Disposable cameras were a massive part of the ’90s and early-2000s culture. Before we all got cameras in our pockets that went everywhere with us, it’s how many of us recorded our lives. Birthday parties, days out, nights on the town, or just hanging out with friends, you could be assured that at least one person had one with them. It would often be the next day (or maybe weeks if we were lazy) before anybody saw the images.
While they are still out there, they’re not as popular and way more expensive than they used to be. But one company thinks they may have a solution to bring back that feeling of shooting those old-school disposable cameras. The Flashback ONE35 (back here) is a digital non-disposable disposable camera. It’s an interesting camera with a retro appearance and some interesting features inside.
“The soul of a film camera reborn in a digital era”
Flashback ONE35, created by Kelric Mullen and Mackenzie Salisbury and currently running on Kickstarter, is modernising the feel of using a disposable camera. Except, it’s not a disposable camera. Disposable cameras have gained in popularity again recently, despite their higher prices. The goal of Flashback ONE35 is to eliminate the type of product waste created by disposable cameras, while providing similar functionality. As such, it has some interesting choices in both its design and functionality.
On the outside, it looks like a regular disposable camera that many of us of a certain age might have actually used. On the inside, though, it’s all digital. It’s reusable, rechargeable, and its plastic components are made from recycled plastic. What makes it different from other digital compact cameras, though, is its operation.
No LCD, 27 shots per roll, get your photos after 24 hours
Its outward appearance looks very authentic, right down to the detached viewfinder, film winding dial and built-in Xenon flash. It really does want to provide that disposable camera feel when you use it. And even without having actually used one, I can believe that it probably does. It helps you to focus on what’s actually going around you on instead of messing around with camera settings.
But to complete the experience, the Flashback ONE35, like real disposable cameras, only takes 27 shots per “roll”. Once you’ve shot the roll, you’re able to transfer it to an app on your smartphone. You won’t be able to access those images right away, though. Oh, no. You have to wait a full 24 hours for the app to “develop” your photos before it will let you see them.
A non-disposable disposable
The camera charges via a USB-C port which allows for updates to be applied to the camera’s firmware. This means that it can be updated as the company receives feedback from its users and wants to implement new features. The USB-C port also charges the camera’s internal rechargeable battery which the company says “will last for years to come”.
Much of the work after you shoot the photo is done within the smartphone app, which is also easily updatable by the company. The app currently contains some built-in film simulations, similar to those found within Fuji cameras, to emulate the look and feel of certain retro film stocks. Currently, it contains #flashbackclassic to simulate Fujifilm Superia and #flashbackmono, a monochrome look with a lot of contrast.
The company says that the film simulations aren’t just a filter but are based on the chemical nature of real film. They say it “constructs the photos from individual grains instead of pixels, giving an authentic retro look!”. New film types may be added to the app in the future based on user feedback.
Almost ready for prime time
Flashback ONE35 has seen seven iterations of prototypes according to the Kickstarter campaign. It’s currently awaiting wireless communication standards certification and the app requires a little polishing. It also needs to be submitted to Apple and Android’s respective app stores. Mass production has also begun, with the commencement of the tooling process. So, it’s pretty much almost ready to go.
I don’t think I’ll be backing the campaign personally, but I think I might have to pick one of these up when they go retail!
Price and Availability
The Flashback ONE35 is currently running through Kickstarter. Pledges begin at AU$125 (around US$83) and cameras are expected to begin shipping in August – yup, only two months from now. You can find out more about the Flashback ONE35 on the Flashback website, Instagram and TikTok feeds.