In part one, I compare and contrast the features of four very similar wide-angle Vivitar point and shoot cameras, including the legendary Ultra Wide and Slim. In part two, I look at the results of a side-by-side shootout.
I noticed in my collection that I have several very wide-angle Vivitars, including three Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slims. The last thing Lomography.com needs is another Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim review, but I occasionally see questions on the interwebs about other wide-angle Vivs — how they work, if they’re any good, and whether or not they are good substitutes for the Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim. So, I decided to do a shoot-out using these four common wide-angle Vivitar point and shoot cameras.
The four cameras that I will be comparing are the Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim, the Vivitar IC 100, the Vivitar CV35, and the Vivitar PN2011. All of these cameras have a fixed shutter speed, fixed aperture, and a fixed focus lens. All of these cameras are fully manual loading, advancing, and rewinding. All of these have wide-angle lenses, although they are of varying focal lengths. All of these cameras are essentially Sunny 16 cameras. Let’s have a look at their features.
The Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim is, of course, the most famous camera of the quartet. New ones are currently being marketed by SuperHeadz as the Black Slim Devil, the White Slim Angel, etc. There is a very rare version of this camera with a built-in flash. The Wide and Slim definitely lives up to its name being the widest and slimmest of the bunch. It’s famous because of its 22mm lens which is extremely wide-angle. This is very uncommon. Not counting the Viv UW&S clones currently being sold, The Lomographic Society’s La Sardina is the only other easily obtainable point and shoot 35mm camera with a 22mm lens. The Ultra Wide and Slim has an aperture of f/11 and a shutter speed of 1/125”. I did a two part comparison of the Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim and La Sardina that you can read here, and here.
The Vivitar IC 100 is related to the Vivitar IC 101 Panoramic camera. The IC 101 Panoramic is a “psuedo panoramic” camera that uses a mask on the top and bottom of the picture to give the illusion of a wide-angle picture. The IC 100 is also sold as a do-it-yourself snap-together kit which goes by the name of “Camman 35mm Camera Kit” or “SuperHeadz Plamodel DIY 35mm Camera”. The IC 100 is missing the panoramic switch and includes a hot shoe. I think this is a much better configuration. The IC 100/101 has an aperture of f/9.5, but it’s sometimes reported as f/11. The IC 100/101 has a shutter speed of 1/125”, but it is sometimes reported as 1/85”. It has a 24mm plastic lens which is not as wide as the Ultra Wide and Slim, but pretty close and still very wide. I did a Lomography.com review of the Vivitar IC 100 family that you can read here.
The Vivitar CV35 can also be found as the Vivitar Ice Cam, or the Candys 2 camera. The CV34 and the Ice Cam are usually found in various transparent colors. The Vivitar CV35 has a 27mm lens made up of two elements in two groups. That’s twice as sophisticated as ever other camera in this group and very uncommon for this type of camera. It might even be a glass lens, but I haven’t been able to determine that. I have seen it advertised with an aperture of f/9.5 and f/8. I believe that f/9.5 or maybe even f/11 is closer to the truth. The CV35 has a shutter speed of 1/100”. The CV35 is interesting for several reason. First, it’s the only one of this group that has a built-in flash. Second, it has a two-element corrected lens. Third, this camera body is the basis for the Lomography Fisheye No.1 and Lomography Fisheye No. 2 cameras. That’s right. They started with this body and attached a fish eye lens to it. For this reason, I’ll be doing a separate review of the CV35 and comparing it to the Lomography Fisheye cameras later.
The Vivitar PN2011 has a 28mm lens, an aperture of f/8 and a shutter speed of 1/125”. Strangely, it includes a tripod socket. The fact that it has a tripod socket, and lens cover make this a popular camera for converting into a pinhole. B-mode and multi-exposure mods are also easy, so this is a popular mod camera. This is the most commonly suggested replacement for the the Ultra Wide and Slim even though it has the longest focal length of this group and it doesn’t vignette. The aperture is one full stop larger than the aperture of the Ultra Wide and Slim, but the shutter speed is the same, so this should be slightly better low-light performer. I think this is an interesting camera, but I don’t think it’s a good replacement for the Ultra Wide and Slim.
Stay tuned for the part two of this article, where you can take a look at the photos and decide for yourself.