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You occasionally come across them at collection fairs: disposable cameras. Ever available in various shapes and forms and in countless packages.
An ideal collector item.
The disposable camera was a reaction to the regular analog camera. In addition, the user loads the camera with a film, shoots the film full, removes the film, has it developed and printed and then buys a new film, after which the entire ritual is repeated. The founder of Kodak, George Eastman, realized early on that it should be easier. He sold his first Kodak camera from 1888 under the motto: “You press the button, we do the rest.” In addition, you buy a camera including film, shoot the film full and send the camera back to the factory. Then you get your own camera back with a new film. This principle was put into practice again a hundred years later with the Single-Use or Disposable Camera as it became popularly known.
In 1986, Fuji released the first disposable camera, the ‘Utserun-Desu’ camera. Already in 1987 Kodak followed with his own model, the ‘Fling’, containing the relatively small 110 film with which the ‘Utserun-Desu’ camera was also equipped. The photos of these cameras were of poor quality. Following Fuji, a year later, Kodak introduced a disposable camera with a larger 35mm film that delivered better quality.
The success of the disposable camera was mainly being able to photograph without an expensive camera. This made it very suitable for use by children and for photography in places where the better camera suffers too much, such as the beach. The great success of the disposable camera also caused problems. They are waste after use.
The 197 million disposable cameras sold in 1995 resulted in a worldwide waste of about 100 million batteries, 1,000 tons of paper and an estimated 14,000 tons of plastic. The industry has recognized this from the start. Already in 1991, Kodak started a recycling program.
In the course of time, more and more types of disposable cameras came on the market. There are cameras with and without a flash. Kodak even developed a portrait camera and a telephoto camera. The underwater camera with its watertight housing and the panorama model that Kodak was the first to launch was also successful.
Shortly after the introduction of the Quicksnap, Fuji became aware of the commercial possibilities of the exterior of this camera and soon supplied disposable cameras in special versions with advertising texts for third parties, such as chain stores and travel agencies. Other manufacturers followed. Disposable cameras were launched in the Netherlands with advertisements for the Free Record Shop, Neckermann and Amsterdam Airport Shopping Center, among others.
To stimulate sales to children, various cameras have been released with cartoon characters such as Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, the Lion King and Aladdin.
The now defunct photo store chain of 1-Hour Super Photo had a wonderful campaign in the mid-nineties in which eight different cameras would be released with figures from the well-known cartoon strip Suske and Wiske. The promotion was unfortunately not successful, because it stopped after the release of the third camera. With this promotion, the large group of collectors of Suske and Wiske paraphernalia was targeted. The number of collectors of Single-Use Cameras is limited.