Flashback ONE35 Product shot

NEWS: Flashback Start-Up Blends Disposable Nostalgia and Digital Sustainability With the ONE35 Camera

A new tech startup based in Australia has launched an innovative “non-disposable disposable” camera, the ONE35. Flashback founders Kelric Mullen and Mackenzie Salisbury have built a digital camera that looks exactly like a disposable film camera.

The design purposely excludes a screen, comes “pre-loaded” with 27 exposures, and takes 24 hours to “develop” the film in their mobile app. Sustainability is top of mind for this company and the ONE35 is made from recycled plastic. Aiming to reduce the waste associated with disposable film cameras while still providing the nostalgic experience of analogue, Flashback hopes to provide a product people will love but also one that will inspire a movement to spend less time on the phone and more time living in the moment.

Sample image taken on the Flashback ONE35 camera
Image courtesy of Flashback

You might not know the Flashback ONE35 is a digital camera by looking at it. Perhaps the USB-C port might give it away but the remaining elements resemble a disposable film camera perfectly. There is no screen, only a simple viewfinder. A bright flash can be turned on through a switch in the front and an electrical readout on the top tells users how many exposures they have left. The winding mechanism and shutter release are both mechanical. Focus is fixed, just as it would have been on a disposable.

“We’ve purposely removed the very concept that has made digital photography so valuable to date” asserts Mullen. In doing so, the group hopes to “bring a little romance back to everyday photography”.

After users have completed their allotted 27 exposures, these can be transferred wirelessly to a mobile phone app but they take 24 hours to “develop”. The mobile app also loads film rolls onto the camera and there are multiple film types to select from. Inspired by classic film stocks, Flashback has engineered these “film simulations” to be as close to the original look as possible.

“Our film types are developed with a careful eye on the chemical nature of photographic film. More than just a filter, each film actually constructs the photos from individual grains instead of pixels, giving an authentic retro look!”

Sample image taken on the Flashback ONE35 camera
Image courtesy of Flashback – Sample Image using Classic Film

Sample image taken on the Flashback ONE35 camera
Image courtesy of Flashback – Sample Image using Mono

Concerned with sustainability, the start-up has designed the camera to use recycled plastic, a rechargeable battery, and packaging made completely from cardboard. All firmware updates will be completed via the app with the promise of never making the ONE35 obsolete.

“The Flashback ONE35 was born partly as a reusable alternative to disposable cameras. We see no place for a single-use plastic product like this to be increasing in popularity in 2023. Worse than this, in our own country we found that disposable cameras aren’t recycled after being used: they’re simply thrown in the trash. Our vision is that wide adoption of Flashback can make disposable cameras obsolete, without sacrificing on the experience.”

Flashback ONE35 Product shot
Image courtesy of Flashback

Flashback ONE35 Product shot
Image courtesy of Flashback

Start-Up Success

Mullen and Salisbury started Flashback when they noticed many of their friends and people they knew using disposable cameras. Analogue photography’s popularity has surged with more people wanting a contrast to the lack of authenticity felt from use of filters on apps like Instagram and Tiktok. The two Flashback founders thought the use of throwaway plastic cameras was wasteful and wanted to offer an alternative solution.

“What started as two best friends with a crazy idea has grown into a team balanced with technical and design skills. We’re not experts in all areas, but we have made friends along the way and taken advice where we needed it.”

Founders Kelric Mullen and Mackenzie Salisbury
Image courtesy of Flashback

Campaign Details

Flashback’s ONE35 was funded within thirteen minutes on the day of opening the crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. There is a stretch goal for a new colour variation of the camera that will be unlocked at 1850 backers. At the moment, the Kickstarter is only 49 backers away from this.

While early bird offerings have sold out, you can still get a ONE35 with a pledge of AUS 125 which is roughly GBP 66. From there, additional pledge options are available with more accessories and benefits including a vegan leather case and branded lanyard.

Flashback waited a little longer to launch the Kickstarter because they wanted to have a working prototype manufactured in the same way as it would be in production in addition to having functional software. All that’s left to fulfil the campaign is a wireless certification, mobile app QA, and mass production tooling. Flashback notes that due to the volume of response to the campaign, things might take a little longer to scale up.

Flashback team photo
Image courtesy of Flashback

Sample image taken on the Flashback ONE35 camera
Image courtesy of Flashback – Sample Image using Classic Film

A Growing Movement

Flashback doesn’t only want to provide a sustainable solution to plastic waste but inspire and build a greater movement worldwide. They hope to encourage people to put their phones down and be more present in the moment.

“We see a world where people are more encouraged and empowered to truly experience the moment they’re in, free from the filters, free from the pressure, and free from the unreasonable expectation to always capture the perfect shot.”

The Kickstarter campaign runs until July 4, 2023, and can be found here. Follow Flashback on Instagram and Tiktok for updates as well.

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23 thoughts on “NEWS: Flashback Start-Up Blends Disposable Nostalgia and Digital Sustainability With the ONE35 Camera”

  1. Maybe I’m alone here in thinking that this is virtue signaling gone haywire.
    Why would anyone want to wait to see their digital images??

