No, its not on the International Space Station....yet!  The Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim was a simple point and shoot plastic camera barely worth the few dollars it costs …..Now it is the quintessential hipster, retro, future, anarchist imaging device!  The cost has gone up in proportion with its popularity and now commands $25 to $50 for one of its many clones.  I bought mine at a thrift shop for $1.50 so I'm not too afraid to dig into it and do some modifications!


For all its cromulence, the camera is a little limited in photographic capability.  It has one shutter speed (1/125 sec), one aperture (f11), and one focal length (22mm).


In this Instructable, we’ll modify the Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim (hereafter called UWS) and give it some additional photographic control features such as:

1. Multiple Exposure Capability 

2. Variable shutter speed

3. Bulb shutter speed

4. Cable release capability

5. Tripod bushing

6. Easy open back

7. Filter Capacity

8.  Hot Shoe

Some may argue that adding additional photographic features defeats the purpose of a simple point and shoot.  I for one like to have the capability to extend my creative vision--however myopic.  The best part of these modifications is that it does not change the basic functionality of the camera.  You can just ignore the added capabilities and stick to what you know. 

Step 1: Camera Overview

 I can only imagine how astonished the Vivitar executives were at the success of a small and nondescript camera aimed at the low end camera market.  It was just one in a long line of crappy plastic cameras.  The only real difference was an exceptionally wide angle lens designed for expanses like the Grand Canyon. 

I'm sure that Vivtar has lost whatever patent rights they had on the camera design because there are plenty of clones out (mostly from Superheadz) there now ready to sell to unsuspecting hipsters at premium prices.  All the clones seem to be about the same, except in different colors.  Many from Superheadz models are shipping with a nice ruggedized rubber coating.

The camera design has some issues

1.  One well known issue is the quality of the winding mechanism.  With high torque, a small piece of plastic can break off making the winding mechanism useless.  Many will only use 24 exposure rolls to minimize the stress on this part. 

2.  The 22mm lens is prone to flare.  Most people consider this a feature rather than a limitation.

3.  Viewfinder covers about 80% of what ends up on the film. 

4.  The back cover is notoriously difficult to open.

Despite these issues, the camera has earned a cult following...lets try to increase the congregation by adding some additional capabilities.

** One note on naming conventions.  When I say left or right side of the camera, that would be as if you were standing behind the camera just like you would be if you were composing and taking a photograph.
And here I was so proud I flipped my Vivitar T100 lens successfully. You have humbled me. I can't wait to try out some of these ideas. Thanks for posting this!
The T100 is a great camera too! I bought a bunch when American Science and Surplus was selling them for $1 each. Gave some away, made pinholes out a few and did the lens flip as well. I have one in the box and have contemplated giving it my Instructables treatment (bulb, multiple exposure, etc). It would really just be pulling individual mods from around the internet and consolidating them in one spot. <br> <br>It would be even easier since it already has a hotshoe and tripod socket. Not sure there is a huge demand for this type of information, but I have not let that stop me before!
This is blowing my mind. Great work &amp; fun to see someone doing so much to that little camera. Next time I'm with some film friends I'm going to bring this up.
Cutting up this camera is a lot easier to contenplate than putting my ETRSi under the knife. There is a Flickr group dedicated to this camera...always great ultra-wide photos to see and a lot of like minded folks!

About This Instructable


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Bio: I don't care about what anything was DESIGNED to do, I care about what it CAN do.
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