I’ve heard folk rave about modern film cameras before. There are some serious devotees to the cult of Lomography and all that LSI makes for example. But Sunpet’s tiny wide angled camera originally sold as the Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim (VUWS) and today is sold as the Superheadz Wide and Slim or the Eximus has developed a similar cachet. But does it live up to it’s tag as “The Poor man’s Lomo”
The answer is yup actually !
You’ve probably never heard of Sunpet Industries Ltd, they are a Hong Kong based company that make a range of products (often sold under other branding). They still make film cameras including the modern VUWS clones. The VUWS was actually to be found in the likes of poundshops a year or 2 back (curses !!! missed that) but you can still buy a superheadz model on amazon new for under 20 quid.
It’s an all plastic affair. The body is tiny, really tiny about the size of smaller pack of playing cards. Despite what devotes to the Rollei or Minox 35 series would have you believe, I think the VUWS is probably the smallest full frame 35mm camera in the world (it certainly is the smallest in production). The modern Superheadz version comes in a range of colours to suit all palettes.
Superheadz Wide & Slim Specs
- Lens: 22mm
- Focus : Fixed
- Metering: None
- Shutter speed: 1/125 sec
- Aperture: f/11
- Filter-Thread: N/A
The camera comes with a reverse Galilean viewfinder and shutter button and ….erm that’s it. the shutter, aperture and focus are all fixed There is no hotshoe, cable release, tripod mount(that ain’t stopped folk modding their VUWS)
And the shots. Well bear in mind there is no exposure control, but in the right conditions very good. Most folk recommend 400asa but on the few rolls so far I had better performance on 200asa (this is probably on the basis that modern film can cope with 2-3 stops over exposure but only one stop under). The camera Vignettes out of the box giving a Lomo feel. The 22mm plastic lens is one of the widest full compact camera lens on the market and is actually pretty sharp centrally but does give out on the edges but this again adds to the appeal. The manual suggests a 1.2m-∞ focus range but folk have got a lot closer in
Flare is something else here but no worse than other plastic lensed cams and for some will be a reason to exploit.
There are downsides. The light & tiny size makes the film compartment door a pain to open (HINT try doing it with the door facing downward to let gravity help). You do see notes of concern about using 36exp rolls and the tension this puts on the winder. There also are some references to the shutter slowing over time.
That said I still think this is a classic ultra compact camera and one that is still being made. IMHO is quite simply the best Toy class camera out there.
- Diana Mini – LSI’s challenging retro ultra compact plastic number
- Halina Panorama – boxier toy camera from Haking
- Olympus XA2 – Ultra compact with Zuiko Glass
- Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim at camera-wiki.org
- Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim group at Flickr
- Modding guide to VUWS at instructibles.com
- VUWS review at Saturated Images