Is it "the poor mans lomo"? or is it a great inexpensive toy and perfect partner for whatever camera you normally use? Here, I offer some reasons to exploit it's fixed exposure and mechanical functions, there's always beauty to be found in simplicity. And it weighs almost nothing!
This camera has a lot of fans, sometimes called “the poor mans lomo”, a lot of great comments can be found on various analog/photo websites.
Now that I’ve had it a while I tend to use it in a specific way. Because it has such a wide angle, 22mm, I keep B&W film in there most of the time and use it as an extra camera along with my LCA. The B&W (Kodak BW400BCN) is great for all kinds of weather, sunny or cloudy, which is necessary as the camera has a fixed exposure with no adjustments possible. My local mini-lab does a great job with this film; it’s C-41 so any mini-lab can process it.
Warning: Use 24 exposure films only, it can’t accommodate 36, if I use a 36exp roll I take it out after 24exp. I have tested this with the camera open and a dummy roll, there’s just no room for more than about 26 exposures to be wound onto the take up spool, after that you would break the camera. I just reload the 36 film into another camera and advance to past the 24/26 exposures, so no film is wasted.
Shooting into the sun with the UWS can give some great pics, the fixed exposure is an advantage here, and the lens flare is usually interesting and sometimes spectacular. I have even captured a cool ice halo with this cam, and shot thru a tourist telescope too.
Avoid getting too close, about 3 feet is the closest recommended. Architecture can be fun thanks to the super wide angle, especially if you shoot straight up, and the buildings will converge together so close!
Being completely mechanical, no need to worry about batteries dying on the chairlift at -10C. And when the airline says all devices with an on/off switch must be turned off (at takeoff & landing) you can happily shoot away out the window with no guilt at all (daytime only though, fixed exposure remember).
Lot’s of people love this camera and it seems many have their own way of using it. I’ve just shared my own ideas, but I’m sure if you get one you’ll find your own reasons to love this cam, that’s part of it’s beauty. It’s ridiculously lightweight too.