Disposable fun

A forum I frequent has been running a disposable camera challenge where each participant can enter up to three photos taken with a single-use camera. I didn’t have a disposable laying around, so I bought myself an Ilford XP2 model especially to take part ( I had planned on getting the HP5+ variant, but the shop didn’t have them).

I’ve used it on three occasions – in Sheffield on the day I bought it; in London when visiting for a work meeting; and in Sheffield again this weekend just passed.

The camera itself is (or was – it’s been destroyed presumably when the film was developed) a very lightweight piece of kit with a snazzy red and white striped design. It feels like it would smash into a million pieces if dropped on a hard surface. Feature-wise, it has a viewfinder, lens (30mm f/9), flash activation button, shutter button, and a film-advance wheel. And that’s your lot.

In operation there’s not much to do other than frame the shot through the basic optical viewfinder, click the shutter, and wind on to the next frame. The frame counter is reversed so you can see how many shots remain. The flash is advisable for dim conditions – I took several frames in what appeared to be decent light in St. Pancras railway station and they’re all pretty much useless.

In terms of the results produced, they’re pretty much as you’d expect from a disposable camera with a plastic lens – soft at the edges, but with acceptable sharpness in the centre of the images. Of the 28 frames I eked out of the roll I probably have half-a-dozen that I like, several more that are ok, but nothing to write home about, and the rest are underexposed or just badly composed – I think I had a bit of a tendency to ‘snap’ images with this camera rather than taking my time to find better pictures with it. That said, I’m really happy with the first two of the five shots I’ve posted here today, and the others aren’t bad either.

I can’t honestly say I’ll bother with a disposable camera again – even if the competition is run anew in future – especially given the other good cameras I have, but it was a good experience nonetheless.

So, here are five of the photos I took with the camera.

This one is my fave of the bunch. It’s not a sharp as it might have been had I used a different camera / lens, but I’m really happy with the result. This was taken at the Barbican Centre in London

FILM - There's no such word as Barbican't

Another one I really like. It’s mostly negative space, but I think it works well. This is Blast Lane near Sheffield city centre.

FILM - Blast Lane subframe

This golden taxi sits atop the cab firm’s offices on Abbeydale Road in Sheffield.

FILM - Taxi

The lens on the camera had a tendency to flare in certain conditions, here rendering the figure with a ghost-like haze.

FILM - Barbican ghost

And finally, another shot from Blast Lane where a dmaged bicycle lay (I presume) abandoned next to the tunnel.

FILM - Buckled

Anyone else gone the lo-fi disposable route?

Ilford XP2 single use camera.

Taken in April and June 2019


Through the trees and the graves

A path through Sheffield General Cemetery. The chapel lies at the end of this path and the band that I posted a picture of recently were playing there as I took this photo.

FILM - General Cemetery

Canon Sure Shot Z135 & Ilford HP5+.

Taken on 27 April 2019


While walking through the old General Cemetery last weekend I could hear loud music emanating from somewhere. It turned out to be a band playing by the columns of the Samuel Worth chapel.

The cemetery opened in 1836 and was closed to burials in the 1980s. It became heavily overgrown but has been undergoing restoration to certain key buildings and other areas (including the chapel, where this photo was taken, which is now used as a venue for events). The overgrown parts of the cemetery are an important habitat for various local species, and also make for some wonderful photographs.

FILM - Trio

Canon Sure Shot Z135 & Ilford HP5+.

Taken on 27 April 2019

Grovsenor House

This is a side entrance to the HSBC building in Sheffield. It’s a new structure that hasn’t yet been occupied which stands on the site of the old Grovsenor House hotel which was demolished a couple of years ago.

FILM - Grosvenor House

Yashica Mat 124 G & Kodak Ektar.

Taken on 25 April 2019

Balls of steel

I can’t remember if I’ve posted a photo of these on the blog before, but this is a new shot taken this past weekend. There are several of these water features around St. Paul’s Place in Sheffield, all different sizes and clustered in groups or individually. They are probably one of the most photographed things in the city, along with the “Cheese Grater” car-park (which can just be spotted encroaching into the top of this image).

There’s a vague ghost of a selfie to be spotted in the reflection. 🙂

FILM - Quite the pair

Yashica Mat 124 G & Ilford FP4+.

Taken on 9 March 2019

Sssst! Hot!

There are a few of these large metal “seats” scattered around Tudor Square in Sheffield. Obviously in the summertime they can get pretty hot. This brings back memories of being a child and getting into a sun-baked car with vinyl seats while wearing shorts. Ouch!

FILM - Hot surface

Yashica Mat 124 G & Ilford FP4+.

Taken on 9 March 2019