When I first heard that RETO planned to produce a copy of the Ultra Wide & Slim camera, I didn’t need another camera… But at $25, I really couldn’t pass it up either… It was a quick impulse preorder/purchase, using ApplePay on my phone, and to my horror and fury, instead of $25, or $33 maybe after shipping, it was $50… Shipping from China or wherever was exactly the same price as the camera. Subhanallah. Had I known, I probably wouldn’t have bothered, but ApplePay moves fast, and about 3 months later, a nice dark grey RETO Ultra Wide & Slim arrived in my hot little hands.
I decided to run the first test on Super Sunday and pit the young upstart RETO Ultra Wide & Slim (hereafter RUWS) against the OG Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim (VUWS). I made a silly couple of Tweets about it, and burned through a roll of Fuji Superia 400 in both at the Botanical Research Institute of Texas (fka the Fort Worth Botanic Garden).
I’m mostly going to share a bunch of pictures with very little comment. In all cases, the RUWS is on the left and the VUWS is on the right.
I kept hunting for red, but not finding much. Given the season (February in TX is winter), there were loads of browns and greens, and the blue sky, but not much else, colorwise.
For the majority of frames, there is very little difference between the two cameras. The RUWS lens is a bit contrastier and slightly cooler, and has different flare characteristics, though it could be down to framing and/or wind.
For example, I’m not sure what happened here:
And it never happened again.
And for the most part, they’re relevantly similar.
One thing I did notice, and that’s a very minor, but obvious difference between the cameras: the RUWS has a much more precise mask inside that produces something very close to 2×3, where the VUWS is more like 2×3.05 or so, slightly wider/longer than strictly 2×3…
Beyond that, it’s a matter of exterior color really—the RUWS comes in a variety of solid colors, like its predecessor from Powershovel, where the VUWS is two-toned—and relative age:the RUWS is in current production, as of early 2022; the VUWS is long out of production.
If you find one in a local camera shop, or from a US shipper, you may get a better deal on the new RUWS than the $50 I paid (after shipping). I actually paid about the same for my used VUWS… Oh well.
One roll in, I’m hard pressed to pick a winner. I like the flare characteristics of the RUWS in this test, but prefer the less contrasty images from the VUWS (and its flare is legendary and works well much of the time). So I guess it’s a draw?
Oh, and apologies: I had an unboxing all filmed, and like an idiot lost the files. I may do a faked one and insert some pictures, but I’ll have to see how I feel. Also, I may or may not do a proper review of the Reto at some point, so if you were hoping for that, reach out and request one, and I’ll see what I can do.