Why Are Disposable Cameras So Expensive? (11 Reasons Why)

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Fletcher Crawford

Fletcher Crawford is a 20-year veteran of the electrical engineering field. He has worked on everything from Linux systems to Apple products, and is passionate about technology.

Like many people, you may have thought that disposable cameras went out in the 1980s. However, they’re still around and even making a comeback.

Still, disposable cameras are no longer a cheap alternative to high-end cameras. In fact, they can be pretty expensive. I did some research to discover why disposable cameras are so expensive. Read on to see the top reasons!

Why Are Disposable Cameras So Expensive?

Disposable cameras are expensive because they’re a rarity, and not many places still develop film. They are priced as gift and novelty items and sold at airports and tourist destinations. There’s also a lot of film wastage, partly due to the cameras’ construction and partly because people don’t know how to use the flash.

If you want to know still more about how much disposable cameras cost and whether they’re worth it, carry on reading. You’ll find all the details here!

1. They’re Not So Easy To Find

Since phone cameras have largely replaced disposable cameras, they’re no longer so easy to find.

That said, their rarity pushes up prices, and you can expect to pay around $20 for each disposable camera.

2. There Is Less Demand

Based on customer reviews and online discussions, because there’s less demand for disposable cameras, economies of scale kick in, and the prices have been adjusted upwards.

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Moreover, this is because the fixed costs of manufacturing have to be divided across fewer units sold.

3. There Are Few Options For Developing Film

With the drop in demand for disposable cameras, there are also fewer options for developing film.

That said, you really have to hunt for a place to develop the film from your disposable camera.

Further, very few stores now develop disposable camera film, making it something of a specialty.

Therefore, this means higher prices and raises the overall costs of using disposable cameras.

4. The Cost Of Developing Film Is High

When you find a store that develops the film, be prepared to pay because it costs the stores more to develop these films.

For example, the costs of the camera ($15 to $20) and developing the film ($15 to $20), you could pay $30 to $40 for 24 pictures. Also, you would have to pay more for extra prints.

5. There’s A Lot Of Film Wastage

5. There’s A Lot Of Film Wastage

One frequent complaint many users have is that many pictures can’t be developed. For example, as many as six photos out of the 24 frames in a single camera may be lost.

Further, the lost photos could be overexposed, blurry, or blank. Therefore, compared to digital cameras, the cost of the lost photos adds up.

6. All Items Cost More At Gift Shops

Disposable cameras are often sold at gift shops since people nowadays tend to regard them as novelty items.

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Gift shops, especially in tourist areas, tend to mark up prices on all items, including disposable cameras.

7. People Tend To Buy Disposables At Airports

Another location where people tend to buy disposable cameras is airports. Of course, prices for all items at airports tend to be higher due to added transportation and security costs.

8. Prices Are Higher At Tourist & Holiday Sites

People tend to buy disposable cameras at tourist and holiday locations. That said, all items cost more in such places, so disposable cameras will be even more expensive in these places.

9. The Picture Quality Is Not Worth It

While sometimes you can get stunning pictures with a disposable camera, picture quality can often be really bad.

So, if you buy a disposable camera to take pictures of a special event like a vacation or a wedding, the results can be deeply disappointing.

10. People Don’t Understand How To Use The Flash

Even though disposable cameras are meant to be easy to use, many people lack a basic understanding of using light in photography.

Moreover, people are used to phones and digital cameras doing all the hard work. However, with disposable cameras, you still have to know when and how to use a flash.

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That said, a lot of disposable camera pictures are ruined because the light is wrong or the flash wasn’t used, leading to more wastage of film.

11. Disposable Cameras Are Now A Novelty Item

One reason disposable cameras are making a comeback is that people like to revisit their childhood.

That said, the nostalgia factor is especially important at weddings, which is why many people like to give disposable cameras to all guests to take their own pictures of the event.

As novelty items, disposable cameras are priced higher.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on why cameras are so expensive, why Hasselblad cameras are so expensive, and why Beats are so expensive.


Disposable cameras cost more because they’re not easy to find, and there aren’t many places that will develop the film.

Further, people tend to buy disposables as gifts or novelty items at gift shops, airports, and tourist destinations, where everything is marked up.

Despite the high prices, many people still use disposable cameras out of nostalgia for their childhood memories.


  • Fletcher Crawford

    Fletcher Crawford is a 15-year veteran of the electrical engineering field. He has worked on everything from Linux systems to Apple products, and is passionate about technology.

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