To be honest, I just wanted an excuse to shoot the Wai Wai. I loaded it up and had it sitting when the trip to Mom’s came up, and spur-of-the-moment decided to see if it could be bested by any of the other wide angle cameras in my stable. I was biased, and strongly so. I love the Wai Wai.

And then I started scanning…

In the shooting, I made a conscious effort to 1) recognize and 2) actually shoot scenes that would play to the Wai Wai’s strengths, that of the amazing flare and ghosting. Hence the shot of the flowers on Mom’s deck.

I mean, come on. The nearly perfectly round halo around the center of the frame? Can anything be better?

Well… look closely at the picture from the Vivitar. Yes, the color balance is off, but that rainbow shower emanating from the sun is just fantastic. It’s not too obvious in the flower picture, but when I went down the hill and crawled under that tree, check it.

The Wai Wai (on the right) did exactly what I expected it to do: a nice central halo with pleasant flare and ghosting all around. A clear winner, right?

Well… Look at the UWS! That’s my favorite photograph from all four rolls! The color, the clarity and shadow detail, that rainbow shower: it’s just brilliant!

So, ladies and gentlemen, we have a rather clear, if wildly unexpected winner!

Given that the Vivitar UWS is by far the cheapest of the four cameras, coming in at 1/3 the cost of a Wai Wai, 1/9th the cost of a LC-W, and ~1/32nd of an FM3a and 17-35 f/2.8D, if you’re interested in a good quality, if quirky, images, get on the ‘bay and find one. Sure: it’s not as wide as the others (22mm vs 17mm), and they’re somewhat more cheaply built, but what goodness!

So after four rounds, the results are as follows:

  1. Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim
  2. Konica Wai Wai
  3. Lomo LC-W/Nikon FM3a & 17-35mm f/2.8D (tie)

And, again, it’s down to preference entirely. I’m biased and a total hack. My photography is a hobby and largely garbage. I like what I like and rarely apologize for it.

How would you rank them? I’d love to hear some comments, though if you only want to tell me what a fool I am, I already know.

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