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At last, a Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim April 24, 2010

Posted by mirl in Uncategorized.
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I can remember regularly browsing the used cameras aisle of Goodwill a few years ago in search of a bargain-priced Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim.  Those of you who are into lomo cameras will know that the "Viv" is among the favorite "toy" film cameras because of its wide lens.  How wide?  22mm.  But its appealing qualities to the lomo buff do not stop there.  The resulting images from this cheaply built plastic manual camera can be really nice, in the way that only film images can be nice.  And it's light and small, with no bells nor whistles.

Anyway, I turned to thrift stores back then to find a used Viv because its price had gone up due its popularity.  One could find them on eBay back then, but at ridiculous prices.  Just today, I checked eBay out of curiosity and found only one Viv listed, and the price was at $30.  Remember, this is a plastic manual film camera—fixed aperture, fixed shutter speed.    That's it. Almost disposable (gasp!).  There is currently a commercially available replica selling at around $25 to $30 depending on where you look.  At that time, a few years ago, I had no luck finding an inexpensive (think one to two dollars) Viv and I eventually forgot about it.  I had several other "toy" cameras after all.

Well today, on a whim, I dropped by Goodwill looking for nothing in particular, but hopeful.  The Viv was the last thing on my mind.  As I was going through the pile of used cameras (this has become a habit of mine whenever I'm at the Goodwill store), what did I find but a Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim!  It took a few seconds before I recognized it and for the find to sink in.  And then I said to myself, "oh".  It looks unused, and everything works.  Sometimes I can be lucky.  How much did I pay for it?

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Cheaper moles August 29, 2009

Posted by mirl in Uncategorized.
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I had recently read about Piccadilly notebooks while I was browsing the web trying to satisfy my notebook fixation.  They are basically Moleskine notebooks in design, at less than half the price.  (Here is a review from Black Cover, entitled "Proving Moleskine is Just a Style: The Piccadilly Notebook".)  They are available at Borders bookstores.  Today, I dropped by the local Borders and picked up three of them:  Two small (3.5 x 5.5 in.) notebooks and a large (7.25 x 10 in.) one.  The notebooks with blue labels in the photo are ruled, soft-cover notebooks, while the one with a yellow label is a graph, hard-cover notebook.  It also comes in a style with blank pages, but I did not see those on the bookshelf that I was browsing.  A medium size is also available, which is the same size as the medium Moleskine.

When I compared the paper of the Piccadilly to that of my Moleskines, I realized that the Piccadilly paper (acid-free) is thicker.  When I tested my very wet fountain pens on the Piccadilly, the paper did much better than the Moleskine paper, which actually did terribly on the fountain pen test.

Borders is having a sale this weekend, so the small notebooks went for a penny less than $4, while the large notebooks were a penny less than $6.  So my total cost for the three notebooks was less than the price of a medium-sized Moleskine.  Thank goodness.

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