After returning home from another year at college, I began cleaning out my room and stumbled upon a few expired Fuji Quicksnap 400 cameras. The way that a disposable camera works is very similar to a normal 35mm camera, but since it’s a one-time use camera, all the film is out of the spool inside the camera. As you take your snapshots and wind the dial to the next picture, you’re actually winding the film back up inside the 35mm spool.
The first order of business is to get that film back inside the spool! I used a light safe bag and went into a dimly lit room, and took the pictures inside the bag.
There were 27 exposures on this camera. A quick way to wind it back up is to hold down the shutter button and keep winding with your thumb. Wind the camera until it’s between the 1 and the 0. An important note is to remember to wind it past the 1 on the top dial, but not all the way to the 0. Between 1 and 0 gives you an appropriate amount of film lead to roll into your next camera for later use; at 1 leaves too much and at the 0 winds it all up into the spool.
If you want to get crazy with double exposures go ahead and take the pictures in the camera instead of winding it all at once. Next comes the fun part — remove the paper cover from the camera and flip it upside down. Open the bottom flap and remove the battery (usually a Triple A battery).
Before breaking it apart, it’s important to know where your film is. In the picture below, the spool of 35mm is on the left side. Underneath my thumb is a few inches rolled up outside the spool.
Now it’s just a matter of breaking it apart! It’s not impossible to do it by hand, but if you have a hammer and a screwdriver it’s a lot easier. I put mine in a vice and gave it a few good whacks on one of the seams of the plastic casing. As you break chunks off, a shiny roll of film appears!
And there you have it! Pull out the spool of film and wind the few inches left manually leaving the usual film leader. Pop that bad boy in the fridge until your next adventure. It’s also kind of cool to see how the camera works! If it’s not completely destroyed, you can still explore and see what’s inside.
If you’re not into breaking your camera apart as this tipster suggests, our Simple Use Film Camera is reusable. With a few tweaks you can reload it with a fresh roll of film, after you’ve finished the pre-loaded LomoChrome Purple 35 mm, Lomography Lady Grey B&W 400, or Lomography Color Negative 400. Swing by our online shop or one of our worldwide gallery stores to get yours!