Home Cameras/Lenses The curious case of the disposable Tri-X camera

The curious case of the disposable Tri-X camera

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Towards the end of last year, Kodak launched something of an oddity — a disposable camera loaded with Tri-X film. At the time, I thought it a very strange combination — a professional quality black and white film in a plastic body with plastic lens and basic controls. Who would want such a beast when it’s just as easy to slip a cassette of Tri-X into one or other of those film cameras (not necessarily Leica) that we all have cluttering our shelves?

But, I suspect, we aren’t the target audience. I’m not sure what that is, actually, but there must be people around who fancy a trip into nostalgia with something other than a digital and don’t own an old film camera body and lens. For not a lot more than the the cost of the film, this could be the perfect toe-in-the-water experience.

Review of the Kodak Tri-X Camera

It was therefore interesting to read Abby Ferguson’s review of the Kodak disposable at Popular Photography. As she says:

“The camera itself is a standard disposable — meaning single-use–option. It has a plastic, fixed focus lens that can focus as close as roughly four feet. While it technically focuses to infinity, subjects are sharpest up to about 10 feet. The Tri-X disposable also has a fixed f/10 aperture and a single 1/125th of a second shutter speed.

“All of the fixed settings are one of the reasons disposable cameras are so approachable and suitable for those who have perhaps never shot film before or don’t have photography experience in general.

“The only setting you have control over is whether or not to use the flash. It powers on with the push of a button on the front, and when it’s ready, a red LED on the top of the camera will light up to let you know. It charges up quickly, so you aren’t stuck waiting on it to get ready. It is pretty powerful, making it possible to take photos indoors or in low-light situations, which wouldn’t be possible otherwise due to the 400 speed ISO and f/10 aperture.

— Popular Photography magazine

Abby displays some quite compelling images from the little camera and overall she is impressed with what you get for the money: “You can produce attractive images on this thing without much skill or knowledge, so if you are looking to dip your toes in the film waters, this camera is a great way to do so”.

You can buy the Kodak Professional Trip-X camera for £18.25 here at Amazon. I’m tempted to give it a go. Why don’t you buy one and share the images with Macfilos readers? At under £20 it would be churlish not to order one this very moment…

Let us know if you want to take up the challenge


14 COMMENTS

  1. One of the reasons I won’t buy one and won’t take my Tri-x out of the freezer to use on one of my many 35mm cameras — the cost of developing and scanning is close to the price of the disposable mentioned.

    film is now to expensive to be a casual hobby

    • Yes, that did occur to me too. But I thought I wouldn’t spoil a good story with a few facts…

  2. The review is as exciting as the last Leica one, but expensive, specially for young lomographers (who others would like a b&w plastic disposable?). You can buy a Kodak instamatic for 3 euros. Yes, it hasn’t flash, but for 5 I bought an underwater Fuji HDsomething (flash included) that still use every summer. By the way still didn’t this one: batteries and a b&w roll into it right now

  3. I’ve just put two rolls of HP5+ in for ‘developing only’ and it was £28 !!!!

    Oh, and I just bought 5 rolls of Kodak Porta 400 for …. Wow !!

    • Update. I spoke with the lab today, they overcharged me developing only as they mistakenly thought I wanted scans as well. I’ll use the refund (£14) to get two more films developed. Not such a bad end to the week 🙂

      • I developed the APX 100 roll I placed yesterday in tha Fuji; just ready to cut and archive. Easy and very cheap. A flat scanner always with me: great working tool, great investment

      • I currently pay £7 per film for a develop and traditional contact sheet service (£6 if I send two films or more). I then scan any good negatives myself on a Plustek 35mm film scanner. I’ve settled on Agfa APX 100 and Kentmere Pan 400 as my chosen B&W films. This all helps to keep my costs relatively low – although not as low as they could be if I did my own processing.

        • Yes, that sounds about the same as what I’m paying. I also use a plustek 35mm scanner now so much better with the Vuescan software.

          One day I might have a crack at my own developing but right now I don’t really shoot enough film to warrant it.

          For B&W I favour HP5+ but if I can get it, generally prefer to shoot colour on Kodak Portra 400.

  4. I thought the whole idea was to use fewer diposables, not more? No more waste? So this seems to me a really bad 20th century idea…

  5. I was in a local camera store for about 20 minutes recently recently and, while I was there, two young people in their 20s came in and bought the identical simple Agfa film camera for €38.99. Details below:

    ” A vintage-inspired camera from Agfaphoto, with built-in flash, which can be loaded with your choice of Colour or Black&White 35mm film over and over again. The camera has a fixed-focus wide-angle lens with an aperture of F9.0, and a built-in flash for night-time shooting or indoors.

    For Colour or Black&White images
    Suitable for all ISO 200/400/800 films
    Optical Lens: 31 mm, F=9, fixed focus
    Shutter Speed: 1/120s
    incl. Bag and Carrying strap
    2x AAA Batteries & 35mm Film required (sold separately)”

    I should have asked the shop owner how well they were going, but I must assume that they are ‘the thing to have’ among young folks where I live. They come in black, red or brown. I suspect they use them for ‘special’ photos and their phones for everything else.

    William

  6. Personally, I do not understand this option other than it depresses me that these people get to vote. It does not make economic sense or environmental sense. Beam me up Scotty! However, I do feel that the government should not micromanage people but I would not want to be on the debate team defending this category of people.

  7. The comeback of disposable film cameras is real. In the US you can find them (together with instant cameras) in hip lifestyle stores like Urban Outfitters. I dropped off a roll of film this morning. The girl before me dropped of 3 disposable film cameras…

    • Same thing today, dropped off one roll of film, the person before me had dropped off 3 disposable film cameras, so I asked, mostly parties and weddings apparently, about 20-25% of all film the lab develops comes from disposable film cameras…

      • Crazy (what they do with the cellphone tho). Weddings should be covered with crappy cameras depicting that perhaps love is also just a matter of light. Last time I got disposable camera was in 2006

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