How Much Do I Love My Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim ?

Since I’ve started my lo-fi photography journey I’ve stumbled across many a camera that I’d like to give a test spin. Some are wonderful but out of my price range (the new Blackbird, and sadly the LC-A) and some seem like too much work (Kodak Brownie. I don’t want to re-spool 120 film to use in a 127 sized camera). Then I started hearing about the little wonder that is the Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim. I’d heard about the vignetting and vibrant colors but when I found out I could get it for only $10 USD, it had to be mine.

This little cassette-tape sized wonder is completely plastic – lens and all – and it behaves as most plastic cameras do – like a dream. From the eye-popping colors to the insane vignetting that occurs in just about every frame, you’d think this baby was produced right alongside the most popular lomo cameras. The 22mm lens gives you an ultra-wide perspective so just like with a Holga, you’re bound to get more than what you see in the viewfinder when you develop your film. It is a 35mm camera with an aperture of f11 and shutter speed of 1/125, which adds up to phenomenal shots in bright light. Again, as with a Holga, the Vivitar UWS will perform best in bright light conditions with 100-400 speed film. I’ve run black & white, color and slide film through my Vivitar with amazing results every time. Another perk? No stinkin’ batteries!

A few tips – make sure the camera strap and your finger are both out of the picture. Remember, this is a super wide angle lens. I thought I read somewhere that you shouldn’t get any closer than about 5 feet from the subject. This just isn’t the case. The Vivi makes far away subjects appear even farther away. A nice effect if that’s what you’re going for but I suggest you get closer. It makes for an kind of fish-eye effect and will really make your subjects appear dramatic.

I have to say that this was the best $10 I’ve spent in a long time.

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About ipdegirl

analogue girl in a digital world View all posts by ipdegirl

2 responses to “How Much Do I Love My Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim ?

  • dotism

    I am in a constant state of disbelief when it comes to the UW&S… I love looking at people’s pictures that come from this camera.

    You’re right about the viewfinder: it has that same quality as the Holga where I just hold the camera at arm’s length and click, I’d be a fool to try and frame a shot using anything but proximity. (I keep meaning to test how close I can get to a subject with the camera, but the insane wide angle keeps me looking at the larger world and I haven’t tested just how short the depth of field is… I need to play with that aspect.)

    The first review I saw of the UW&S contained test shots with the reviewer’s fingers in every frame… I haven’t had this problem. But just to be safe I used a whiteout pen and drew huge arrows on the back of the camera to remind myself that the possibility of phalange infiltration exists.

    I kinda feel guilty about the UW&S… I have gotten far, far, far better pictures using that little silly camera then I ever did with a Nikon DSLR.. and I get to develop the film in my own kitchen sink!

    The Lubitel arrives tomorrow… I feel like my world might expand just a little more in a few hours 🙂

  • naskren

    i so very agree that it is the best way to spend $10. it’s spurred in me a renewed appreciation for film and cheapness!

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