I've pumped more film through the Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim than just about any other camera. Maybe I should be embarrassed of the fact. Much of it has to do with its size. It's the smallest camera I own, and the film probably triples its weight -- i.e. it can go just about anywhere.
Its faults are its strengths, and I can offer the following observations about the camera:
- Light hungry? Indeed. Anything less than bright sun or bright overcast renders it pretty much useless. I would suggest 100 or 200 speed film.
- Like most so called focus-free cameras, this one has a fixed aperture of f11. You can actually get pretty close with it. But I find the shutter more sluggish than the specs suggest. I clocked mine at about 1/80. Hold it still.
- Expect images to have lots of barrel distortion. In spite of your best compositional efforts (the viewfinder isn't very accurate), you'll be hard pressed to get a shot that's perfectly level. The camera comes with its own geometry.
- The film door is flimsy. Hold the camera upside down and slide the latch all the way down to get it to pop open (I was sliding it halfway, where it tends to stop, and prying it open before I learned this "trick").
- It's actually fairly light tight. Mine is anyway.
- The vignetting and flare are amazing. Shoot into the sun often.
- It's been suggested to advance the film then shoot (versus shoot-advance) and to use only 12 or 24 exposure film. Something about putting too much pressure on the plastic inner workings.
Larry's Bar by bvybvy, on Flickr
The camera is also a good candidate for redscaling film. This is Fuji Superia 800.
Pittsburgh (redscale) by bvybvy, on Flickr