Mom’s mountain home is beautiful and pleasant and a relaxing place to visit, and I always enjoy my time there, even if the seafoam green carpet and tile aren’t much to my liking. During a visit to her place in late July, 2021, four cameras battled: Lomography’s LC-Wide, a Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim, a Konica WaiWai, and the Nikon FM3a with the 17-35mm f/2.8D.

In Round 2, we see how well the LC-Wide, Vivitar UWS, and Konica WaiWai perform indoors.

First off, let’s address the obvious point. Why would anyone pit three plastic-lensed cameras against the FM3a and 17-35mm f/2.8 D, which is one of the finest wide angle zooms ever produced? Sure: the FM3a is a competent aperture priority powerhouse and an amazing camera, what with its 1/4000th maximum shutter speed even without batteries. And the 17-35mm is an amazing piece of optical excellence: no doubt. In the hands of a competent photographer, they’re surely more than capable tools.

But in my hands? Bah. The cover image tells the whole story: I load film with the shutter dial set to 1/4000th. Given that I have to wind on at least partly at least once, I’m often impatient with the automated exposure, which regularly selects excruciatingly long shutter speeds, especially when the lens cap is on. So I sidestep and ensure it’s always super fast… Great when loading film; not so great when you forget to set the dial back to A mode, which I do with some regularity, and which I did this time. It did ok outdoors in bright sun, but indoors? Sheesh.

Anyway. Back to Round 2.

The other cameras faired better. With its exposure programing, the LC-Wide gave a proper exposure, but the fixed 1/100ths of the Vivitar UWS and Konica WaiWai held their own.

I’m not too sure where that red line in the Wai Wai version came from. The little plastic single-use-but-reloaded-half-a-dozen-times camera remains amazingly light tight. I suspect a manufacturing defect of some sort, but don’t really know.

Anyway. The LC-W has something of an advantage, given its exposure computer, and probably captured the scene more as I saw it, but I prefer the mood provided by the UWS and WaiWai, even if I got the color balance a bit off on the photo from the WaiWai.

Mom likes to sit out on the deck and read in the afternoon. The weather is usually pleasant enough and it’s quite peaceful. After naps one day, I saw her out there and had to make a photo.

The variable-exposure LC-W once again gives some shadow detail that the others simply can’t capture, but I think the UWS, with its much tighter framing, produced a better image.

Near the puzzle table, one of the window seals is cracked and the window has this great fog in it. With the curtains and view outside, it’s nearly unmissable.

No real comments here, though I did a better job, I think with the UWS, though the LC-W made a sharper picture.

Shortly after this, I had the bright idea to make a self… Given the wide angles, the UWS and WaiWai are both reasonably capable of capturing an arms-length selfy, and the LC-W focuses as close as 0.4m (~1.5′) which is about half-arms length, so they all turned out fine.

And here the LC-W falls down: sure, it’s the most properly exposed, but check that barrel distortion! Sheesh. The crappy plastic UWS is fairly well corrected, and the single-use WaiWai has virtually none.

Once again, I sorta prefer the tighter framing on the UWS, and this test really shows just how wide 17mm really is…

I’m quite torn here. The LC-W clearly did the best, exposure wise, but I honestly prefer the images from the UWS. The WaiWai did a fine job too, though it’s really best in bright sun, I think. The winner is clear, in my mind, and I’ll grudgingly give second place to the LC-W, though I was really rooting for the WaiWai through this whole thing…

  1. Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim
  2. Lomo LC-Wide
  3. Konica WaiWai

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