Ricoh XR 500

As you can see from the label, I got the body of this camera for $10 in a junk shop. I already had a lens that fit it due to another purchase. It was clean but needed the seals replaced and for once I did a pretty good job.

It takes 2 regular LR44 batteries for the light meter, but it does work without them in a manual mode which a huge bonus. The light meter consists of a circle on the inside right of the viewfinder. Just match the needle to the circle by changing the speed or aperture. To turn the meter on, move the film advance lever to uncover the red dot. The film advance has one of the shortest movements I have come across. And that is it, all you need to know. Manual focusing of course.

The XR 500 was produced in 1978. There is also an auto version but it seems to be lacking features too and this great blog does not recommend it. However, how many features do you really need?

I did find it a little heavy and a touch big considering the lack of features. BUT you can pick them up very cheap on eBay so it is a perfect camera to start with if you want to learn the basics. PLUS the Pentax-K fit means finding a lens is also a breeze.

I put in some Fuji 1600 natura which I had had lying around for ages as I was going to a festival. I wanted to try it without a flash. In retrospect it wasn’t the best camera to try it with as I do have another camera with an f1.4 lens, this lens only had f2.5. Plus it was untested at this point. I also tried it on a very bright day, which was tough for the film too.

I have another roll of the film which apparently can only be bought in Japan, but really I wasn’t impressed. It might be the processing or scanning, so worth another try.

Keep or sell: I am going to keep the lens. The body is not worth selling from Japan due to the postage rates, so I think I will put it in my-not-sure-what-to-do-with box and lend it to people who want to try film. I would recommend the camera if you are short of cash, but there are funkier, better cameras out there if you can spend a little more.

8 thoughts on “Ricoh XR 500

  1. Jim Grey says:

    It’s nice to know that I’m not the only person who chooses exactly the wrong film for the conditions.

    I’ve owned a couple (Sears-branded) Ricoh K-mount SLRs and I had much the same experience: competent enough, but unexciting. I agree: great first film cameras on a budget.


    1. windswept007 says:

      Luckily I am here and can get more. I think I will research the best conditions to use it under 🙂


  2. Ian Mackechnie says:

    U would have got great results if u had used fresh film of the right speed with good processing. The lens is good. Sorry u didn’t give this very good camera a decent chance at a good review


    1. windswept007 says:

      The film was fresh and kept in my fridge…for ages, but still in date. I agree about the lens and use it often with various adapters. The body I gave to a friend. As I said it is fine, but I prefer some of the others I have.


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