Did you forget your camera? Did you get your expensive digital camera wet? Do you just need a camera to take a few snapshots? Want to turn your young kids loose with an inexpensive camera? Do you want to try a film camera again? Instead of getting a disposable camera, you might check out the Walgreens Re-usable 35mm Camera. As long as you bring the camera back to a Walgreens 1-hour photo lab for film development, they will reload the camera for you with new film. The camera comes preloaded with ISO 400 speed film for 27 exposures.
The camera itself is a fairly simple contraption. A silver plastic box with a fixed focus plastic lens, the Walgreens camera is nothing fancy. It has a built in flash (that can be turned off) and has a bright but unmarked viewfinder. A sticker on the back of the camera reminds users that their subjects must be at least four feet away and that the flash is good for illuminating subjects from four to ten feet away. The 400 speed film is good for indoor and outdoor situations.
While this camera is no threat to your sophisticated SLR camera, it actually does take fairly good pictures. Theew problem may be that photos from this camera are too good. In this era of lomography, a little vignetting, some light leaks, and bent corners might be a good thing. However, there are still a few playful things that you can do with this camera. For example, you can figure out how to hold a colored transparency over the flash or you can hold a filter over the lens to achieve interesting effects. I wouldn’t take this camera apart for fear of voiding the two year warranty or disrupting the stream of free film. The real challenge of this camera lies in composing a shot using the viewfinder.
While I’m waiting to finish the film in my newest free film for life camera, I’ve been pleased with the pictures from these Walgreens cameras in the past.. This camera is a much better buy than similarly priced digital cameras like the $10 Vivitar 3-in-1 Mini Digital Camera or even the $20 Aries 3-in-1 digital camera. At this price level, film simply yields better pictures.
Overall, this cheap little camera is easy to use and takes acceptable snapshots. If you aren’t into photography a just use it to take snapshots from time to time or if you want to try a fixed focus camera, the Walgreen Free Film camera is economical and a cinch to use. It is also an excellent alternative to disposable cameras.
Other Articles by this Contributor:
Vintage Camera Review: Minolta SRT-201 35mm Film SLR Camera
Vintage Camera Review: Canon AF35M II SureShot Autoboy 2 35mm Film Camera
Digital Camera Review: Vivitar Vivicam 7022