Falling in Love with Fuji Simple Ace

Falling in Love with Fuji Simple Ace

Following the revival of analog photography and the hype it deserves, disposable cameras are slowly becoming a rare gem in the market. This includes one of the most popular disposable cameras like the Fujifilm Simple Ace. I got this a few months ago for quite an expensive price, around $13 if I remember correctly. I didn’t think much when I added it to my cart and immediately paid for it. This is because disposable cameras are actually very expensive these days and to find one under $20 was, at least to me, a good deal. Since stocks are fairly limited with most of them imported from Japan, disposable cameras sold in Indonesia are usually priced at around $20 and above. When you think about it, $20 for a plastic camera that can only be used once is actually pretty expensive. If you’re not on the hunt for disposable cameras, you can get 4 rolls of Fuji C200 with that kind of money. So really, if it’s not for my curiosity, I don’t think I would have made the purchase.

Unlike most people who got into analog, my first film camera was the Nikon FM2N SLR. Unfortunately, the light meter broke so I had to replace it with a Yashica FX-2000. It was then replaced by my current Ricoh KR-5 because, again, the light meter broke and I wanted something smaller and more compact. Long story short, I never tried any disposable camera at all. It’s kind of absurd since most people would buy a disposable first before actually getting a SLR. But like I said earlier, it wasn’t until recently that people began talking about film photography again. Once the hype starts coming back, local communities and online stores began importing these rare gems again – although they could only import those who are still available in the market. Lucky for us, film photography isn’t completely dead yet in Japan and most film stocks and disposables are still produced there. As far as I know, Japan is the source for our film needs and to have them imported to Indonesia will surely elevate the price point, as seen from most Fuji Superia Xtra stocks (it’s the Xtra now because they decided to kill the “non-Xtra” Fuji Superia) which may cost you around $8~14.

So anyway, like most disposable cameras, the Fujifilm Simple Ace is really compact (only the size of an adult human hand!) and has a body made of plastic. It has built-in flash you can control with an on/off switch, a total of 27 exposures and ISO 400, a “wheel roll” advance film lever and a film counter that will count backwards as you start snapping. Thanks to this physical built, the Simple Ace definitely feels like a one-time toy camera, except it isn’t because once you use it, that’s basically it. It’s definitely a small but handy camera that will make you think twice before wasting any exposure.
πŸ“· Fujifilm Simple Ace
🎞️ ISO 400 (also available in ISO 1600 but not sure if it’s still in production)
πŸ”† 27 Exposures
πŸ§ͺ Colour negative, develop with C-41
πŸ‡―πŸ‡΅ Made in Japan
πŸ” Availability: 3~4/5 outside Japan depending where you live
πŸ’Έ Price point: $$$$ (price point is subject to personal taste. what I think is affordable may not be ideal for you and vice versa)
✨ Remarks:
• very compact and extremely lightweight (only the size of an adult hand)
• built-in flash approx. for 1-3 metres
• quite flexible but definitely works best in broad daylight
• smooth, fine grains
• hazy, muted vibe that leans more towards greens and blues, just like with any other Fuji film stocks

I brought the Simple Ace with me to Bali on a recent company outing trip. The camera was tested outdoor, from noon to evening just before the sun sets. Locations for testing include the beach where the sun hits the hardest and Uluwatu Temple somewhere between 15.30 to 17.30. All of the shots were taken without flash, however, I did test the flash inside my room once and it was really powerful. If I were to draw a comparison, it reminds me of Instax’s flash – really bright and will definitely hurt your eyes.

tested with flash

Judging by the results of my photos, you probably notice how green they are. From what I know, greens and blues are the highlights of every Fujifilm’s stock. This is also why Fuji stocks, especially the budget friendly C200, is my favourite when it comes to taking pictures of landscapes and nature in general. However, due to its cool tone nature, the Simple Ace might not be ideal for portraits. I tried taking some candid people pictures and they came out very greenish. I personally like that greenish vibe but I know people who don’t. Then again, if portrait is what you came for, definitely do not use a disposable for that – instead, go get something more professional and guaranteed to work like the cult favourite Portra 400.

One problem I’ve come to realise is that due to its small size, disposable cameras are prone to “finger blur.” Finger blur is what I call it when you accidentally cover part of the lens with, obviously, your finger. Since the viewfinder and the lens aren’t connected, we won’t be able to see if our finger is blocking the lens. It may sound like a minor thing but when it comes to film, we wouldn't want to waste a single frame now, do we.

In brighter condition, I've noticed that the green isn't as pronounced. It still gives me that hazy, muted and soft grainy vibe that I'm a huge fan of. I think if you've always preferred Fujifilm's tones in general, this is definitely a fun, once in a while camera to play with. I say 'once in a while' because considering the price and how you can only use this once, it's still better to invest in a good, entry-level analog camera and load it up with a full 36 exposures film roll.

That said, I am still going to recommend this disposable camera especially if you've never tried shooting analog before and would like to try without having to buy a secondhand SLR.