The Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim was a cheap plastic 35mm camera sold in retail stores during the 90s. It’s long been discontinued in the choppy wake of the digital revolution, but the Japanese Superheadz company have cloned and revived it. Original Vivitar Ultra Wide cameras often go for a very pretty penny on ebay, so if you’re at all interested in buying one, I’d strongly suggest the Superheadz version. It’s a faithful clone in all but name as far as I can tell.
In Superheadz tradition, they’ve produced it in a variety of colours and given each a unique name. Examples include the Slim Black Devil, Pink Dress, Yellow Peace, Usagi Camel, and the White Slim Angel. I found myself an attractive Silver Kumagin version, and it has become one of my favourite little film cheapies. Here’s a photo of my version:
Cute isn’t it? Note the cheerful smiling Kumagin bear at the bottom right. Construction is all plastic and is very very light in the hands. The viewfinder is not linked to the lens, so composition is not a what-you-see-is-what-you-get exercise. Multiple exposures are not possible because the film winder cocks the shutter ready for the next photo. Loading film is easy, but putting pressure on the little button to open the back also places pressure on the back door and keeps it closed, so it’s best to let gravity do some work and turn it upside down. In terms of specs, very simple: fixed f11 aperture, 22mm wide angle plastic lens (yes, it’s crazy wide and cool), and 1/125 secs shutter speed. I suggest ISO 400 film on most outdoor occasions, but I reckon ISO 200 will also be sufficient on a very sunny day.
Anyway, here are some recent photos from this little wonder:
Note the attractive vignetting in each photo. I think I used Kodak Ultramax 400 for these photos, so colour rendition (especially the blues) is nice and modern. The plastic lens is surprisingly decent, and though there is definite softness in the corners, the centre is acceptably sharp. These are rather mundane photos, so please forgive me ! I have another roll or two to get developed and expect some more interesting results from those. Next time I’ll have to follow my own common advice and GET CLOSER TO MY SUBJECTS with a wide angle like this.
Is this the new Vivitar Ultra Wide? I think so ! Fun, light and small.