The drinking camera – A cheap point and shoot to carry around everywhere

Two years ago, before the world closed for repairs, I got myself a cheap point and shoot 35mm film camera. The idea behind it was I wanted a camera that was cheap and easy to use, so I could carry it everywhere without thinking too much about it or worry that it might get lost/stolen. I call it my “drinking camera” because this is the camera I take with me when I go out for drinks (which, to be fair, hasn’t really happened since Covid-19 hit).

I ended up getting a Polaroid 35mm AF Dateback for about 20€ and it checks all the boxes.
The AF stands for Auto-Focus, but beware: it doesn’t really have autofocus. Like a lot of point and shoot film cameras, it’s fixed at the hyperfocal distance.

But that’s not really a drawback in the sense that you literally just have to point and shoot. This frees you from all the things you don’t want to be doing when you’re partying, like metering and focusing…or thinking straight. But who needs that anyway?

Bottom line is you’re free to do all sorts of shots: tequila, film or – hopefully – both.

Being a very technically-focused photographer, having this little camera with me helped me look at my photography from another perspective. And anything that makes you look at things in a different way is a win in my book.

Here’s some examples, all shot on Fujicolor C200:

I’ve been saving some of them that might actually turn into a project at some point.

If you’re on the fence about getting a cheap point and shoot camera, my advice after using this one for about 2 years is: try it. You might just enjoy the freedom of only having to worry about composition and nothing else.

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