The return of a classic: A new sub-US$30 Vivitar Ultra-Wide Slim 35mm film camera clone from The RETO Project
The folks over at The RETO Project have released their second camera, the RETO Ultra Wide & Slim 35mm film camera. As the name implies it comes with an ultra-wide lens 22mm f/11, at 28mm deep, it’s about as slim as the Ricoh GR1 / R1 series and best of all, at around the same cost as 2x 35mm rolls of Kodak Portra 800, it’s CHEAP.
Let’s get started with some photos from RETO’s online listing for the RETO UWS:
For those of you reading this who’ve been shooting film for longer than a couple of years, you’ll no doubt be drawing some immediate and very understandable comparisons between RETO Ultra Wide & Slim and the classic Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim. In fact, as the photo below from Peggy Marsh’s excellent Camera Go Camera review of the Vivitar UWS only the branding of the two cameras appears to be different (the aperture’s “f” designation is also in a different case (see the photo below from Peggy’s site) 😉
The camera is available for preorder now and according to the website, will be shipping from Feb 2022. Given REOT’s base of operation, the proximity of that timeframe to Chinese New Year this year, and stretched postal systems, I’m going peg March 2022 as a more likely date for buyers to receive theirs but — and I want to stress this clearly — they could be shipping in 2023 and will still have gotten my support.
The camera is available in five colours, Charcoal, as seen above, Cream, “Murky Blue”, “Pastel Pink” and “Muddy Yellow”. Photos below from RETO’s online listing for the RETO UWS:
Regarding features, there are no extra bells and whistles: this is a pure Plastic Fantastic camera and if my old Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slims, Eximus, Superheadz and Rainbow V clones are anything to go by, a complete flare monster when pointed directly at the sun. Even writing that sentence is bringing back memories of shooting slide and redscale film on mine in Hawaii almost a decade ago.
I digress. RETO’s main specs follow:
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|Camera name||RETO Ultra Wide & Slim|
|Camera type||35mm focs-free camera|
|Manufacturer||The Reto Project|
|Manufacture dates||2022 – ?|
|Format||135 format film (full frame)|
|Lens||Fixed 22mm f/ – 2-element optical-grade acrylic lens|
|Viewfinder||Plastic – ~95% (assumed)|
|Shutter||Mechanical, 1/125s. Automatically cocked on film wind-on.|
|Accessories||BYOS – Bring Your Own Strap
BYOC – Bring Your Own Case
|Weight||68.8g (without film)|
|100(W) x 59(H) x 28(D) mm|
Note: Reto recommend the use of ISO 100 or 200 films under bright sunlight and ISO 400 or above film for sunny or cloudy days — of course, you can always push your film in development if you’d prefer.
That’s really it! The camera is available for pre-order right now, should be shipped in a couple of months, is CHEAP and with any luck, will match that magic formula that gave the original Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim so much cachet.
In short, if you shot and loved the original, you’ll probably feel the same about the RETO. If you haven’t shot the original, or if the truly astronomical secondhand market prices have made you second guess purchasing one, this should get you most of, if not all the way there.
I for one have already put my money where my mouth is.
Ps. Thanks to @aislinn-chuahiock for the tip. If you’d like to submit your own, please drop me a line via DM on social media or by using this website’s contact page.
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