There are more than enough photo apps for smartphones. Between Instagram, Snapchat and countless others, it’s easy for anyone to snap a photo and then share it with their friends and the rest of the world, complete with a set of fancy filters and a sticker or two to boot.
Disposable Camera, a new app for the iPhone, is taking a different approach. Rather than letting users share photos more easily, the app prevents them from viewing the exposures that they took. Users pay $12.99 for a roll of 27 photos, and can then snap away. Once they’ve run out of exposures, all of the photos they took – which they haven’t seen – are printed out on photo paper and mailed to them.
Yes, it’s just like a disposable camera, in digital form.
Here’s a video that shows how it works:
The app is made by Photojojo, a company that’s very adept at selling physical products to camera-wielding hipsters, like instant film cameras and travel mugs that resemble lenses for a Nikon or Canon SLR. This is an app that appeals perfectly to that same demographic – people who want all the throwback fun of a disposable film camera without the hassle of actually getting it developed themselves.
Photojojo sent GeekWire a sample pack of the finished photos, and they’re real lookers – printed out on solid, matte stock. It takes 10 business days for a finished pack to arrive, so I haven’t received my own first roll yet, and that means it’s difficult for me to evaluate how accurate the colors are, since I didn’t shoot the sample photos myself. That said, the sample photos look and feel solid – more solid than a set of glossy images from a one-hour photo lab.
In my testing, it seemed like Disposable Camera is best used at an event, rather than as a replacement for everyday photographs. When I took my phone out with me to capture some sunset scenes at the beach, I constantly found myself flipping between Disposable Camera and my iPhone’s built-in camera in order to capture images that I could share instantly.
It’s also worth noting that users of the app will have to re-learn some of their old smartphone habits. When I’m wielding a manual film camera, there are certain cues that remind me to be judicious with my exposures, like having to wind the film after firing the shutter. On a smartphone, those don’t exist, which means that I have to resist my instinct to quickly fire off a few shots so that I can pick one that I like.
It would also be helpful if Disposable Camera had support for using the iPhone’s volume buttons as shutter buttons like the main camera app.
All of that said, this is a fun and novel app. Assuming the printing quality holds up, It’s a fun way for people to get photos without having to put much thought into their physical production.
Disposable Camera is available from the iOS App Store.
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