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.