Vivitar CV35

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The Vivitar CV35 is a fixed-focus, plastic 35mm film camera marketed by Vivitar. It was introduced in early 1999, with a Vivitar press release calling it "an ideal first camera for young people and beginning photographers".[1]

The CV35 retail pack available on the market circa 2000 carried the copyright date ©1998, and sold for about USD $12, including one AA battery and a starter roll of film[2]. Its most notable feature is a see-through translucent body, in clear or several colors of plastic—perhaps reflecting the design influence of Apple Computer's 1998 "gumdrop" iMacs. Variants under other Vivitar model designations are known.

With fixed focus and shutter speed, a small aperture and a low-powered integrated flash, the CV35 might be considered to fall into the toy camera category. But its two-element lens raises it somewhat above the generic Chinese trashcam. The AA battery needed to power the flash is cleverly fitted into the core of the film take-up spool. As with many cameras in this class, film must be present and engaged with a toothed sprocket wheel in order for to cock the shutter, a "fail safe" design against mis-loaded film.

The original manual is strangely cavalier in suggesting film speeds from ISO 100 to ISO 1000[3], reflecting how reliant cameras like this are on the exposure latitude of color negative emulsions. The manual does note that slower films limit the flash range (under 8 feet with ISO 100 film); it also helpfully advises that even after the red "flash ready" light glows, it is best to wait a little while longer before actually shooting.


  • Fixed focus 27mm wide-angle lens (2 elements in 2 groups).
  • Manual film advance and rewind.
  • Lens cover prevents accidental shutter release when not in use.
  • Flash requires one AA alkaline battery.



  1. Vivitar Introduces CV35 35mm See Thru Camera, February 17 1999 press release, Archived by Wayback Machine on 5 March 2000 at Internet Archive
  2. Noted on an example owned by editor Voxphoto.
  3. Page 1 and 2 of the instruction sheet.