Classic Point & Shoot Cameras

Classic Point & Shoot Cameras

So, were you a fan of Point & Shoot Cameras? Did your family plump for the 70’s classic Kodak ‘Instamatic’? Or are you a child of the ‘90s and it was the APS camera all the way?

Here at Vintage Photo Lab we thought we’d take a look at some of these classic cameras, those little wonders that created that shoebox of old photos, now stashed somewhere in the loft…


‘Instamatic’ – 126 Film Camera   First produced by Kodak in 1963, this camera revolutionised photography with its simple film cartridge system. The film was encased in a chunky plastic cartridge. This cartridge with its asymmetric shape could easily be loaded and removed from the back of the camera. Without the need to deal with fiddly film; a simpler way to take pictures was born, a way that brought photography to the masses. Point & Shoot cameras were born.

Small, simple and compact, my family’s Instamatic was black & silver with an enticing wind on the lever on the top. The flash was extra. An add on flashbulb could be bought and attached; a tiny one-use glass encased explosion.

The 126 film cartridge produced a 26mm sq. negative, which came back from the chemists in strips of 4 or 5. The prints they made were 4in square, and after forty years or more will have aged wonderfully.


‘Pocket Instamatic’ – 110 Film Camera



Originally produced in 1972 by Kodak as an evolution on their Instamatic range, the 110 used a similar film system as its predecessor, but with cartridges that were half the width. This meant the negatives were much smaller, though Kodak believed any loss due to size would be offset by improvements in film quality.

The smaller film allowed manufacturers to develop smaller pocket-sized cameras, a far cry from their bigger forebears. Although aimed at the Point & Click consumer market, many companies produced higher spec cameras with interchangeable lenses, film/speed settings and even a waterproof version.

The 110 films produced a 16x14mm negative. When developed they would be returned in strips of 4, usually 110mm long, hence 110 films. A standard print from these negs would be 4x5in in size.

Although production ceased in 1994, it outlived the camera designed to replace it, the disc camera.


Disc Camera

Launched by Kodak, this slim and compact camera was not much bigger than a wallet and designed to fit easily into a pocket or bag.

Packed with new technology for the time, a built-in reusable flash, lithium batteries plus improved lenses and shutters, Kodak were very happy to share the Disc’s designs with other reputable companies. Quickly becoming the main global film distributor, they realised that the more cameras were out there the more film they would sell.

The film was held on a small disc, inside a cartridge, which could be easily placed in the back of the camera. After each photo was taken the disc would rotate to the next frame. With each negative sized 10x8mm, this was the Disc’s downfall. The pictures taken from such a small negative were usually grainy and in the end consumers wanted better quality photos rather than a pocket sized snapper.


APS – The Advanced Photo System



Introduced in 1996 by most of the major camera companies, the APS was the consumer film camera’s final hurrah.

A cartridge-based film system with negatives much larger than its Disc predecessor, its main selling point was the ability to take different sized photos. With the flick of a switch, you could shoot standard, high & panoramic sized photos. Standard would give a print 4x6in in size, with high being 4x7in & panoramic 4x11in.

Whilst originally aimed at the point & shoot market, a number of manufacturers, including Nikon, introduced pro-APS kits {which very nearly tempted me}. However, I did have an APS camera at college. A Canon Ixus, a mighty little thing – rectangular, silver, compact and very hard wearing. It was the go-to camera for rowdier events and only ever dropped once or twice… ah.

Picking Up Your Photos From The Chemist

With the birth of digital photography and its falling price in the early 2000s, Point & Shoot cameras very quickly and sadly became obsolete.

These cameras produced the photos that sit in that shoebox, somewhere in the attic. Spanning decades, they’ve captured all of our lives, the happy, the sad and the downright silly.

At Vintage Photo Lab we are specialists in bringing those old photos back to life. We scan so you can share them with the rest of the modern digital world.

If you’d like to know more call us or why not try our free trial.

In the meantime keep on pointing & shooting.