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Before I got into photography, I used to use disposable cameras with ISO 400 film. I've gotten some decent results in various lighting, both inside and outside and at different focus distances. How do they seem to work so well despite having no control over exposure or focus (beyond using flash)?

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Three things:

  1. Film is relatively lenient, and exposure variations are handled in the printing.
  2. The lens has a relatively small fixed aperture and focus is set at a reasonable distance to get a lot of depth of field.
  3. Finally, prints from these things are usually 4×6, and not subjected to a high degree of scrutiny — we basically expect them to be relatively poor.
  • I would say that exposure variations are handled in the printing, rather than the developing. (You could do a snip test to adjust development, but I don't think many people who use disposable cameras are going to do that.) – coneslayer Jul 25 '14 at 23:37
  • @coneslayer You're probably right. In this digital age it all gets lumped together. :) – mattdm Jul 25 '14 at 23:54

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