Many of us spend hours looking at screens every day, and that includes the screens on our cameras, which give instant feedback via high-resolution LCDs. We can get sucked into these displays, and taken away from the world and the people around us. The Camp Snap wants to bring us back to a simpler time instead, and I’m all for it.
It’s a low-cost, screen-less, vintage-style digital compact camera that’s child’s play to use, but it’s not just for children. It looks like a single-use disposable film camera – albeit with very cool vintage vibes – but this isn’t a camera to throw away.
Available in the US and Europe now, the Camp Snap costs $55 / £45, plus shipping costs, and is available with a leather-effect trim in Brown, Aqua, Black, Forest Green, White or Pink. I asked the makers of Camp Snap if the camera will be available in other regions outside of Europe and the US, and it has plans to add further regions, including Australia.
You get a pre-installed TF memory card with capacity for more than 2,000 8MP JPEG photos (TF cards are interchangeable with microSD memory cards), plus a rechargeable battery that’ll last for hundreds of shots, and a USB-C connection to transfer those photos and charge the battery.
There’s an LED flash that can be turned on or off, a shutter button to take your photos, a speaker that gives audible feedback to those around you that a photo has been taken, a viewfinder window on the rear, and a simple photo counter.
The makers say the plastic Camp Snap is drop-proof because it has no internal moving parts, so you can relax about anyone in the family using it. And that’s about all you need to know – think of the Camp Snap as a vintage-style digital camera offering an analog experience.
The first time you see the photos you make via its bright f/1.8 moderate wide-angle, fixed-focus lens, will be when you plug the camera in via its USB-C connection to upload them to your computer – and it’s that experience of delayed gratification that really makes the Camp Snap feel like a disposable analog camera, but without the cost of film.
We’re so used to instant feedback these days, and most of us – myself included – are impatient to see the results of our photo shoots. In an effort to fight this urge, I’ll sometimes flip the vari-angle screen of my ‘serious’ mirrorless camera away so that there’s no screen on the back to look at. It encourages me to use the viewfinder instead, to sharpen my photography skills, and to practice patience by waiting to see my creations later.
The Camp Snap is unlikely to take high-quality photos, but it’s what it represents in terms of the experience of the photo-making process that’s important, and which could make it one of the best cameras for kids.
Any camera that encourages you to create without focusing too much on the device itself – and therefore take you away from the moment – is a good thing in my book. Sign me up.