TV Cream

Bric-a-Brac: K is for...

Kodak Disc Camera, The

The complete(ly rubbish) Christmas giftThose clunky, boxy old Instamatic cameras, eh? All so very ’70s. But now it’s the ’80s, the decade when the future finally arrives in a blaze of synthesised soya-slurping glory, and here come Kodak with the ultra-slinky Disc camera! No more those bulky black and orange binocular-shaped film cartridges – this slimline, sleek little device uses a thin and sexy disc of film, enabling you to take not quite as many pictures of substantially poorer quality with a… what’s that? Er, oh yes, admittedly the sexy minaturisation process means the film size is reduced to little over a centimeter across, with the result that the pictures you get back from Boots are grainier than the most antiquated box brownie, but, er, never mind that, look how slim and sleek and slinky it is! It’s like something out of James Bond! And here’s Peter Bowles doing the telly adverts, emphasising the suave, debonair way it can fit into the breast pocket of a sports jacket without spoiling the line. No, you’re right, at no point does he show an actual picture that’s been taken with one of the blasted things, but, er…

[Point of consumerist order: In the UK at least, the heyday of the Disc camera was around 1986, when Polaroid sued Kodak’s arse off for ripping off their patent instant film process, and the guilty party had to shamefacedly contact everyone who’d recently bought one of the offending cameras, informing them that they’d be useless from now on, but offering to do a gratis swapsie with them for… you guessed it, a sleek ‘n’ slimline Disc camera. So it’s a good bet that the majority of these benighted snappers were forced upon folk against their will, rather than actively sought out. By the end of the century, they too would be bound for the big Jessop’s in the sky.]



  1. David Smith

    September 12, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    The disc was kinda reminiscent of the ones you got with a ViewMaster* wasn’t it?

    * have you got that in the A to Z? 😉

  2. TV Cream

    September 13, 2009 at 10:59 am

    You’re right, it’s surprising Kodak weren’t sued by Fisher Price for that.

    As for the Viewmaster, we’ve referred your request to the toys department three floors up. God knows what they’re doing up there…

  3. Adrian

    September 14, 2009 at 9:36 am

    Yes, the picture quality was no great shakes, but loading the film disc was easier than threading 35mm film onto a spool, so it probably appealed mainly to children and the elderly for that reason.

  4. Graham Kibble-White

    September 15, 2009 at 11:35 am

    I won a Kodak Disc Camera in a Colgate ‘Design a Colgate Ad’ competition. Naturally I did superhero toothbrushes fighting supervillain tooth decay. Best of all, the competition was judged by Tony Hart.

  5. Sonic Avenger

    February 17, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    Best use for these was taking snaps at parties or when out on the lash, in which case picture quality was usually the least of your worries.

  6. Paul

    February 18, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    Blimey, I thought I was the business when I bought one of these. Really horrible.

  7. Richard Davies

    August 9, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    A wonder if Advanced Photo System cameras will be covered in a few years time.

    APS was a last gasp against digital cameras, but only seemed to last 3-4 years. The main gimmick was you could swap films without letting light in, & it could alter the frame size from the standard ratio to a panoramic width.

    My parents had one until my Mum lost it on holiday, & got a digital camera with the insurance payout.

    My sister also had one before getting a digial camera.

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