Reusing Disposable Cameras: Ilford HP5 Plus 400 (with FP4 and a double exposure hack)

This is the second disposable camera I reloaded from the box I received from Analogue Wonderland. This time I decided to use a hack I had seen on a website that had multiple ideas. I decided to add the multiple exposure function, if I could.

Here is a photo of the camera post-reloading.

As I didn’t have any HP5 to hand I decided to reload it with Ilford FP4 and push process it after. This disposable opened much like the last one I tried. The only difference was this hack required me to take the front of the camera off too.

Once the back is off, the front comes off with a screwdriver under more levers.

The paper camera design isn’t glued down so you could use it as a template to make your own cover if you like. I didn’t bother this time as I wanted to see if I could actually complete the intended activity. ALSO, there is a flash capacitor, it isn’t in a dangerous place but be careful as it is better to be safe than sorry.

Now for making the double exposure mechanism.

In the front of the camera you are looking for this part, tie some dental floss around it and make it secure. Looking back at the kodak fun saver, I noticed this was the same so that camera could also be used.

Once you fire the shutter, you pull on the floss to return it to the firing position immediately without winding. Test it to make sure you have done it right before putting the cover back on.

The website previously linked suggested drilling a hole to pass the floss through. I simply threaded it back through the winder dial slot. The floss was thin enough that it didn’t cause a jam.

Of course, don’t put the back on until you have loaded the new film either. You can check out my Kodak post for instructions on how to do that. You can put the front back on before doing that though. You can also reset the film counter before loading the film. This time it only went up to 27, my film was a 36 so I knew the last few shots would be completed after the counter went past zero, counting down again. As you can see in the photo below, I reset my counter before I put the front cover on.

Once you have reloaded the film, in a dark bag, you can test the set-up by firing it and pulling on the floss to reset the shutter, you can take multiple exposures this way so you won’t actually lose film except the first one. You will have lost that one anyway due to the light leaking into the camera via the original cartridge hole before you tape it up.

Here is mine, all taped up and with the floss coming through the winding section. When using this mechanism, I found I naturally wanted to hold onto the floss for some reason. Maybe I was trying to keep it out of the way of the lens. By doing this, I inadvertently stopped the shutter from completing its action. I had to remind myself not to touch the floss while firing the shutter.

With my test roll, I didn’t always use the multiple exposure function. I tended to use it to make double exposures only. Here are some of the results from that test.

You can see in these images, there are clear light leaks. I missed taping something up somewhere, but the floss worked perfectly. These shots were taken around Scarborough and Barnsley, the latter being much nicer than I expected.

Well, despite the leaks, I think this was a successful experiment and I might reload another one and add some floss. As I have a few to choose from, I think I will forgo this leaky example and choose a new one.


14 thoughts on “Reusing Disposable Cameras: Ilford HP5 Plus 400 (with FP4 and a double exposure hack)

  1. William says:

    Whoa. Many of those double-exposures – that seeming stag’s head made of branches – that’s a show or a zine right there. Very, effective, surreal, tabloidy &, spooky stuff, like an evolution of the Japanese Grit-Photo school . Do you reckon that the push ampified the effect?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. William says:

        The serendipituously left-side light-leak one, of the girl’s sculpted figure, and the lighter of the two views of persons walking up the road into blinding light … intended or not, are most beautifully freighted, emotive.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. William says:

        *Almost* hesitate to say it, but that shot is sheer Dante: the mid-life uphill road, the plainsong black-and-white of it, the tactile cobbled bumps and blows along the way.


  2. Roger B. says:

    You know that the earliest rollfilm box Kodaks, circa 1900-1910, had a pull string to reset the shutter. Reversing into tomorrow, that’s you!

    Liked by 1 person

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