Why Are Disposable Cameras So Expensive?

I’m very fond of disposable cameras for various reasons. One is that they are old school and they remind me of my early days as a photographer.

Fast forward to today, and these cameras have mostly been replaced by DSLR and Mirrorless Cameras. I have to mention camera phones as well.

With that said, there are still a few people who like to use disposable cameras at various events such as weddings. But, if you’ve recently looked into disposable cameras, you would have noticed that they are rather pricey.

So, why exactly are disposable cameras so expensive? Let’s have a look.

Why Are Disposable Cameras So Expensive?

Disposable cameras are so expensive because these cameras have become novelty items, and as such, their prices are higher than what they used to be a few decades ago. In addition to this, you have to get the film developed and this adds to the cost as well. Getting disposable cameras developed is expensive because film is not in high demand anymore with more people opting to use digital cameras instead.

How Much Does It Cost To Develop A Disposable Camera?

The cost of developing a disposable camera can vary from $10 up to $49, depending on the number of exposures, the number of prints that you require, and the finish that you require as well.

Exposures refer to the number of photos that you are looking to develop, and the number of prints refers to the number of copies you require of each photo.

It is worth noting that many processing centers will give you the option to have the photos printed in either a gloss or matt finish. A matt finish will cost significantly more than a gloss finish.

Let’s have a look at a typical cost breakdown that you can expect to get from your local processing center.

These prices might vary depending on where you get your photos developed, and the prices below are for photos printed at the standard 4″x6″ size.

4″x6″ Size 27 exposures 36 exposures
Single Gloss Print $0.40 per print $0.38 per print
Double Gloss Print $0.28 per print $0.26 per print
Single Matt Print $2 per print $1.90 per print
Double Matt Print $1.40 per print $1.30 per print

Cheapest Place To Develop Disposable Cameras

The absolute cheapest place to develop disposable cameras is at Walmart, and you can expect to pay anything from $10 to get the film developed.

You have other options available as well.

Walgreens will also develop disposable cameras, but they are pricier than Walmart and you can expect to pay anything from $15 and wait up to 10 days to get the prints back.

But, my favorite place to get a disposable camera developed is at CVS and they will ask you anything from $11 to get the job done. This is because CVS can get the prints back to you in about a week and you normally get top-quality prints from them. If there is a CVS near you, give them a try.

How Long Does It Take To Develop A Disposable Camera?

Now, your next question might be how long it takes to get a disposable camera developed. Well, this depends on how busy your local processing center is, but it normally takes anything from 7 to 10 working days to have the photos from a disposable camera developed.

Why Are Disposable Cameras So Popular?

Despite not being in such high demand as they used to be, disposable cameras are still popular and are often used during special events such as weddings. Disposable cameras are so popular mainly because the resulting photo prints are characterized by saturated colors and high contrast and as such, they produce a very specific look.

Nostalgia also plays an important role in the popularity of disposable cameras. People, like myself, often reminisce about the gold old days of photography and disposable cameras very much form a part of this era.


As you can see, disposable cameras are expensive because they are essentially novelty items. This includes the film inside these cameras.

But with all that said, it is not every day that you would want to use a disposable camera, and you will more than likely only use them at special events such as weddings. So, if you’re after that special photo look that you can only get from a disposable camera, then it is well worth the cost.

[elfsight_faq id=”1″]