Virginia Slims - Photo Jottings

Virginia Slims

You’ve come a long way, baby; now you can get cancer and die, just like us men folk!

This week we review a Virginia Slims promotional camera from 1995.  When you purchased a carton of cigarettes, you received a free disposable camera!  And even better, you could get a free Beach Chair after you finished smoking 60 packs, (1200 cigarettes minimum), and then sent in the UPC labels!!

I purchased this camera as a collector’s item from ebay, but guess what, I’m going to use it!  Being pre-loaded with color film from 1995, I wasn’t so sure I’d get any useable images after development, but as luck would have it, I did get a few grainy keepers, which I’ve posted below.  Surprisingly, the color shifts are not too awful, but as expected, the film has lost some of its luster and dynamic range over the past three decades, so I wasn’t planning on making large prints for hanging over the fireplace.

The single use promotional camera is labeled ‘Vivitar’ but who knows who actually manufactured it.  On the bottom of the box it says the camera is made in China, with the film from either the US or Italy.  The focal length seems to be around 35mm, with maybe an F/11 aperture focused at 10ft.

Below are some product shots.

The camera is wrapped in colorful cardboard, with openings around the shutter button, winder, frame counter and lens.

The complete box and fold out flap with the offer details inside.

The camera came in a sealed foil wrapper just like disposable cameras of today.

This is everything you received after buying your carton of smokes.

The box covering has instructions on the back, with suggestions for use like staying back at least 4ft from the subject, and using it outdoors in sunny or bright cloudy weather.  The bare camera is box like, with no other information stamped or attached to it, however, there is a door you can pry open on the bottom for retrieving the film without wrecking the camera.

Inside the open flap are details of the offer, and the order form.  Make sure you sign it, and ‘certify’ that you’re a ‘smoker’ at least 21 years old!

Here are some samples for you to enjoy. Click for larger images. All are 2400 pixels wide, and will not show any more detail even when scanned at a higher rate.  I think about 1600 pixels wide is actually all the detail you’ll get with a good scan.  I used the Nikon Coolscan 9000 ED for these.

Maxin’ in relaxin’ on the pretty concrete deck.

Big Century plant.

Looks like a concrete institution of some sort.

I see heavy pincushion distortion along the sides of the frame, along with plenty of color fringing.


The Virginia Slims camera was fun to shoot; I got some good laughs while I was walking around taking snaps with it; but it’s still a single use camera, and the image quality is poor, especially with the old color film.  It was a nice trip down memory lane, but I think I’ll stick to a newer disposable camera with fresh film for my informal snapping.

That’s it for the Virginia Slims promotional camera review; check out more single use camera reviews from Kodak, Fuji, or Ilford B&W.


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