The vivitar ultra wide and slim is a great camera, small, lightweight and generally pretty robust for what it is. It does however have one nasty design flaw. The wind-on mechanism relies on a "keyed" shaft rotating in a cylinder to drive the take up spool, and allow the spool to rotate freely when rewinding. When you wind the film on, all the force is taken by this tiny key, a little lump of plastic less than a milimetre wide. It's no wonder that winding on aggressively causes the little thing to snap off. When this happens, the wind-on wheel can no longer drive the take up spool. There's a sinking feeling as you feel slight resistance on the winder, then just as you're thinking "I wonder if this is the end of the roll?" there's a tiny *click* and suddenly the winder carries on winding no matter how much you turn it.
Many users are avoiding 36 exposure films to reduce the stress on this part, others have used 36 for ages with no problems. It's probably down to how carefully you wind on, and a big helping of luck!
The other day one of my vivs suffered this dreadful fate, so rather than trash it and seeing as I have some experience of viv surgery I thought I'd see what, if anything, could be done. I'm happy to report the patient is out of surgery and has made a good recovery!
NOTE: This procedure won't restore your viv exactly how it was before disaster struck. It involves glueing the rewind mechanism and providing a different method to allow the film to be wound back when the roll is finished. But it should get you snapping again!
Here's what to do if you want to get your viv back into service! You'll need:
- a very small philips screwdriver
- a craft knife and/or small file
- some superglue!
OK, got everything ready? Time to commence surgery!