On impulse, I brought the Reto Ultra Wide and Slim on our vacation in Germany. I planned to bring two cameras — my Nikon Df for color and my Pentax IQZoom 170SL with eight rolls of Kodak T-Max 100 for b/w work. But the tiny RUWS was already out and loaded with Fujicolor 200, and it weighs next to nothing. I also had room for two more rolls of film in my film box. So I put two more rolls of Fujicolor 200 into it, and slipped it and the RUWS into my carry-on with my other gear.

The RUWS’s 21mm lens let me create some good drama. This is the massive Cologne Cathedral. When I framed this shot, the viewfinder didn’t include this much sky. But the viewfinder isn’t accurate; this is what the lens actually saw. I rather liked having all of this sky in the image, so I didn’t crop it out.


Here’s a more conventional looking-up view of the Cathedral. I hoped that 21mm would be wide enough that I could get the whole Cathedral into the frame, but no, I still couldn’t back up far enough.


The RUWS had obvious application when even the 28mm wide end of the zoom lens on my Nikon Df wasn’t wide enough. Sans-Souci was the summer home of Frederick the Great. It’s in Potsdam, which is southwest of Berlin. The RUWS let me capture the entire huge terraced approach to the house


The sprawling one-story structure is short and wide.


Moving in close to the building, the RUWS exaggerated the central part of the structure nicely.


We visited Linz, a little town on the Rhein River. The town center has been well preserved and is full of buildings from the medieval era.

Linz am Rhein

The RUWS was useful in capturing depth on the town’s narrow streets.

Linz am Rhein

You’d think that the RUWS would be terrific for capturing sweeping vistas, but you end up with gobs of sky and foreground. I’m learning that it’s better to move in close to large subjects, and let the RUWS capture lots of context.

Linz am Rhein

Lots of touring boats cruise the Spree River in Berlin. The RUWS let me capture this boat as the primary subject, while also showing plenty of the modern surrounding city.


St. Nicholas Church, having been completed in about 1230, is in a tie with another nearby church as the oldest in Berlin. It’s in a small plaza and there wasn’t enough room to back up to fit it into a frame with my Nikon Df at 28mm. I had to tilt the Reto back, creating an odd angle, but by golly the whole church fit.

Berlin - Nikolaikirche

I didn’t make the best images of my life on these three rolls of film, but some of them were pleasing and I had fun with the RUWS.

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14 responses to “The Reto Ultra Wide and Slim in Germany”

  1. Mike Connealy Avatar

    Very nice illustration of the RETO as an always ready travel companion.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thank you!

  2. Bernal Avatar

    Great photos from Germany! I own the Vivitar “original” version, and it never ceases to amaze me. Fantastic little camera.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Surprisingly good! Hard-to-believe good, really.

  3. Andy Umbo Avatar
    Andy Umbo

    Better quality than I would have thought!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      The two-element lenses in these punch above their class.

  4. sonny rosenberg Avatar

    Nice shots! I love my Jelly Lens version of the UWS.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Who knew this camera was so good? I mean, just by looking at it.

  5. Mark Avatar

    Jim are you using 24 exposure or does 36 work without feeling like it’s going to break. These pictures are very nice!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’m using 36-exp rolls. I worry more about the flimsy rewind crank than I do about the film. Never had the film bind up on rewind.

  6. Bryan C Avatar

    These are really nice. I have a vacation in Ireland coming up. I bet my sadly neglected Vivitar UWS would love to come along.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Doo eeet!

  7. Peggy Avatar

    I haven’t taken mine out for ages, these are great, so maybe I should.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      doooo eeeeet

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