Vivitar Mariner

I bought this ages ago. I think it might have been during a lockdown when I was bored. At the time I was going through an “I love Vivitar” stage and here was a brand new one in a box with the instructions.

When it arrived I put a battery in expecting to hear the whine of the flash powering up, but there was nothing. I know I am getting old, but I can still hear a flash cycling up – not in this instance. I checked the camera over and it looked very clean. Just in case, I cleaned the battery compartment and still, nothing happened. Hmmph. So I put it back in the box and left it…for ages. Every now and then I got it out wondering why I hadn’t used it, put a battery in and went, “oh yeah”.

The camera works without a battery, you only need one AA for the flash. It is pretty much a toy camera with a focus-free 28mm lens, one aperture and one speed, those being f9 and 1/125th. Once you have the camera in the waterproof housing, there is no access to the flash switch or lens cover. So you have to set them before you fix the camera inside that. But I wanted the flash to work goddamn it! So me being me, I took it apart. It is a cheap camera, I figured there might be a loose wire or something.

It was very easy to take apart, I just undid any screw I could find and pulled the two coloured sections apart. There, at the front of the camera where the switch is, I saw this…

It looked fairly clean, but there was a slight green film on the power contact plates. I cleaned that off and hoped that the switch would now function as it should and turn on the flash. Once it was back together I heard the familiar whine of it charging. Yipee, I fixed it.

The instructions didn’t really give any details of what film to use so I decided on the sunny sixteen-ish rule, on a bright day an Ilford FP4 of 125asa would be fine. I would post a photo of the instructions, but they are pretty useless.

Interestingly after all that effort, I didn’t use the flash at all. I decided to use the camera on my cycle to and from work as I tend to only do that on a nice bright day. I tried the camera with and without the waterproof housing as I read a review somewhere that it made the shots out of focus. On the test roll below I could not see a difference between them in that respect. Though I can see a fuzzy part on some shots which may be due to the housing.

On the whole, the shots are ok, quite soft. Oh and that is my new bike, an e-bike as I am getting older and fatter. It has made a huge difference to the enjoyment I get out of cycling. But, this was just after it arrived and can you see the forks? I found out later that they were installed backwards. I took it to the dealer for a frayed cable to be changed and the mechanic also pointed out that. No wonder I fell off a couple of times, it made the fit a bit too high…and weird. And, there is dad still alive and well, still annoyed by being the end of roll of film model.

I haven’t used the camera in the rain or underwater as the box says it is only waterproof up to 3 metres. So ok for snorkelling, not very good for much else. I might use it at the beach sometime this summer, maybe compare it to the Canon sure shot A1 that I have. For the price, it is fine, just fine. In this case, I think you get what you pay for.

7 thoughts on “Vivitar Mariner

  1. William says:

    Good enlargements of the prints to be seen viewing in ‘AMP’ mode. I love ’em, and in a way you likely didn’t intend,
    This is clearly a Ghost lens, for capturing eeriness. With monochrome film, almost custom-made for rendering dread.
    The softness gives a slightly unsettling ghostly glow to scenes and objects. I found that eery shot of the clothing (?) on the wire fence (?) chilling; the spectral luminosity of the glowing road through the empty fields is just spooky; the dark corpse of the derelict car in the ditch sinister. I’d be giving a fearful start at every rustling of leaf or twig. A Halloween Camera! Yet Dad looks solid and hale!
    Great fun, this post – thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peggy says:

      That car is near the clothes on the fence and it is very spooky. I think the clothes are a tribute to someone who died around there. So it did make me uneasy, I didnt stay long. Your descriptions of the photos are wonderful, thank you.


  2. William says:

    Hah! I *knew* it!
    “Clothing Memorial – Road Accident – spirits on the road, don’t dare walk out at night”
    That camera is a keeper, has a special talent for capturing dark stillness & menace. I’d keep it, but stored in a locked shed out back.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Toby says:

    Nice shots if they weren’t so soft. How much worse could the waterproofs case make it?? I am curious about that,I wonder if the case that goes in front of the lens is in fact a lens to counteract the refractive index of water…with it being different to air. Possibly +ve, making infinity closer.

    Liked by 1 person

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