Skip to main content

Got a bunch of old receipts? This $89 camera turns them into instant photos

The average person probably has a few receipts tucked in their wallet destined for the trash can — or perhaps as potential film for an instant camera. The Alulu camera is an instant camera that uses a thermal receipt printer instead of instant film, spitting out images on old receipts or a new roll of receipt paper.

Rather than spitting out instant film, the Alulu — named after the creator of the first receipt — prints out images on receipt paper using a built-in thermal printer. Like the receipts you probably have tucked in your wallet, the photos are grayscale creations that are actually made up of a bunch of tiny dots. 

While the lo-fi receipt images aren’t designed to compete with the quality of a traditional image, what the Alulu images lack in quality, they make up for in affordability. The camera can use a roll of new thermal receipt paper — which can be found on Amazon for about $1 for an entire roll if you buy in bulk — or users can simply feed the camera their old receipts. Like a receipt printer that prints, well, receipts, the printer inside uses heat to generate the image, which means there’s no ink required, just the paper.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

The Alulu camera keeps controls simple with four different shooting modes — sunny, cloudy, indoor, and flash — along with a self-timer. The viewfinder is simply a piece of acrylic that unfolds from the side of the camera to frame up a rough estimate of what the camera will capture. By re-winding the paper, the camera can also capture double exposures. A built-in battery is recharged via USB.

Besides getting a roll of images for $1, the Michigan-based creators of Alulu say the camera is also environmentally friendly. Besides reusing receipts that can’t be recycled, the camera uses fewer materials than instant film or digital Zink instant cameras, along with using no animal byproducts. 

Created by a small team consisting of two mechanical and software engineers and an industrial designer, the Alulu is launching on Kickstarter to fund manufacturing. The group is aiming for a $300,000 goal with a campaign ending on August 15. If the campaign and manufacturing is successful, early backers could pick up the camera for $89, with shipping expected in December 2020. The expected retail price for the camera is $99.

Editors' Recommendations

Hillary K. Grigonis
Hillary never planned on becoming a photographer—and then she was handed a camera at her first writing job and she's been…
This vintage-inspired instant camera only requires film and creativity
escura instant 60s kickstarter dsc06674



Read more
This battery-free ‘printer’ turns your smartphone pics into film
holga printer kickstarter lifestyle 6 07181658



Read more
Best Camera Deals: Save on Canon, Panasonic, Nikon, and GoPro
fujifilm x t4 review set 2 dm 1

Whether you're looking for the best digital cameras or the best travel cameras, there are a ton of options out there, sometimes too many options, especially for those who aren't familiar with the photography world. Luckily, we've done a lot of legwork for you and collected a range of great camera deals across the spectrum, so even if you want something more sports-oriented, like a GoPro, there are a couple of deals for those too. So, let's jump right into it.
Today's Best Camera Deals
One of our favorite deals is the Canon EOS Rebel T7 going for $400, as it's one of the better DSLR cameras on the market, and it has a reasonably budget-friendly price on it, making it a great starter camera. Of course, if you've been in the game for a while and are looking for a powerful upgrade, the Sony Alpha 7R IV is one of the best full-frame cameras on the market, and while it still costs a hefty $3,200, that's still $300 off the usual $3,500 price tag. That said, if you're looking for something more portable and action-oriented, you can't go wrong with the GoPro HERO11 Black Mini, although if you're a professional content creator, the GoPro HERO9 Black 5K is probably the one to go for instead.

Do I Need a DSLR or a Mirrorless Camera?
Like most things, this really depends on what you're trying to do. Mirrorless cameras have fewer internal moving parts, which generally means they can capture images quicker, so if you're taking pictures of action-packed stuff like sports or animals in the wilderness, a mirrorless camera is a great option. On the other hand, DSLR cameras are great for low-light conditions and are great for anything from portraits to landscapes. DSLRs are also cheaper and have much better battery life, as well as having a decade or two worth of lenses to choose from.

Read more