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]

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Movies & TV

Why ruin a good thing? These are some of the worst movie sequels ever made

A sequel that doesn't compare to the original film isn't worth making, right? Unfortunately, this is Hollywood we're talking about. We've picked out 12 films which will go down as some of the worst follow-ups ever made.
Product Review

This was 3D printed? With the Anycubic Photon, you can't tell

Never mind the fact that the Anycubic Photon 3D printer only costs 500 bucks. In terms of sheer print quality, this printer is on the same level as machines that cost six times as much.
Mobile

Need to record calls on an iPhone? Check out our handy guide

Are you wondering how to record calls on your iPhone? It isn't as easy as you might think, but we'll walk you through the process of doing so with Google Voice, and identify several other apps and external voice recorders that can help.
Photography

Canon holiday sale features the Rebel T6 2-lens kit for just $449

If you have a budding photographer in your life in need of a real camera, the Canon EOS Rebel T6 could make the perfect gift. Canon is currently offering the camera in a two-lens bundle for just $449 through December 29.
Emerging Tech

Light, speed: Lighting kit for DJI Mavic 2 lets you fly and film in the dark

Lume Cube, maker of small battery-powered LED lights for mobile photography, has announced a new lighting kit built specifically for the DJI Mavic 2 -- the first of its kind. Already our favorite drone, this makes the Mavic 2 even better.
Mobile

Leave the laptop at home, the iPad Pro is the travel buddy to take on vacay

The iPad Pro is a powerful tablet that's perfect for creatives and professionals. How does it fare when traveling with it as a laptop replacement? We took it on a two week trek in Japan to find out.
Social Media

Instagram’s 2018 year in review shines a light on where our hearts are

What did Instagram users share the most in 2018? A lot of heart emojis, heart face filters, and heart GIFs. The platform recently shared the year's top trends, including hashtags like #fortnite and #metoo along with a few surprises.
Deals

Want a fun, affordable instant camera? The Fujifilm Instax Mini 7S is just $49

Instant cameras have had a surprising resurgence of late, and no brand is better recognized in the instant photo space today than Fujifilm Instax. Walmart is currently offering the Instax Mini 7S for just $49.
Photography

Not just for Lightroom anymore, Loupedeck+ now works with Photoshop

Loupedeck+ can now help photographers edit in Photoshop too, thanks to physical controls for swapping tools, running actions, and more. The photo-editing console expanded to include Photoshop in the list of compatible editing programs.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Computing

Need a monitor for professional photo-editing? These are the very best

Looking for the best monitor for photo editing? You'll need to factor in brightness, color accuracy, color gamut support and more. Fortunately, we've rounded up the best ones for you, to help you make an educated purchase.
Photography

2018 was a terrific year for new cameras. Here are our favorites

This year, we saw the unveiling of several exciting new cameras. We look back at our favorite models -- each delivering something unique, yet all are powerful and feature-rich. Camera fans, rejoice!
Photography

Grit and gear: How Chris Hershman went from retail clerk to music video director

How did Chris Hershman go from working a music retail job to working with bands like NEEDTOBREATHE and Switchfoot? The music video director and filmmaker talks to us about video, tech, and Nikon's new mirrorless.