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  • Writer's pictureAndrej Spilevoj

Operation Kodak: battle for quality at all costs

My name is Andrew and I am a fine art destination wedding photographer in Italy and Lithuania. In my spare time I work on different projects which often involve shooting film, medium format and 35mm. Few weeks ago I was given 6 expired disposable cameras, so this story is going to be about them...

Once upon a time, around 4-5 weeks ago, my mother has found those amazing toys from 2003 - Kodak disposable cameras - in her attic and gave them to me. I do have some experience with the expired film so I knew I need to overexpose. So I shot the first two reels in the bright sun, and this is the result:

Well, to my taste this is not what I was happy with. I knew we can do better than that. If we only could give this film even more light... So I decided to open one of those expired disposable cameras and figure out if there is a usual film inside. If it is a 35mm film - then I am lucky and I can use it on my proper Canon camera with all my L lenses. In this case I will be able to give the film more light and get some artistic images with interesting grain and its own taste. Let's take this old baby apart!!!

And now we can have fun - it actually was a real 35mm film - Kodak GT800. The "800" was the real joy to find out! So now I can overexpose by lowering the ISO which is simply amazing. So I inserted the film into my Canon, took my best Canon L lense and started my test in real environment. For that test I needed some models and some interesting location. Few days later when I got my results back I was sooooo happy that my assumption was correct and my result was brilliant. Here is what I have got from the lab:

Kodak GT800
Kodak GT800
Kodak GT800
Kodak GT800
Kodak GT800
Kodak GT800

And here is some side by side of my kids: first shot is taken with the disposable camera, the rest - with professional lens and manual settings:

The moral of this story should say that it does not matter what tools you have, all what matters is our knowledge and desire to try new things out in our search of interesting solutions. When I was talking about the proper Canon camera I did not mention - it was a Canon 500n which I bought for 11 Euro. It is old and plastic but it has autofocus, proper light meter and works with EF lenses. What else do you need? So this is my gear of the test:

Disposable camera

Canon 500n (second hand)

Canon 135mm L, Canon 24-70mm mk2 F/2.8

Kodak GT800 (exp. 2003)

I hope you enjoyed the results :)

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