pack

Kodak HD Power Flash One-time Use 35mm Disposable Camera


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It comes in a pack of 10 and has a solid flash range of up to 14.5 feet.

What to Consider

If you stand within 4 feet of your subject when using the flash, you’ll risk overexposure.

The 10-pack of Kodak HD Power Flash Disposable Cameras is party-ready for your special events like weddings, birthdays, or graduations. Place one of these gems on each table and let guests go to town shooting candids and fun moments on film. With the power flash and ISO 800 film combination, it can be used indoors and outdoors, though it will perform best in natural light. With 10 cameras in this multi-pack, it’s a fantastic option that won’t break the bank for bigger events where everyone can participate in capturing the memories.

Price at time of publish: $193

The Details: 35 mm | Color | ISO 800 | 27 Exposures | Flash

Best Splurge

Amber Tungsten 35mm Disposable Film Camera


View On B&H Photo VideoWhy We Love It

It produces moody color photos with a cinematic aesthetic and is great for nighttime shots.

What to Consider

It’s pricier than other disposable camera models.

We think the Amber Tungsten 35mm Disposable Camera is well worth the splurge for the unique vibe it produces. The Amber Tungsten 800 motion picture color negative film will give your images a cinematic look with moody, muted hues, and excels in lower-light situations. Daytime shots accentuate blue tones and nighttime captures highlight the reds in a glowing style. The built-in flash automatically recharges after each use and the lightweight design means you can easily tote it around in your pocket or throw it in a bag where it won’t take up too much space. For movie-like film photos with a dreamy feel, this one is our top pick.

Price at time of publish: $26

The Details: 35 mm | Color Negative | ISO 400 | 27 Exposures | Flash

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Most Unique

Lomography LomoChrome Purple


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It produces photos with a purple hue for a psychedelic effect.

What to Consider

You’ll be limited to only shooting with the false-color rendering film.

Let your creative juices flow when shooting with the LomoChrome Purple disposable camera. Known for transforming everyday colors, the photos end up with a trippy, dreamlike effect. Not everything will be purple, but it will give the overall tone a purple hue and enhance other colors when blended. It has a built-in flash and a super cool trio of color gels that can swing over the flash for added effects. A wide-angle, 31mm lens is versatile for capturing anything from cityscapes and landscapes and everything in between. For a unique disposable camera that allows you to tap into your artsy side, this is a solid choice.

Price at time of publish: $25

The Details: 35 mm | Color | ISO 400 | 36 Exposures | Flash

Tips for Buying a Disposable Camera

Decide what film type best suits your needs

Most disposable or single-use cameras come with built-in 35mm film, in either 27 or 36 exposures. Some differ in ISO, typically either 400 or 800, but also sometimes 200. ISO determines how sensitive the film camera will be to light, and, in turn, what type of settings it will work best. If you’re planning to use your disposable camera at an indoor event like a party or wedding, it’s wise to choose one with ISO 800 film as it will perform better in low-light situations. Higher ISO does produce photos that appear more grainy, but that adds to the old film look. If you plan on using your single-use camera outdoors in the daylight, a lower ISO will work well with the brighter setting, so your photos don’t look washed out. 

Things like shutter speed and aperture won’t factor in as much as ISO since they’re fixed settings on disposable cameras, with most having an aperture of f/10 and a shutter speed of 1/100s. That means the aperture is at a mid-range to control how much light is let into the fixed lens and the depth of field. The shutter speed is the length of time the shutter is open, affecting brightness and how motion is captured. At 1/100 of a second, disposable cameras have a good middle-of-the-road setting for basic photography.

Prioritize special features

Even disposable cameras can have special features like underwater capabilities, auto-flash, and unique coloring effects. A waterproof disposable camera with protective, watertight housing will be your best bet for winter adventures in snowy conditions or trips to the beach and pool parties. Most single-use cameras come with a flash, usually with a button that you hold down to charge it for a few seconds to activate it. (Make sure to keep the flash off if you’re shooting something with a reflective surface like a mirror as it will bounce back and cause a flare in the image.) Some disposable cameras made by companies like Ilford and Lomography offer black-and-white or color-tinted film options as well. 

Consider the development process

Once you’ve taken all the photos in your disposable camera, it’s time for the most exciting part – getting them developed. There are many companies where you can send your entire disposable camera via mail to get developed and they will mail you the negatives, and any prints you’d like to order (but keep in mind prints are sometimes more expensive than the actual disposable camera). You’ll also get access to the digital files so that you can download them to your phone or computer. The Darkroom is a great service for this, or you can do a Google search to see if there are any places near you that can develop film in person.

Frequently Asked QuestionsWhat is ISO count?

Rather than overwhelm the user with technical tidbits, single-use cameras come with a fixed shutter speed, focal length, and aperture (aka the amount of light the lens lets in which determines how much of the image is in focus). The ISO, which refers to the camera’s sensitivity to light, is determined by the film in the disposable camera you choose; the higher the ISO count, the more light is let in, and the better photos from nighttime or indoor parties will turn out.

When is it better to use a disposable camera versus a reusable camera?

It’s really up to your preference, but choosing a disposable camera over a reusable camera can be fun for special adventures, trips, and events. Part of the fun is the nostalgic vibe as well as the delayed gratification that comes with film photography — since when you finally see the photos, you get to relive the moments all over again. 

Beginner photographers might choose disposable cameras as they’re lightweight and easy to travel with, simple to use, and can be discarded after use. If you’re going on a tropical vacation, you may choose to buy an underwater disposable camera for snorkeling if underwater photography is not something you’ll do on a regular basis. 

A reusable camera, on the other hand, allows you to reload with a variety of films and operate more of the controls like aperture and shutter speed. Reusable options are also great for those who enjoy shooting film photography on a more regular basis.

How long do disposable cameras last?

Most single-use cameras come with an expiration date, so it’s best to check when purchasing, just in case. Generally, they last about two to three years, and storing away from heat, humidity, and sunlight will help their longevity. 

For the best results, develop your film within six months. Photos can still be developed years later, though they may have more imperfections like color banding and a grainy appearance. Make sure to store undeveloped film in a cool, dark place such as the refrigerator (yes, really!) to preserve the images.

Can disposable cameras be recycled?

Yes, they can be recycled. Most film-developing companies will dispose of your single-use camera after developing your film with their chosen recycling company.

Will airport screening damage disposable cameras?

When traveling with a disposable camera, it’s best to keep it in your carry-on luggage or (even better) in your personal item bag. Checked suitcases go through stronger X-ray machines that could damage the film. Typically, cameras with film that has 800 ISO or higher have more of a risk of being damaged when going through the X-ray machines. It’s wise to take it out of your bag when going through airport security and ask the TSA agent if it’s safe to go on the belt, or if they can hand-inspect it.  

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

A travel photographer and film enthusiast herself, Lauren Breedlove used her personal experience with disposable cameras and shooting in various conditions around the world to write this article. She also scoured the internet, researching and selecting the best single-use cameras.

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