We had an unseasonably warm and sunny day here recently, so I loaded some film into my new Reto Ultra Wide and Slim and took it on a lunchtime photo walk.
This small, light, all-plastic camera has good structural rigidity — it doesn’t bend or flex in the hand, and under use it makes no squeaking or creaking noises. I can’t say that for some other more advanced and expensive point-and-shoot cameras I’ve owned.
The shutter button feels sure. The winder feels thin and cheap, however.
The general experience of the Reto Ultra Wide and Slim is similar to a single-use camera.
I wanted to shoot ISO 400 color film in this camera, but I was out. I have heard that 36-exposure rolls can jam up, at least in the original Vivitar version of this camera. So I turned to some 24-exposure Kroger-branded ISO 200 color film I recently bought. It’s expired Ferrania stock. It was supposed to have been stored properly, but the images I got back all showed the hallmarks of expired film.
Images from the Reto show some vignetting and softness in the corners, kind of like an old box Brownie. Otherwise, the lens gives good sharpness.
I find it remarkable that the lens displays little to no distortion. I’d love to know how they got what’s probably a single-element plastic lens to do that.
The viewfinder isn’t perfectly accurate. When I framed the photo below, the alley on the right wasn’t so much in the frame. This is normally a pet peeve of mine, and something that causes me to pass on a camera. But the inaccuracy isn’t terrible on this camera. I want to keep experimenting with the Reto. Perhaps I’ll learn how to compensate for its inaccurate viewfinder.
This expired Kroger film didn’t show much exposure latitude. A few photos were so underexposed as to be useless. This one shows classic signs of underexposure — on this full-sun day, I shot a subject in the shade.
I very much enjoy how much context my photos from around Zionsville all have in the Reto’s lens.
None of these photos is going to win a prize. But I can tell that I’ve yet to find my groove with this camera. I have some Fomapan 400 in it now, and will keep shooting it for a while. A full review will come later, perhaps in the spring or summer.
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