    “ Sustainability is top of mind for this company ”. They seem to have forgotten about the rare earth metals used to make their sensors and other parts currently destroying eco systems of many countries.

    1. I’m with you on this one, it reminds me of the problem with a ‘cunning plan’ in Black Adder Goes Forth by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton which went along the lines of:

      “Captain Blackadder – You see, there was a tiny flaw in the plan. Private Baldrick – What was that, sir? Captain Blackadder – It was bollocks.”

    2. You’re probably not alone but then there are other folks who think its cool! I actually don’t look at my digital images when shooting street photography most of the time, let them sit on my camera for a week or so and then upload. There’s something about getting some distance from the images that puts them into a fresh perspective.

  2. Novel idea guys!! All of the experience of selecting a film, a set number of shots, no ability to review, and the waiting time. Takes me right back.

    1. I wouldn’t imagine this camera appealing to you Huss haha but it definitely does to so many, and its a great way to get folks into film, like a gateway 🙂

  3. Thanks Molly… This thing might have legs! It’d be a cool platform for DIY experiments with things like fish-eye modifiers. And I wonder if these simple cameras lack the “hot-mirrors” that get in the way of shooting digital infrared with more advanced systems? The reloadable digital film types also seem ideal for today’s new batch of film-photography aficionados.

    1. Hey Dave! Yeah, it’s gone down really well, they’ve blown by their Kickstarter goals by a lot. It comes at a time where people still want to shoot film or get the film experience or look but don’t necessarily have the funds to keep shooting roll after roll without care. And it’s also cool tech! Interesting what you mentioned about the hot mirrors, have you shot a lot with digital infrared?

  4. I think it’s great that they’re trying a new approach, it’s not for me as I don’t shoot digital but I can see my daughter use one of these.

  5. It’s very easy to get sucked into the enthusiasm of these guys but I have some reservations.

    With a current pledge of £151k and a staff already of six, that doesn’t seems a lot if the project has been going for almost 2 years. I guess not with a staff of 6 for all that time… but even so.

    The web site is heavy on marketing and light on details. For example do we have to pay for the app and also pay for each film “development” and “reload”? Assuming that’s the case then how much? That could be make or break.

    Why 27 exposures? Bit of a weird number.

    It’s good that they are eco-friendly but they could be even more eco- friendly and not make this at all and instead encourage folk to use the zillions of second hand film cameras that are already in existence and may otherwise go to landfill.
    Just my opinion for what it’s worth.

    1. Hey Dave! That’s a good question for the team about the app and if that would be extra. I would think the app would be free to download and use if you get the camera, and paying for each roll doesn’t make sense as that defeats the purpose of the project. 27 is what normally comes on a disposable camera or at least the ones I’m used to. While saving film cameras from landfill is great, the project is more about also saving on the cost of film. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  6. There is something about this that just doesn’t sit well. The idea of just faking the whole thing just doesn’t make sense to me. If you want the advantages of digital, shoot digital, if you want the charm (or whatever you want to call it) of film, shoot film.

    I choose to shoot film, but I respect it’s not for everyone.

    I just don’t see the point in this level of fakery, it’s not authentic in any respect, I don’t know what it’s supposed to achieve.

    The environmental chat is just green-washing. If you want a green digital camera, buy a used one, same goes for film cameras. There a millions of both floating around.

    1. I wouldn’t see it as fakery, rather it’s more like a combination of parts of both technologies, why not have both? On the environmental aspect, there are many parts of film photography that are not eco-friendly and involves a waste of materials. I love film, I prefer it, but at the same time the waste from packaging and materials for each roll, then the chemicals is not great. So too the manufacture of digital. Nothing is perfect. But using the recycled plastic is a great idea, and is one step towards trying to reuse what’s already out there and might have otherwise ended up in the ocean or landfill.

      1. Yeah, this strikes me as the sort of thing it’s easy to take a swipe at, but doing so misses the point. I don’t imagine the target market has spent countless hours pondering the nature of the authentic film experience, shrugging their shoulders at T2 prices, discussing Fomapan stand developed in Rodinol etc. I can see this as a nice little circuit-breaker in the normal social practice of snapping something on a phone without stopping to think. It is a reconsideration of the modern process of social image making. If it fails, no harm done and props for having a go.

    2. Yeah, I get some of these feelings. Though, overall, I really like the idea. I don’t see it as fakery, for me it’s more about the application of the limitations of film, without a lot of the cost. There is a discipline in shooting and waiting for film that I enjoy – I don’t see why that shouldn’t transfer to a digital experience without it being seen as fakery. But that’s just me, I definitely understand why you feel that way though!

  7. Here’s an interesting idea – come up with a resuseable FILM camera (that uses real film). Oh wait, it’s called Lomosimple…Ilford Sprite…Yashica…Kodak… huh, it seems there are options for that already.

    Here’s an idea, buy one of those instead of this one.

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