ZenCam’s novel service aims to make us better smartphone snappers

zencam aims disposable camera smartphones

A London-based startup has hit Kickstarter in the hope of launching a new service encouraging smartphone snappers “to slow down and take mindful photos of the things that really matter.”

Believing that a good many handset users populate their camera roll with bland or rushed shots taken with little thought or preparation, the team behind ZenCam decided to find a solution.

The proposed service works by letting you load a roll of ‘digital’ film, consisting of 20 frames, into the ZenCam mobile app. With only 20 images available before the roll’s finished, it’s hoped users will think more carefully about the shots they take, instead of just shooting indiscriminately and ending up with a mass of similar, or simply uninteresting, photos.

Remember the days when you finished a roll of film and popped it in the mail, and how you’d forget about it till the prints landed in the mailbox a few weeks later? ZenCam’s hoping to appeal to nostalgic types by offering a similar experience, hiding the pictures from view the moment you hit the shutter. The image files are then sent directly to ZenCam, who’ll print them up and send them to your address for only the cost of postage.

In an effort to keep smartphone snappers focused on the kind of shots they’re taking – as well as to manage costs – users will be limited to two free rolls a month.

‘Mindless’ photography

“Our obsession with taking pictures stops us from experiencing and living in the moment,” ZenCam says on its Kickstarter page. “People so often whip out their cameras almost mindlessly to capture a moment, to the point that they are missing what is happening right in front of them.”

ZenCam points out that as our collection of smartphone photos rapidly expands through lack of attention, shooting a set of 20 photos for a bunch of physical prints may encourage us to think more carefully about what we’re snapping, leading to a set of shots we’re more likely to cherish.

The launch app will be iOS only, though there are plans for an Android version, too. An online ‘darkroom’ where you can later edit and reprint your pics is also planned.

At the time of writing, ZenCam has reached about 20 percent of its £5,000 ($7,950) funding goal with three weeks to go. Should it hit its target, the service could be up and running as early as December 5.

[ZenCam on Kickstarter]