Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Vivitar T200 Focus Free/Flash

From the time that George Eastman in 1888 introduced the first Kodak until digital became predominant in the 2000's much of the photo industry was focused on making cameras for those who just wanted to look through the viewfinder and push a button. The resulting images didn't have to be outstanding.  Just good enough to trigger memory. Fortunately negative film with its generally wide latitude was very forgiving and perfectly accurate exposures were not necessary most of the time. That let camera makers produce cameras for the masses with usually just one shutter speed and aperture that would cover most picture taking possibilities.  From the early box cameras to the plastic point and shoots like the Vivitar T200 the approach was the same. 

Along with the events like birthdays and holidays, many people used their point and shots to take a few shots of their garden.  And the Vivitar T200 does live up to the focus free part of its name here.  The aperture for the T200 appears to be f/5.6.  The shutter speed likely is the standard 1/125.  It has a flash if you add batteries.  One nice feature is that you can turn the flash off.  On a lot of this type of camera the flash is always on.  The Vivitar T200 has a built-in lens cover that also locks the shutter.  Overall the Vivitar T200 is cheap, but well-made for a camera of this type.  It doesn't feel like it is going to fall apart in your hands like many of these cameras do.

As a camera in the long tradition of point and shoots the Vivitar T200 does its job.  It looks like it can give a reasonable representation of its subject most of the time.  Unfortunately, most of the people who wanted what the Vivitar T200 had to offer have gone over to digital.  And with the convenience of being able to take their snapshots with devices like their phones they are never likely to return.  And so far without the vintage appeal that some of the box camera have, the plastic point and shot is probably the most unwanted of cameras. Myself I tend to have some sympathy toward the unwanted. Which I think is why I often can't pass up giving these cameras a home when I see one cheap at a garage sale or thrift store. 

I found that there is a version of the Vivitar T200 that is still for sale.  It looks different than the version here and it also has a panorama mode.  I suppose Vivitar made so many of this kind of camera that they lost track of what camera was named what. Well, if nothing else you may have just read the only blog post devoted to the Vivitar T200.