The Vivitar ECO35 is a 35mm disposable camera designed for reuse by either the consumer or dealer
image by Donna Dobbin (Image rights)
The Vivitar ECO35 is a camera designed to compete against disposable 35mm camera while still offering the option of reuse at multiple levels in the consumer network. Vivitar marketed the camera starting in 1991 and continued selling it through the mid to late 1990s. The ECO35 was originally sold preloaded with Kodak ISO 200 color film. Later models were available preloaded with Kodak ISO 400 color film. The camera was sold at a price competitive with disposable cameras but, unlike other disposables, offered multiple methods of use:
- The consumer could hand it over to be processed and disposed of like other disposables
- The consumer could ask the processor to reload and return the camera for another use
- the consumer could reload the camera themselves and reuse it
In 1990, disposable cameras manufactured by Kodak and Fuji were gaining popularity with consumers. Vivitar's president, John Bourne, wanted Vivitar to get in on the disposable market but noted that there was a growing consumer backlash against the waste and pollution resulting from disposables. He directed Vivitar designer, Steven Shull to collaborate with Alan Stone Creative Services to come up with a new idea that combined these two seemingly opposite movements; a camera that would allow Vivitar into the disposable market but without damaging the environment. The result was the ECO35.
To create a camera that could match the price of disposables, the ECO35 has only three moving parts: the shutter, film advance knob, and rewind knob. The camera was made from plastic and packaged in recycled materials. The Kodak film was purchased in bulk from Australia, shipped to China, and loaded into the cameras during assembly.
The ECO35 was awarded with the 1991 IDEA Gold (Industrial Design Excellence Award) by the Design Society of America.
- Badging: Vivitar
- Manufacturer: unknown (made in China)
- Film Format: 135 (35mm)
- ISO Range: 100 - 400 (shipped with ISO 200, ISO 400)
- Lens: 34mm, fixed focus
- Minimum focus: 4 feet
- Aperture: f/11
- Shutter: mechanical leaf shutter
- Viewfinder: eye-level finder
- Battery: none
- Weight: unknown
- Original stock number(s): 080541
- Annual Design Awards, Business Week, 16 June, 1991 BusinessWeek Archive
- 1994 Product Guide, Vivitar, Newbury Park, CA, p7
- Vivitar Eco 35: Flickr set by knapjack photos taken with the ECO35