Battle of the Wide-Angle Vivitars (Part 2)

3

In part one I compared and contrasted features of four similar wide-angle Vivitar point and shoot cameras, including the legendary Ultra Wide and Slim. In part two, I compare the results of the shootout and you can decide which looks best. You might be surprised.

In part one, I compared the features of these four popular Vivitar Wide-Angle cameras. In part two of this review we’ll have a look at the results of the shootout. I shot all of these comparison shots from the same spot looking out in the same direction and using Kodak Gold 200 film from the same package. Of course, each of these cameras has some unique features that might make it a better choice for some applications. For instance, the IC-100 has a hot shoe. The rest don’t. The PN2011 has tripod threads and a lens cover that can act as a shutter for pinhole photography.

I took this first shot with the sun at my back. I wanted to shoot objects in the distance to compare infinity focus and the sharpness of the lenses. I wanted to get lots of sky to compare the vignetting.

Vivitar CV35


Vivitar IC 100

Vivitar PN2011

Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim

Notice how much wider the Ultra Wide and Slim is than the others. Even though the CV35 has a corrected multi-element lens, the edge sharpness is better on the Ultra Wide and Slim, and there is more detail in the grass. Notice the nice vignetting for which the Ultra Wide and Slim is famous. Notice how nicely exposed the IC 100 shot is. Notice that the CV35 perspective is almost as wide as the Ultra Wide and Slim in this shot.

For this next shot, I had the sun at my left and I held the cameras about six inches from the ground.

Vivitar CV35


Vivitar IC 100

Vivitar PN2011

Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim

Notice how blurry the PN2011 image is. Notice how even the closest blades of grass are nearly in focus in both the CV35 and the Ultra Wide and Slim images. Notice the lack of vignetting in the PN2011 image. Notice the vignetting in the IC 100 image. Which image exposure do you like the best? The IC 100 seems more “accurate,” but somehow less pleasant.

The next shot was a vertical shot to take advantage of the wide field of view along the long axis. This was a back-lit shot with the sun to my right.

Vivitar CV35


Vivitar IC 100

Vivitar PN2011

Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim

Notice the extreme wide angle of the CV35. Again, not as wide as the Ultra Wide and Slim, but very wide. Again, I think the IC 100 was more “true” in its representation of the scene, but somehow less pleasant.

For the next shot, I included a contrasty, well-defined foreground object and distant objects to compare focus. The sun was was to my right and starting to get low on the horizon.

Vivitar CV35


Vivitar IC 100

Vivitar PN2011

Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim

I did post-processing on all of these shots, but I did the exact same thing to all of them. I just used the “I’m feeling lucky” action in Picasa to automatically adjust the levels since they were all starting to be slightly underexposed.

This next shot is looking straight into the sun.

Vivitar CV35


Vivitar IC 100

Vivitar PN2011

Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim

Notice how the IC 100 seems to handle the tricky lighting pretty well. The exposure is pretty good for the Ultra Wide and Slim too, but it also displays the plastic lens flaring for which it’s famous. As usual, the PN2011 doesn’t really have anything going for it.

The next shot is with the Sun at my back. Pay attention to the letters on the building.

Vivitar CV35


Vivitar IC 100

Vivitar PN2011

Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim

The sharpest image was from the IC 100. It was also the most accurate with respect to the lighting that I actually saw. The sky is exposed well enough to make out the thin clouds pretty well.

The next shot is with the sun directly behind a building. Normally, I would adjust the levels to increase the details in the shadows, but that would whiten the sky and I wanted to compare the exposures of the cameras, so I left that alone. You can still get a very good idea of the differences in the perspectives of the cameras.

Vivitar CV35


Vivitar IC 100

Vivitar PN2011

Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim

Even though I like the perspective of the Ultra Wide and Slim and the CV35, I think the IC 100 did a better job with the exposure, but just barely.

Finally, I did a shot the the round rock after which my home town is named. The Sun was below the horizon and I knew I was pushing these simple cameras to their limits since I was using a “slowish” film. The Sun was to my back and the sky was fairly clear, so I was hoping for a decent reflection in the water. The rock is made out of limestone, so it’s pretty light.

Vivitar CV35


Vivitar IC 100

Vivitar PN2011

Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim

The exposure was not great with the Ultra Wide and Slim, but what it did pick up was sharp and contrasty. Again, I think the IC 100 produced the most natural colors.

There were a few things I couldn’t compare. For instance, the IC 100 has a hot shoe which is a huge advantage for shooting clubs, parties, night etc. The IC 100 is by far the easiest camera to do multiple-exposures with. The CV35 has a built-in flash which is very handy. The PN2011 has features that make it a much better choice for pinhole modifications than any of the others. The PN2011 also has the cheesy pseudo-panoramic feature which might be useful for something.

So, what do you think? What’s your favorite? What’s your least favorite? Does the Ultra Wide and Slim deserve its reputation? Are any of these a reasonable substitute? Are any of these a good compliment to the Ultra Wide and Slim? Do you own one or more of these? Have you had the same results? Let me know what you think. You can post your responses here.

written by gvelasco on 2012-06-22 in #reviews

3 Comments

  1. gvelasco
    gvelasco ·

    Make sure you check out part one too.

  2. renenob
    renenob ·

    UWS is the real thing! Photos justify the hype!

  3. retro-girl
    retro-girl ·

    Interesting article

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