Plastic Fantastic Lover Or Early Attempts At Surf Photography

Posted by Robin Hill on

Ebay is overflowing with Vivitar Amphibias. It's amazing how many pristine ones are out there and kind of blows my mind that people aren't scooping them up... in these days where 35mm photography, the lomography boom and the general renaissance of film photography still grips the nation. With humble point and shoot cameras like the Olymous Mju II going for close to £200 it seems strange that noone has cottoned on to the fun that can be had with a point and shoot camera you can take out in the surf.

Vivitar Amphibia

Basically the Amphibia is a bulbous plastic casing which seals tightly around a cheapo plastic point and shoot camera, allowing it to descend to 25 metre depths unscathed. The camera itself is a naff toy, but the kind of naff toy which results in epicly nostalgic colours, soft focus and all manner of odd lens flares. Down largely to the lack of any glass in the camera's 28mm lens or the housing. All plastic here! But the result of passing through two lots of plastic is images which are way wilder than even the most extreme Instagram filtering and vignetting could ever imagine.

It's the type of point and shoot where you really have no idea whether what you've pointed and shot at will look anything like it did in real life. If cameras had a consciousness then the photos that come out of Vivitar's range of plastic camera would be Impressionist masterpieces.

Leave your Gopro at home and stop clogging up Youtube. Get yourself an Amphibia for £10 on flea-bay, some (nowadays highly overpriced) film from your local Snappy Snaps, get in the water and pretend to be Leroy Grannis!

Inspired by an article in Acid Magazine [available here] about underwater camera housings and on the merit that it was the cheapest reusable underwater camera I could find, I grabbed the first one that popped up on my Ebay search. Just before a trip to the south of France back in 2016. Typically, I was way too busy surfing to actually use it in the water, so we came back to London with loads of shots of me surfing taken by my loyal wife. Sadly half way through that particular trip Alena's nose (her actual nose, not the one on her board) was rudely broken by the fins of her surfboard after misjudging a closeout. Our time in the water together was abruptly cut short.

[photos taken, mostly by Alena, with the Amphibia and the amazing but sadly discontinued Poundland film, St Girons Plage, France]


Our favourite water shots from the pioneer of shooting in the water Leroy Grannis...

Henry Ford Leroy Grannis 1963Kent Layton Leroy Grannis 1969
[Henry Ford from 1963 and Kent Layton from 1969, both taken by Leroy Grannis at Hermosa Beach]


Our good customer Yannick Schutz recently sent us a link to his first waterproof 35mm camera experiments. But instead of opting for the cheapo version on Ebay, Yannick went for a Nikonos V... a celebrated very capable camera with a real lens, unlike the weird plastic one of our Amphibia! We're really looking forward to seeing more of these from Yannick, if this first lot are anything to go by his future shots will be stunners!

Check out his full post at...

[photos from Yannick Schutz and his Nikonos V]

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