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In this digital age, there are still some places I won’t bring my beloved digital camera. Whether your client is embarking on a river-rafting adventure or traveling to an unfamiliar city where toting an expensive camera becomes uncomfortable, you can suggest inexpensive and practical alternatives. While the simple point-and-shoot disposable camera is still a top seller, camera makers also offer more creative options. I took five cameras for a test drive to see what developed.
Back to BasicsThe Fuji Film Fun Snap (ISO 400) is an inexpensive, no-frills camera that does the trick when photographing outdoors on a sunny day. At night, I found that the combination of film speed and flash was less effective at illuminating the subject than the other disposable cameras. Retails for about $7.
Higher Quality?The Kodak HQ (ISO 800) in the gold box promises maximum versatility and better action shots. Compared to the Fuji Fun Snap, which retails for half the price, both cameras produced identical photos when shooting outdoor, daylight pictures, but the HQ excels when photographing low-light night photos using the flash. As far as capturing action, the 800-speed film decreased the blurry trails produced when shooting a fast-moving subject, but unfortunately not enough to make a real difference.Retails for about $11.
Glamour From a Bygone EraThe Kodak One-Time-Use Black and White (400 ISO) camera offers the nostalgia of years gone by. I found that the clarity and contrast of the photographs were on par with the other disposable Kodak cameras. And face it — we all look more glamorous in black and white. Retails for about $9.
Get CloserThe Kodak Zoom (ISO 800) brags that it’s the only disposable camera with a zoom. But the novelty quickly wares off once you realize there is only one increment of magnification. This enhancement is so marginal; it feels like you’re only a couple of steps closer to the subject. While the photos taken without the zoom were sharp and crisp, the photos taken with the zoom were slightly blurred. Overall, I advise keeping the extra four bucks and using your feet to move a little closer. Retails for about $12.
Water and Electricity Don’t MixThe Kodak Water and Sport camera is built to be waterproof up to 50 feet and rugged enough to survive a substantial fall. I took this camera along on a snorkeling trip off Maui. The rubber wrist strap is indispensable, and the oversized film-advance knob allows cold, wet fingers to turn it with ease. While the quality of the image is directly related to the depth and clarity of the water, for the most part my pictures came out flat and blue even in shallow water. Still, this gadget is the best option for clients going on an underwater adventure.Retails for about $13.